There are few things more frustrating than having trouble sleeping. Maybe you’ve tried lowering the temperature on your thermostat or getting blackout curtains to help improve your sleep, but have you tried improving your home’s indoor air quality? It’s been speculated for quite some time that there is a connection between obstructive sleep apnea and indoor air quality.
While indoor air pollution has been shown to harm an individual’s overall health, recent studies indicate that poor indoor air quality is linked with obstructive sleep apnea. ApneaMed is here to help you better understand this connection between sleep apnea and indoor air quality.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes the individual to experience repeated stopping and starting of breathing in their sleep. These breathing cessations are driven by their soft palate collapsing, which causes a blockage in their airway.
As a result, the individual finds themselves gasping or choking for air multiple times throughout the night as a way to reopen their blocked airway. The individual often doesn’t realize they have this condition because they don’t remember gasping for air. Still, the situation is often caught by a partner who notices them snoring or choking--and the individual may feel unrested or groggy even after getting a full night’s sleep.
The Link Between Indoor Air Quality and Sleep Apnea
In recent years, studies have found that long-term exposure to poor indoor air quality can lead to sleep disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea. When exposed to higher levels of indoor air pollution, you are more likely to inhale these pollutants.
As a result, the individual will often experience upper airway irritation and swelling. This inflammation can lead to restricted breathing and often turns into obstructive sleep apnea. Similarly, breathing in polluted indoor air is also believed to negatively impact the central nervous system, which controls your breathing and sleep patterns. With poor indoor air quality, you’re increasing the chances of experiencing sleep apnea or will make your OSA symptoms worse.
How to Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality
If you suspect poor indoor air quality is causing obstructive sleep apnea or making your symptoms worse, there are some measures you can take to improve indoor air quality in your home. Working to improve the air quality can reduce the symptoms and allow you to get a deeper night’s sleep. Here are a few ways to improve indoor air quality:
- Have a smoke-free home – Smoking causes particulate matter to linger in the air, and when smoking happens inside your home, that air can take a long time to disperse. Don’t allow anyone to smoke in your home (or even near entryways) to avoid contaminants from getting inside.
- Run your air conditioner, when possible – While you may only think of your air conditioner as a way to cool down your home, it’s also a way to help filter out particles and other air pollution from your home. Your air conditioner will circulate the air, allowing fresh, clean air to be more prominent in your confined space.
- Install an air purifier – An air purifier does precisely like what its name says — it purifies the air in the space where it is located! Using an air purifier will minimize the amount of dust, pollen, bacteria, and mold in your indoor air, making the air you’re breathing cleaner.
- Schedule regular air duct cleaning – You might be shocked at how much dirt and debris build up in your air ducts! Because your home’s HVAC system pushes air through these air ducts, they must be cleaned regularly. If not, the risk of buildup from the air ducts being pushed into the air you’re breathing is high.
- Fill your home with plants – House plants not only add some life into your home, but they work to balance out your home’s air quality to a healthy level. Plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, helping to improve the air quality within the walls of your home.
If you’ve taken these measures to improve your home’s indoor air quality but are still experiencing the symptoms of sleep apnea, it’s time to take a sleep apnea test.
Get Tested for Sleep Apnea with ApneaMed
If you’re still experiencing difficulty sleeping after making efforts to improve your indoor air quality, it’s time to consider getting tested for obstructive sleep apnea. ApneaMed offers a home sleep study that can be self-administered at home to save you time and money.
Your home sleep study will be mailed directly to you, allowing you to perform the test yourself. Throughout the night, the device will monitor and record your blood oxygen levels, blood oxygen saturation, breathing and heart rates, and more to gather important information that one of ApneaMed’s board-certified sleep physicians will review. From there, the sleep physician will provide a recommended treatment plan to help improve your quality of sleep.
ApneaMed offers various home sleep tests and in-home breathing equipment to help you treat your obstructive sleep apnea. Contact our team to learn more.