Winning the Game Against Sleep Apnoea: Tips for Athletes to Improve Sleep and Performance

Posted on February 13, 2023 at 2:03 pm

When it comes to performance, athletes need to be at the top of their game. But getting enough sleep is often a challenge for even the most dedicated sportsperson. Sleep apnoea is a common and serious condition that can disrupt your sleep and put you at risk for health problems as well as diminish your athletic performance. To win the game against sleep apnoea, here are some tips for athletes:

1. Maintain Good Sleep Hygiene – Establishing good sleeping habits can help prevent or reduce the symptoms of sleep apnoea. Keep regular bedtime and wake-up times; avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine close to bedtime; create an environment conducive to restful sleep (darkness, quiet); and limit naps during the day.

2. Use a CPAP Machine – Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices are a common treatment for sleep apnoea, and can be especially helpful for athletes who often find their sleep disturbed by the demands of training and competition. A CPAP machine works by providing constant airflow to your lungs through a mask or nosepiece as you sleep, keeping your airways open so you can breathe normally.

3. Sleep on Your Side – Scientists have found that lying on your back while sleeping increases your risk of developing obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). By sleeping on one side instead, you’ll reduce the chance of snoring or having difficulty breathing.

4. Strengthen Your Core Muscles – Poorly conditioned core muscles can contribute to sleep apnoea as the soft tissues in your throat relax and block your airways during sleep. Strengthening these muscles through regular exercise can help keep your airway open at night, reducing the effects of sleep apnoea.

5. Lose Weight – Being overweight is a major risk factor for OSA, so maintaining a healthy weight will improve your overall health and reduce the symptoms of sleep apnoea. Eating nutritious foods that support cardiovascular health, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins; making time for regular physical activity; and engaging in mind-body activities like yoga or tai-chi can help you stay in shape.

6. Avoid Alcohol and Stimulants Close to Bedtime – Drinking alcohol and consuming stimulants like caffeine or nicotine close to bedtime can disturb your sleep and worsen the symptoms of sleep apnoea, so it’s best to avoid these substances as much as possible before bed.

7. Create an Environment Conducive to Restful Sleep – Creating a bedroom environment that is conducive to restful sleep will help you get a good night’s rest and reduce the effects of sleep apnoea. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, cool, and comfortable by investing in blackout curtains or shades; using white noise machines; turning off screens and electronic devices; and removing any distractions.

8. Try Meditation – Meditating can help relax your body and mind, which can lead to improved sleep quality. There are many apps available that offer guided meditations or relaxation exercises, so take advantage of these tools before bedtime.

9. Consider Treatment Options – If you’re still having trouble managing your sleep apnoea, there are a number of treatment options available including lifestyle changes, oral appliances, surgery, and breathing machines like CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). Talk to your doctor about the best option for you.

10. Make Sleep Hygiene a Priority – Establishing good sleep hygiene habits is key to improving sleep quality and reducing the effects of sleep apnoea. First and foremost, aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night. Set a consistent bedtime and wake up time, avoid naps during the day, minimize light exposure in the bedroom, and limit screen time before bed.

By following these tips for winning the game against sleep apnoea, athletes can improve their overall sleep quality and performance levels so they can reach peak performance on the field or court. With enough dedication to lifestyle changes that promote restful sleep, athletes can beat out this opponent once and for all.

Posted in Games