Healthy Lifestyle Change May Cure Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea may be something a healthier lifestyle can cure.

What’s happening: A new study found that many sufferers of sleep apnea who underwent an eight-week weight loss and lifestyle intervention could potentially reverse their condition.

  • 45% no longer required a CPAP machine at the end of the eight-week period.
  • Maintained for six months, 62% no longer required CPAP therapy, and 30% entered remission from the condition.

What’s more, the average weight loss from the intervention was 16 pounds, or 7% of body weight. And participants lowered their risk of dying from a stroke or heart disease by over 30%.

Between the lines: The intervention employed nutritional behavior change, aerobic exercise, sleep hygiene, and alcohol and tobacco cessation.

Of note, instead of focusing on calorie restriction, the diet simply recommended eating more whole foods and less ultra-processed ones. Meanwhile, the exercise component only required participants to up their usual step counts by 15%.

Why it matters: With one in five people worldwide suffering from sleep apnea, a $500B market has sprung up, offering supplements, smart beds, and wearable devices for improving shut-eye.

But, the fact remains — a healthier lifestyle may be the real key to better sleep.

Punchline: As appealing as a quick fix may be, prioritizing physical activity and food-as-medicine (while moderating vices) would go a long way to combating the growing number of health crises we face.

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