Quality Sleep and a Longer Life — How Your CPAP Can Help
What are the keys to a long life? We often read about miracle diets or making healthy decisions like quitting smoking, but all too often, the value of good sleep gets overlooked by those trying to live better and longer.
However, as research from the American College of Cardiology reveals, some key sleep habits can play a significant role in helping you live longer. And for those with sleep apnea, using a CPAP machine can directly influence their ability to get that life-lengthening quality sleep.
Defining Quality Sleep Factors
The American College of Cardiology study took participants and scored them based on five factors: “1) ideal sleep duration of seven to eight hours a night; 2) difficulty falling asleep no more than two times a week; 3) trouble staying asleep no more than two times a week; 4) not using any sleep medication; and 5) feeling well rested after waking up at least five days a week.”
These factors were judged to be “ideal” sleep behaviors, and participants were scored with either a one or zero based on whether they could answer “yes” or “no” to each question, with a total of 5 yeses indicating the highest sleep quality.
The researchers found significant differences in health outcomes between those who scored a five and those who scored a zero or one. On average, men with scores of five had a life expectancy 4.7 years longer than their low-scoring peers. Women had a 2.4 year longer life expectancy.
In addition, the report revealed that those who scored a five based on these sleep criteria “were 30% less likely to die for any reason, 21% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, 19% less likely to die from cancer, and 40% less likely to die of causes other than heart disease or cancer.”
The Dangers Posed By Sleep Apnea
For those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, the potential of enjoying these benefits of quality sleep is drastically reduced. Sleep apnea can directly or indirectly influence all five factors that were judged to be necessary ingredients for quality sleep.
First is the fact that sleep apnea causes several breathing disruptions — sometimes dozens per hour — during sleep. As the airways get closed off, the body essentially has to wake itself back up for normal breathing to resume.
This causes individuals to have trouble staying asleep pretty much every night, while also causing them to feel poorly rested when they get up in the morning. With so many sleep disruptions over the course of the night, it also becomes much more difficult to achieve the “ideal sleep duration” of seven to eight hours. Even if you are in bed for that amount of time, the frequency of your sleep interruptions makes it unlikely that you’ll actually reach that threshold.
Sleep apnea often occurs in tandem with other sleep disorders, such as insomnia. Insomnia can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Quite often, individuals who struggle with these sleep disorders will turn to medication in an attempt to sleep better. But if sleep apnea isn’t addressed, even medication won’t help.
Without treating sleep apnea, it becomes all too easy to score a zero on those five sleep factors.
How Your CPAP Machine and Other Habits Can Improve Sleep Quality
For individuals with sleep apnea, the first order of business for improving sleep quality is to get a CPAP machine. CPAP machines provide a steady flow of pressurized air to keep your airways from collapsing during sleep. This prevents the breathing disruptions that cause nighttime awakenings — which in itself is already enough to keep you from waking up multiple times per night, get a full seven to eight hours of sleep, and make you more likely to feel refreshed in the morning.
Adopting good sleep hygiene can also make it easier to fall asleep, stay asleep, and get enough hours of rest without relying on medication. Many of these habits are surprisingly simple.
For example, you can “train” your body to know when it is time to go to sleep and wake up by following a set sleep schedule each night. Going to bed and waking up at the same times and having a consistent bedtime routine will help your body learn when it is time for bed so that you can fall asleep faster. In general, you should try to avoid varying your bedtime by more than an hour on any given night.
Make sure that your pre-bedtime activities promote sleep. Relaxing activities like yoga, journaling, or a warm bath or shower can soothe your body and mind. On the other hand, consuming caffeinated beverages or using your smartphone can disrupt sleep. Healthy habits lead to better sleep!
Sleep Better, Live Longer
Getting adequate rest each night doesn’t just leave you feeling refreshed and energized in the morning — it can ultimately help you live longer. For those with obstructive sleep apnea, using a CPAP machine can make all the difference in achieving the necessary sleep quality for healthier living.
Of course, CPAP equipment can be costly, particularly if you don’t have health insurance. With Help Medical Supplies, this doesn’t have to be a concern. Our discounted prices can help you save hundreds of dollars on top-tier CPAP machines from ResMed, 3B Medical, and other leading brands. Free shipping on most orders of $99 or more and available financing can further enhance the affordability of your purchase.
With a quality CPAP machine to control your sleep apnea symptoms, you can set yourself up for a longer, healthier life.