Scientifically Verified

Can sleep apnea be cured?

February 1, 2024
5 min
Written by
Written by

Are restless nights and daytime fatigue clouding your everyday life? You might have something called sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea, a condition often disregarded, can do more than just disrupt a good night's rest… It can create real anxiety throughout your waking hours. But what if you had a way to feel better? 

Can sleep apnea be cured? Not really, not completely anyway. However, there are ways to reduce the discomfort, and to improve your stress levels during the day.

What is sleep apnea? 

Sleep apnea is a very tiring condition. Sleeping through the night is made very difficult because the body is battling to take in oxygen. It's more than snoring or having stuffed airways because of a cold; it's a sleep disorder where the airway becomes blocked, leading to pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. 

What should be deep, restorative sleep becomes restless hours of anxiety for your body. The worst part is that the person affected is often unaware of the situation. However, the consequences are there the next day – fatigue, cloudiness and inability to concentrate. 

It's not just a bad night's sleep; it's a recurring disruption of sleep, night after night, which takes a real toll on your body.

Why sleep apnea occurs: the causes of sleep apnea

Can sleep apnea cause anxiety, or does anxiety cause sleep apnea? It’s a vicious cycle, really. Stress and sleep apnea often fuel each other, making the condition a little worse  every night. 

There is no one reason for sleep apnea, as the condition can be caused by many things, for example:  

  • Obesity.
  • Narrowed airways.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Alcohol use.
  • Smoking.
  • Overuse of sedatives.
  • Genetics.

It’s a good idea to try to pinpoint your particular underlying cause, to manage it more easily.

The health consequences of ignored sleep apnea

Untreated sleep apnea can have serious effects on your mental and physical health. Sleep apnea can create heart conditions and hypertension. The fatigue that results from sleep apnea can lead to type 2 diabetes. The erratic oxygen levels that derive from the condition can also lead to metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that heighten the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Also, sleep apnea can cause anxiety, not only for the mind but also for the body. The turbulent sleep patterns and constant awakenings affect the nerves, stressing the body. This can then translate to fatigue during the waking hours, a risk factor of anxiety. This is often coupled with cognitive conditions, like weakened memory and lack of focus that can sometimes even lead to full-blown depression. 

Sleep apnea and stress - A vicious cycle

When you suffer from sleep apnea, your body produces elevated levels of stress hormones as a response to the frequent awakenings and lack of quality sleep, which in turn can lead to an increase in sleep apnea severity. 

The less sleep you get, the more the stress center in your brain reacts by producing cortisol and other stress hormones, in an endless cycle. 

Anxiety is both a consequence and a contributor to sleep apnea, with the only solution found through treatment of the underlying condition and management of your stress symptoms.

Why you should use Oneleaf

Evidence-based guided self-hypnosis programs
Designed and approved by doctors
100% natural and drug free
Accessible anytime, anywhere
7-day free trial
Start your journey

Can sleep apnea be cured?

Well, it depends. When the underlying cause is physical, like a malformation of the airway, the solution may be as drastic as surgery.  For some, diligently wearing a CPAP device, a device that ushers in a stream of air to keep the pathways open and clear, can help mitigate the symptoms. These are medical treatments that you should discuss with your physician. 

It all comes down to figuring out why you’re afflicted with sleep apnea in the first place. If your sleep apnea is linked to obesity for example, a good first step would be to try to lose weight and see if the symptoms improve. Being overweight can lead to extra tissue to grow in the throat making it harder to breathe. Losing weight can often improve your symptoms.

You can also try to reduce, or stop completely your consumption of alcohol and sleeping pills. These decrease the muscle tone in the back of your throat, which can interfere with air flow and prevent you from breathing properly.

People who sleep on their back tend to have more trouble breathing at night. Switching sleeping positions can help. Try sleeping on your side with a body pillow against your back, to prevent you from tipping over. 

Smoking is also a risk factor of sleep apnea. It can increase swelling in your upper airway, which may make both snoring and apnea worse. Quit smoking and see if your apnea improves. It shouldn’t cure the condition but hopefully alleviates the symptoms. 

While it’s not a cure, alternative, non-invasive methods such as hypnosis can help relieve some of the symptoms. By acting on the subconscious mind, hypnosis can help regulate the production of stress hormones which reduces anxiety levels both while sleeping and during the day. 

Hypnosis can also help lose weight and quit smoking, which can both be factors in improving your sleep apnea symptoms

As for curing sleep apnea, the possibilities are as varied as the people who face it. Talk to your physician to discover why you’re afflicted with sleep apnea. They will be able to offer solutions to cure the physical causes if they exist. In the meantime, try hypnosis to alleviate the psychological symptoms like stress and anxiety, and to help lose weight, quit smoking or sleep more profoundly if need be. 

Discover self-hypnosis with Oneleaf

To practice hypnosis directly from your home, without the hassle of a commute, try the Oneleaf self-hypnosis app. Developed with the expertise of leading medical professionals in the field, the Oneleaf self-hypnosis app has been proven to lower stress levels and improve sleep patterns.

Try Oneleaf with a 7-day free trial.

With Oneleaf, you can:

Start your free trial before bedtime.

Read more