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Ask A Doctor – Obstructive Sleep Apnea And Sleep Hygiene

Written by Dr. Leah Zachar

Sleep Apnea is a condition which effects many people, and they also suffer a knock-on effect from losing all that valuable sleep. Could CBD help?

Question: I was recently diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. I was told I have a “sleep disorder”. Life is hell and my doctor won’t give me pills to help me sleep. Can CBD help me?

Answer: Yes. In sleep apnea, a person’s airway becomes partially or completely obstructed during sleep, it leads to pauses in breathing and a drop in the oxygen levels. This causes a person to wake up briefly but repeatedly throughout the night. In low doses, CBD improves the daytime sleepiness seen in obstructive sleep apnea (increases daytime alertness), and in medium and high doses, the CBD increases total sleep time and decreases arousals during the night. In your specific case, the CBD has an added benefit. It will also help reduce the anxiety & discomfort you have because you have to sleep in a less than optimum position.

Insomnia & Sleep Hygiene

Question: I’ve heard that “sleep hygiene” can help with insomnia. I take a shower before bed and brush my teeth. Is that what it is?

Answer: Not really. Those are good habits, but sleep hygiene is referring to “lifestyle habits.”

Sleep hygiene includes:

  • A regular sleep schedule,
  • Do not exercise heavily close to bedtime.
  • Decrease the “blue light” from the laptop/cellphone an hour before you sleep
  • Use your bed ONLY for sleep and sex
  • No stimulants, such as caffeine & Coca-Cola, & alcohol 4 hours before bedtime
  • Go to sleep in a quiet & cool dark room.

Insomnia can be reduced by improving sleep hygiene. Before trying any medication, natural or synthetic, it is wise to address these common-sense reasons as to why you may have difficulty falling and staying asleep.

Question: Does eating a late dinner help me to sleep?

Answer: Heavy meals close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep. Heartburn, or reflux is common after eating a heavy meal and then lying supine for the next several hours.
The physiological changes in the body that occur during the digestion of a heavy meal can also interfere with the ability to maintain a restorative deep sleep. The best practice is to eat lightly before bedtime.

Question: How does alcohol, caffeine, and cigarettes cause insomnia?

Answer: Alcohol is a sedative. Initially you fall asleep, then after it’s metabolized you wake up Caffeine is a stimulant. Most people understand the alerting power of caffeine and use it in the morning to help them start the day and feel productive. The effects of caffeine on your state of wakefulness can last up to 8 hours, so drinking at night can result in difficulty falling asleep. Nicotine is also a stimulant. That is why many smokers have a cigarette upon waking. It works the same way caffeine does. Therefore, smoking cigarettes close to bedtime can make it hard to fall asleep and to sleep well through the night.

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If you liked these questions and answers and want more, why not check out the Q&A from – ‘Ask a Doctor – Anxiety and Insomnia’

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About the author

Dr. Leah Zachar

Dr. Leah Zachar, M.D. is a physician who worked for nearly thirty years in Internal Medicine.
She currently is a scientific adviser to CBD Testers. Dr. Zachar believes that there is much that medical cannabis, and cannabidiol in particular can offer to traditional medicine.