If you want to drastically reduce your risk for sleep apnea, you might want to move more.
A new study is showing that active people are far less susceptible to the condition, which can lead to chronic fatigue, heart problems, high blood pressure, heart attack, and type-2 diabetes.
People who spend more than four hours per day watching television had a 78 percent higher risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and those with sedentary jobs had a 49 percent higher risk than active individuals.
What is considered active? Getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity, as recommended by the World Health Organization.
Spending fewer than four hours per day watching television can also help, according to the study published in the European Respiratory Journal.
Obstructive sleep apnea causes people to stop and start breathing many times during the night, leading to “micro awakenings.” Symptoms include snoring, disrupted sleep, chronic fatigue, and feeling unrested. To observers, sufferers appear to be unconsciously gasping for air during sleep.
The study looked at more than 138,000 adults without a diagnosis of sleep apnea and followed them for 10 to 18 years. Over that time, 8,700 were diagnosed with the condition.
If you don’t have mobility issues, simply include more activity in your day. You’ll likely be able to carve out 30-minutes per day.
On the other hand, things may be more difficult if you have a hard time getting around or work a sedentary job.
If mobility is the problem, try to spend more time standing doing light activities. This can include things standing while folding laundry, hand-washing dishes, etc.
Sedentary jobs may require you to sit for hours per day, both at work and during the commute, but you can include more activity in your leisure time. Walking on lunch breaks or after work can help you reduce the risk for sleep apnea.