Experiencing nighttime awakenings, also known as nighttime arousals, is common for individuals with obstructive sleep, asthma or COPD and these interruptions in sleep can lead to feelings of grogginess in the morning and tiredness during the day. Symptoms of both COPD and asthma, such as coughing, wheezing, breathlessness, nasal congestion and heartburn, sudden gasp for breathe in obstructive sleep may be the cause of these nighttime awakenings.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr HP Bharathi of Jindal Naturecure Institute, asserted that managing respiratory issues naturally involves a combination of lifestyle changes, breathing techniques and herbal remedies. Suggesting to keep in mind that natural remedies should compliment, not replace while also recommending professional medical advice and treatment, he advised some natural approaches to consider –
- Maintain a Healthy Diet: Consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. These provide essential nutrients for lung health.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to keep your respiratory system hydrated.
- Regular Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity to improve lung capacity and overall respiratory health. Activities like brisk walking, Yoga and swimming can be beneficial.
- Breathing Exercises: Practice deep breathing techniques like pursed-lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing to enhance lung function.
- Steam Inhalation: Inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water (with or without added herbs like eucalyptus) can help relieve nasal congestion.
- Herbal Teas: Certain herbal teas like ginger, licorice root and thyme can have soothing effects on the respiratory system.
- Avoid Smoke and Pollutants: Stay away from cigarette smoke, pollutants, and other irritants that can worsen respiratory issues.
Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr SK Chabra, Senior Consultant, Pulmonary Medicine at Primus Superspeciality Hospital in New Delhi’s Chanakyapuri, shared, “Respiratory issues can profoundly disrupt your sleep, causing a range of problems that affect your overall well-being. Conditions like snoring, sleep apnea and chronic coughing can hinder your ability to enjoy restful slumber. Snoring, often caused by obstructed airflow, can disturb both you and your sleeping partner, leading to fragmented sleep. Sleep apnea, characterised by repeated pauses in breathing and accompanied by loud snoring, not only disrupts sleep but also increases the risk of health issues like hypertension and heart disease. Additionally, chronic coughing or discomfort can make it challenging to fall asleep and stay asleep, resulting in insomnia.”
He further revealed, “Managing these issues naturally involves adopting healthy lifestyle practices. Maintaining an ideal weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can reduce the severity of respiratory problems. Adjusting your sleeping position, staying hydrated, and using a humidifier can also improve airflow and alleviate symptoms. Avoiding alcohol and smoking is essential, as these habits can exacerbate respiratory issues. Incorporating relaxation techniques into your bedtime routine can further promote better sleep by reducing stress and anxiety. By addressing respiratory problems naturally, you can enhance the quality of your sleep and overall health.”