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Unlocking Potential: Explore the Iceberg Analogy

The 10% of the iceberg that is visible is not what presents the danger. It is the 90% hidden below the surface that sinks ships. This diagram indicates the ratio of symptoms (10%) to causes (90%)

 

Taking into consideration the billions of dollars expended on above-the-line intervention, against the almost negligible focus on the below-the-line causes, it is no wonder that the problems remain unresolved to the extent that they are.

 

Therefore addressing the ‘below-the-line’ issues such as posture, breathing mechanics, nutrition, stressors etc – would go a long way in providing a more comfortable, acceptable and stable outcome – with far greater compliance.

 

Ignoring the presence of these multiple factors will result in being confined to short-term night-time intervention.

 

Sufficient evidence now exists that prevention via breathing techniques and lifestyle interventions, can reduce and even eliminate the need for intervention. 

 

Seems like a distant problem? 

 

Chances are, the impacts of these serious conditions hit a lot closer to home than most expect.

 

The devastating effects of snoring and sleep apnea are well documented. 

 

These conditions have been linked with:

 

  • Higher than average rates of death from both accidental and natural causes. 
  • Increased blood pressure, risk or heart attacks and strokes 
  • are accompanied by incidents of drowsiness, 
  • (sleep disorders are estimated to be a major factor in up to 40% of road accidents)
  •  concentration problems and issues with memory. 
  • There may also be social repercussions, relationships and performance suffers. 

 

It should be noted that snoring and sleep apnea are clear signs of unnatural breathing patterns. 

 

People who breathe well don’t snore and don’t escalate down into the depths of night time breath holds. The speed at which air travels through the airways is important as it dictates the pressure or the air. As air moves faster it loses pressure and so airway collapsibility increases further.

 

Here’s some other hard truths:

 

  • Snoring is far from natural, and should be considered a serious symptom of underlying imbalance
  • Around 40% of the adult population snores habitually and it is becoming more and more common in children. 
  • An estimated 60% of people over the age of 40 will snore at least occasionally. 
  • Experts believe most people with sleep apnea are not diagnosed, and it may occur without clear symptoms.
  • Almost 50% of men over 50 will develop Sleep Apnea
  • Global sleep Apnea Industry market size was 5.9 Billion in 2019 

(This does not include any form of breathing-retraining)

  • Normal breathing during sleep is silent, through the nose, low and slow.
  • A normal breather falls asleep within a few minutes, does not move about much, and wakes fully refreshed after about seven hours.

 

The speed at which air travels through the airways is important as it dictates the pressure or the air. As air moves faster it loses pressure and so airway collapsibility increases further.

 

Increased speed equals increased amounts of air equals collapsibility of the airway. The narrower the passage and the higher the airflow rate, the greater the turbulence and vibration can be. This is known as the Venturi effect. 

 

Think of it this way, when you suck too hard on a cheap paper straw, it collapses. 

 

Sleep apnea and snoring can be the body’s way of returning to homeostasis and recovering from an imbalance in biochemistry (overbreathing). If someone snores and overbreathes in the process, an apnea episode can be a way for the body to return to equilibrium and increase the carbon dioxide in the blood. 

 

Snoring happens when you can’t freely move air through your nose and throat when you sleep. It’s the hoarse sound of uneven breathing causing the tissues in the throat to vibrate.

 

Around 40% of the adult population snores habitually and it is becoming more and more common in children. An estimated 60% of people over the age of 40 will snore at least occasionally. 

 

Snoring will direct air mostly to the upper lungs, making breathing more shallow. The body can compensate for this by increasing the respiratory rate. In around 50% of habitual snorers a complete collapse of the airway during sleep leads to regular instances of apneas, or involuntary breath holds. Experts believe most people with sleep apnea are not diagnosed, and it may occur without clear symptoms.

 

Breathing during sleep is a reflection of your daytime breathing at rest. Normal breathing during sleep is silent, through the nose, low and slow. A normal breather falls asleep within a few minutes, does not move about much, and wakes fully refreshed after about seven hours.

 

This may sound obvious but it’s remarkable that almost no GP will even mention this let alone be aware of it when diagnosing sleep apnea. Beyond the shape of the jaw, size of the tongue and thickness of the neck, the way we breathe plays a central part in sleep disordered breathing. 

 

The size of the airway matters, but it’s how you use it that’s more important. – Dr Dan Hanson

 

The lowest hanging fruit

 

The one step you can take today, towards better breathing, deeper sleep and overall improvement of mood, wellbeing and energy.

 

Would be to start with making the unconscious conscious, in particular the window of opportunity you have to optimize every breath – Without much conscious effort at all. Truth is most of us don’t breathe optimally during sleep.

 

Now – truth is most of us don’t breathe optimally in general, we’re not taught how to, and – your nighttime breathing is merely a reflection of your daytime breathing.

 

Things that could be affecting every breath you take:

 

  • Mouth breathing during the day or whilst exercising
  • Sleeping flat on your back with the mouth open
  • Overheating in bed
  • Large meals near bedtime (or overeating in general)
  • Exposure to high levels of stress
  • An anatomical or mechanical muscle function problem that needs treatment

 

Restoring the natural flow of breathing

Breathing is a mainstream function – Why then should Breathing Retraining be regarded as Complementary or Alternative? – Sleep Disordered Breathing – Another Perspective

 

Some steps towards better nighttime (and daytime) breathing you can take today:

 

  1. Tape the mouth at night. Studies showed that ‘Mouth Taping’ can reduce the amount of ‘Apnea’ episodes at night by 50% & reduce the volume of snoring by about the same.

Related: Mouth taping 101

 

  1. It’s not about taping the mouth. It’s about making sure we breathe through the nose as much as humanly possible. This starts during the day, and is the easiest way to ensure we don’t over-breathe, disturbing our delicate blood chemistry.

 

  1. Lift the head-end of your bed by about 10 percent, this helps keep body position optimal for breathing at night.

 

  1. Sleep on your side. Ensure you don’t sleep on your back at night as this radically increases the airway collapsibility.

 

  1. Restore the natural flow of breathing. Join our free courses or sign up to one of the guided program to eliminate the symptoms via breathing retraining

 

Related: 7-day supercharge 

Also, remember. Your body is on your side. It wants you to breathe right. It only stops breathing at night to prevent worse things from happening. Even that debilitating (And preventable) snoring noise is an attempt to bring your breathing back to balance, and all that’s needed is a gentle push in the right direction.

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