Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that is categorized by loud snoring, shortness of breath, difficulty staying asleep and pauses in breathing during the night. Luckily, there are a lot of lifestyle changes you can make to avoid developing this sleep disorder. Here are five effective ways to prevent sleep apnea:

Lose Weight

If you are carrying around excess weight, it is definitely time to do something about it right now. When you lose weight, it can reduce a lot of the constriction in your throat, minimizing your risk of sleep apnea. Start off by cutting junk food out of your diet and eating more fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. Wholesome foods will provide your body with the right nutrients and keep you fuller longer.

Do not Sleep on Your Back

Sleeping on your back might feel the most comfortable, but it can block your airways, increasing your risk of sleep apnea. It is better to sleep on your side. If you think you will roll over to your back during the night, try sewing a tennis ball in the back of your shirt.

Keep Your Nasal Passages Open

You will be less likely to experience sleep apnea if you make sure your nasal passages stay open at night. For example, you can clear your nasal passages with saline spray or a neti pot.

Do not Drink Alcohol Before Bed

Alcohol can relax the muscles in your throat, making it a lot more difficult to breathe while you sleep. That is why you should avoid drinking alcoholic beverages right before you are ready to go to bed.

Get Moving

Regular physical activity will not just help you maintain a healthy weight; it will also help you stay asleep longer and reduce sleep apnea symptoms. It is a good idea to get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. In addition to doing cardiovascular workouts, such as jogging or swimming, incorporate strength training exercises in your routine.

If you follow these helpful tips, you can reduce your risk of developing sleep apnea. However, if you still experience sleep apnea, you should talk to your doctor about different treatment options. For example, your doctor may suggest a CPAP machine, which supplies air pressure and prevents pauses in breathing. If the sleep apnea is very severe, surgery may be necessary to help make your airways bigger.