Vivekan’s Weekly Bit: Sleep Apnea, Yoga & the Mediterranean Diet

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This is a weekly post from Bodhisattva Yoga’s founder/co-director offering weekly bits of research findings, suggestions, and musings on all things directly & indirectly related to the broad Path of Yoga.

Many Americans are coping with the effects of sleep apnea (Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, OSAS). One of the most prevalent of sleep disorders, sleep apnea disrupts a person’s rest by causing pauses in normal respiration during sleep. Persons dealing with sleep apnea may have an increased risk of developing diabetes type II. Populations coping with obesity experience sleep apnea up to 20-40% more than others, and weight loss is an important dimension to treatment.

Whenever weight loss is a goal, whether it’s intended to combat sleep apnea or not, it requires a two-pronged approach — for long-term success. Firstly, weight loss requires diet modification; and, secondly, weight loss requires an increase in physical activity.

At Bodhisattva Yoga, we’re already getting the physical activity in (particularly if you’re averaging 3, or more, times a week); but, what about our diet? A recent study in Science Daily summarizes the findings of sleep apnea researchers from the University of Crete, in Greece, and it’s good news. Check out what Christopher Papandreou, lead author for the research, said:

This is the first study examining the impact of the Mediterranean diet in combination with physical activity [e.g., yoga] on OSAS via changes in the human body. Our results showed that the number of disturbances during REM sleep was reduced more in the Mediterranean diet group than the other [“prudent diet”] group.

Maybe you’re wondering, “Uh, where’s the good news?” My reply then is, who doesn’t enjoy the Mediterranean diet? It’s high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds; and, it lends to an aspiring yogin’s mental and physical health. So, practicing yoga 3, or more, times a week, and basing your diet around Mediterranean fare can mitigate, and/or avert, your experience of sleep apnea (along with a host of other avoidable maladies). Join me…

In health,

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