Recent headlines about green tea purporting to help with the cognitive effects of sleep apnea bring to light the growing concern of alternative treatments. These treatments are not as effective as one might think because they are likely only to help to reduce perceived effects and have little to no effect in reducing the medical risks linked to the disorder. The fear is that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) sufferers will discontinue the use of proven therapies such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or, as some say “the mask” or “the machine,” and move to alternative treatments that are not nearly as successful.

These alternative treatments may reduce some symptoms of OSA. They more than likely work best when used with other more effective treatments. Patients should work with their physicians to determine which treatment options are best for their specific case. We’re going to examine some of these alternative treatments, keeping in mind that not all of these treatments claim to treat OSA but are still believed by some patients to help:

· Green Tea

o Just how thirsty are you? You would need to consume six to twelve cups a day in order to show some effect.

o Existing studies have only been completed in rats.

Dr. David Gozal and his research team at the University of Louisville, who performed the study, are certainly respected in the field of sleep medicine. However, Dr. Gozal himself wrote in an email “If you have sleep apnea, use your (breathing) machine while you are sleeping. However, if you also drink green tea, this may help you feel better” (SLEEPzine 2008).

For more information on “alternative” treatments for sleep apnea, please visit www.sleepwellandlive.com and click on “sleep related articles.”

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