C.P.A.P. is typically the best way to treat moderate to severe sleep apnea. That said, if you have been diagnosed with mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), there may be other ways to help reduce your sleep apnea symptoms effectively. Today our Richmond dentists explain approaches that may help you to get a better night's sleep.
Sleep apnea isn't just snoring, it's a serious condition that requires medical diagnosis and treatment in order for sufferers to avoid a host of negative health effects. If you have been diagnosed with substantial or severe sleep apnea, CPAP is generally the first and most effective treatment option to help with symptoms. That said, there are other approaches you may want to consider trying, to help you to lessen your sleep apnea symptoms, if you suffer from mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Lifestyle Changes To Help Reduce Sleep Apnea Symptoms
IMPORTANT: Before making any lifestyle changes it is essential to check with your doctor to ensure that these changes are right for you.
There are a number of lifestyle changes have been shown to be effective in reducing sleep apnea symptoms in some people. Although these lifestyle changes may not work for everyone, if you are working towards getting a better night's sleep, these changes may be helpful in reducing your sleep apnea symptoms.
- Losing weight has been shown to be particularly effective in reducing the symptoms of sleep apnea. People who are carrying extra weight often have extra tissue around their airway. Losing weight can help to shrink this excess tissue and allow air to flow more freely when breathing normally. Some studies have shown that losing just 10% of your body weight can reduce sleep apnea symptoms by as much as a 30%! Ask your doctor whether losing weight could help you to sleep better.
Avoid Alcohol and Sedatives
- While a glass of wine in the evening can help you to feel more relaxed, sedatives and alcohol also have a relaxing effect on throat muscles. This effect can cause the airway to become obstructed and cause pauses in your breathing. To help reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea try to avoid alcohol and sedatives for at least 4 hours before going to sleep.
Sleep on Your Side
- Training yourself to sleep on your side instead of your back could help to significantly reduce your sleep apnea symptoms. The risk of sleep apnea is increased in people who sleep on their back because gravitational pull increases the tendency for the jaw, tongue and soft palate to drop backwards toward the throat, narrowing the airway and leading to breathing difficulties. Prop pillows up against your back while you lie on your side, or place a tennis ball in the back pocket of your pyjamas when you go to bed, to prevent yourself from rolling onto your back while you are sleeping.
- Dental appliances are available from our dentists at Saba Road Dental Center, and may help to reduce sleep apnea symptoms by holding the tongue and jaw forward, preventing them from slipping back into the throat. These appliances are relatively comfortable to wear and may help you to get a better quality of sleep. It's important for your dental appliance to fit comfortably, so that you will wear it regularly. If you have a sleep apnea dental appliance that is causing you discomfort, speak to your dentist about having your appliance adjusted or replaced.