For many people C.P.A.P. is 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 reduce your sleep apnea symptoms effectively besides CPAP.
Sleep apnea isn't just snoring, it's a serious condition, that requires medical diagnosis and treatment. If you've been diagnosed with substantial or severe sleep apnea, CPAP is typically the first and most effective treatment option. That said, there are other approaches you may want to consider trying, to help lessen your sleep apnea symptoms, if you suffer from mild OSA or obstructive sleep apnea.
IMPORTANT: Before making any lifestyle changes it is essential to check with your doctor to ensure that these changes are right for you.
Lifestyle Changes To Improve Sleep Apnea Symptoms
A number of lifestyle changes have been shown to be effective at reducing sleep apnea symptoms in some people. While these lifestyle changes may not work for everyone, if you are working towards getting a good night's sleep and waking up feeling well rested and alert, these changes may be helpful in reducing the negative side effects of sleep apnea.
Weight loss has been shown to be particularly effective in reducing the symptoms of sleep apnea. Those patients who are overweight often have extra tissue around their airway. Losing weight can help to shrink this excess tissue and allow air to flow more freely. Some studies have shown that losing just 10% of your body weight can reduce sleep apnea symptoms by as much as a 30%!
Avoid Alcohol and Sedatives
Sedatives and alcohol have a relaxing effect on throat muscles. This effect can cause the airway to become obstructed. In order to help reduce the symptoms of your sleep apnea try to avoid alcohol and sedatives for at least 4 hours before going to bed.
Sleep on Your Side
Training yourself to sleep on your side instead of your back may also 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.
Try propping pillows up against your back while you lie on your side, or place a tennis ball in your back pyjama pocket when you go to bed, to prevent yourself from rolling onto your back while you sleep.
Custom-fitted dental appliances are available from your dentist, 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 when properly fitted by your dentist 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.