Though CPAP is typically used to treat moderate to severe sleep apnea, you may not have known that you could try a few lifestyle changes to help your treatment be even more effective. Making these same changes can also help people with milder sleep apnea symptoms get a better night’s sleep. Our Delta dentists share some tips.
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that requires medical diagnosis and treatment to help sufferers avoid a range of serious negative health consequences.
CPAP for Sleep Apnea
For people who suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnea, CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is usually the first and most effective approach to treatment. However, if you have mild sleep apnea symptoms, or if you’re curious about other options to help increase the effectiveness of your CPAP treatment, we can recommend a few lifestyle changes you may find beneficial.
Lifestyle Changes to Help Reduce Sleep Apnea Symptoms
If you aren’t sleeping well at night, your daily life will feel like a challenge. Here, you’ll find many lifestyle changes that have been shown to help some people reduce their sleep apnea symptoms.
You may be interested in trying these suggestions if you’re hoping to improve the quality of your sleep. Just keep in mind that sleep apnea is a serious health condition. Before you make any lifestyle changes, it’s important to check with your doctor to ensure these changes are right for you.
Sleep on Your Side
Did you know that sleeping on your back may increase your risk of sleep apnea? This is because gravity increases the tendency for the jaw, soft palate and tongue to drop back towards the throat, resulting in a narrowed airway and causing difficulty breathing.
It may help to train yourself to sleep on your side so you can get a better night’s sleep. Try placing a tennis ball in the back pocket of your pyjamas when you head to bed to help keep yourself from rolling onto your back as you sleep, or propping pillows against your back while you lie on your side.
Nix Alcohol & Sedatives
Though many people look forward to a glass of wine to end the day, alcohol and sedatives can also relax your throat muscles along with your mood. Your throat muscles may overly relax and lead to the airway becoming obstructed, resulting in pauses in your breathing. Eliminating alcohol and sedatives for at least 4 hours before heading to bed may help you to feel more rested when you wake.
Are you overweight? Studies suggest that losing as little as 10% of your body weight can help reduce sleep apnea symptoms by as much as 30% Many doctors agree that if you carry extra weight, you may effectively reduce your sleep apnea symptoms by losing a few pounds.
This is because people who are overweight may have extra tissue surrounding their airway, which can decrease airflow to the lungs while they sleep. By losing weight, you may help to shrink this excess tissue and let air flow more freely.
If you have mild to moderate sleep apnea symptoms, one solution to your issues may be a dental appliance. These dental appliances are designed to hold your jaw and tongue forward, keeping them from slipping back into the throat and causing obstructions to block airflow.