While the continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine is generally the most common treatment for sleep apnea for doctors, it’s one of the most hated among those who have to use it. Why? Those who dislike the machine say it is uncomfortable, loud and can make them feel claustrophobic, which doesn’t really add up to getting a good night’s sleep. Although the CPAP machine is effective when it is used correctly as part of sleep apnea treatment, there are viable alternatives — such as oral appliance therapy — that are just as effective and way more comfortable.
There are some things you can do at home that can also help! We’ve put together a few ways you can help reduce your sleep apnea symptoms below.
Watch your weight. Being overweight or obese can contribute to airway obstruction and increase the side effects of sleep apnea. If you’re noticing symptoms such as daytime fatigue, headaches and lack of focus, you should discuss your symptoms with your doctor, check your weight and adjust your lifestyle to reach a healthy weight if necessary.
Avoid alcohol. Alcohol may relax you, but it also relaxes your throat muscles, which can contribute to airway blockages. It can also cause inflammation of the throat tissues, which can contribute to snoring and blockages, worsening your sleep situation.
Switch sleep position. Researchers believe that nearly half of sleep apnea symptoms could be caused by your sleep position. For example, sleeping on your back is the worst position to sleep in if you’re living with sleep apnea.
Work out. Some research has shown that regular exercise, and even yoga, can help improve your breathing and, in turn, improve your sleep apnea.
Oral appliance therapy. If you hate the CPAP but still want to treat your sleep apnea, you may want to look at oral appliances therapy. These devices can help keep your airway open during sleep, allowing you to breathe normally and get the rest you need.
You can call Dr. Ron Konig today at 713-668-2289 to schedule a visit. We would love to talk to you about your treatment options for your sleep apnea.