While CPAP is considered the best way to treat moderate to severe sleep apnea, did you know that a few lifestyle changes may help to make your treatment more effective, or even reverse the symptoms of mild sleep apnea? Here our Surrey dentists share some lifestyle changes that could help you to get a better night's sleep.
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that requires medical diagnosis and treatment to help sufferers avoid a range of serious negative health consequences. If you believe that you may be suffering from sleep apnea it's important to see your doctor for a formal diagnosis and treatment plan.
CPAP for Sleep Apnea
For people who suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnea, CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is typically the most effective approach to treatment. That said, 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 helpful.
Reducing Sleep Apnea Symptoms Through Lifestyle Changes
If you aren’t sleeping well at night, your daily life may feel like a challenge. Here, you’ll find a few lifestyle changes that have been shown to help some people reduce their sleep apnea symptoms so that they can get a better night's rest.
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.
Avoid Sleeping On Your Back
Sleeping on your back may increase your risk of experiencing sleep apnea symptoms. 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.
Training yourself to sleep on your side may help you to get a better night’s sleep. Can't stop yourself from rolling onto your back? Try placing a tennis ball in the back pocket of your pyjamas when you head to bed to help prevent this tendency or try propping pillows against your back while you lie on your side.
Avoid Alcohol & Sedatives
We understand that many people look forward to a glass of wine to end the day, but did you know that alcohol and other 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.
Drop Excess Weight
Are you carrying excess weight? 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 are heavier than you should be, you may be able to effectively treat your sleep apnea with a healthy weight loss plan.
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.
Sleep Apnea Dental Appliances
If you have mild to moderate sleep apnea symptoms, a custom-fitted sleep apnea dental appliance may be a good solution to helping you sleep better. 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.