Know Your Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
Sleep apnea affects not only your sleep but also your quality of life.
People with sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly while sleeping. As a result, they don’t get the deep, restorative sleep they need to feel energetic and be productive the next day. Sleep apnea can also lead to serious health problems over time, including hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and weight gain.
How Do I Know if I Have Sleep Apnea?
You may have sleep apnea if you snore loudly and you feel tired, even after a full night’s sleep. Common sleep apnea symptoms include:
- Loud snoring
- Tiredness or lack of energy during the day
- Restless sleep
- Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep witnessed by another person
- Occasionally awakening with a choking or gasping sensation
- Morning headaches
What Should I Do If I Think I May Have Sleep Apnea?
If you suspect you have sleep apnea, the first thing you need to do is see your doctor. Your doctor can conduct a sleep apnea test or a sleep study. Your doctor will help you decide on the best treatment to manage your condition.
Lifestyle Modifications to Reduce Sleep Apnea Symptoms
If your doctor does diagnose you with sleep apnea, there are many at-home sleep apnea treatments and cures you can try. These generally involve making lifestyle modifications to lessen your sleep apnea symptoms:
- Lose weight. People who are overweight tend to have fat deposits around the upper airway that can obstruct your breathing while you are sleeping. Losing just 10% of your body weight can greatly reduce sleep apnea symptoms.
- Avoid alcohol, sedatives, and sleeping pills. These substances relax the muscles in your throat, which can lead to sleep apnea symptoms.
- Stop smoking. Smokers are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than are people who’ve never smoked. Smoking can increase swelling in the upper airway, which may worsen sleep apnea.
- Exercise. Getting 30 minutes of moderate activity, such as a brisk daily walk may help ease sleep apnea symptoms. Tweet This
- Sleep on your side or stomach rather than on your back. Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue and soft palate to rest against the back of your throat and block your airway.
- Prop your head up. Use an adjustable bed to elevate the head of your bed by four to six inches, or elevate your body from the waist up by using a foam wedge.
- Keep your nasal passages open at night. Use a saline nasal spray, neti pot, or breathing strips to help keep your nasal passages open while you sleep. If you have allergies or another condition that leads to nasal congestion, talk to your doctor about medications or other methods to treat these conditions.
Medical Sleep Apnea Treatments and Cures
If these lifestyle modifications don’t satisfactorily improve your sleep apnea symptoms, your doctor may recommend a more effective sleep apnea treatment.
CPAP for Sleep Apnea
The most common sleep apnea treatment, CPAP (continuous positive airflow pressure) involves wearing a mask over your nose and/or mouth while you sleep. The mask is connected to a machine that delivers a continuous flow of air into the nose, which helps keep your airways open and allows you to breathe normally during sleep.
Other Breathing Devices for Treating Sleep Apnea
For those who are unable to tolerate using a CPAP device, other breathing devices are available to treat sleep apnea. These include bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP), adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV), and expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP). There are also alternative forms of CPAP that don’t require wearing the traditional CPAP mask.
Dental Devices as Sleep Apnea Treatment
A dentist with special expertise in treating sleep apnea may fit you with a dental device to help keep your airway open during sleep.
Surgery to Cure Sleep Apnea
If nothing else has worked to cure your sleep apnea, you may want to talk to your doctor about surgery to treat sleep apnea. Surgery can increase the size of your airway, potentially reducing your sleep apnea symptoms. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that any surgery carries risks of complications and infections, and surgery for sleep apnea treatment may not completely cure your sleep apnea.
Get Sleep Apnea Treatment
A good mattress is just one component of a good night’s sleep. Getting the right diagnosis and treatment for sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, is even more important. If you think you may have sleep apnea, or another medical condition that is affecting your sleep quality, consult your physician right away.
Find Comfort On A Good Mattress
With the right sleep apnea treatment and lifestyle modifications, you can reduce your symptoms, sleep better, and start feeling more refreshed during the day. A good mattress goes a long way in helping you get a good nights rest.