CPAP is typically the best way to treat moderate to severe sleep apnea, but did you know that there are a few lifestyle changes you could try to help make your CPAP treatment even more effective? Those same changes could also help folks with milder sleep apnea symptoms to get a better night's sleep. Our Fort St. John dentists explain...
CPAP for Sleep Apnea
CPAP - Continuous positive airway pressure, is typically the first and most effective treatment option for patients who suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnea. But, if your sleep apnea symptoms are mild, or if you want to try other approaches to help increase the effectiveness of your CPAP treatment, there are a few lifestyle changes that you may find beneficial to your sleep apnea treatment.
Lifestyle Changes To Help Reduce Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Our dentists understand how challenging day to day life can be if you aren't sleeping well at night. Below you will find a number of lifestyle changes that have been shown to help some people to reduce their sleep apnea symptoms. If you're looking to improve the quality of your sleep, you may be interested in giving these suggestions a try, but remember, sleep apnea is a serious health condition! Before making any lifestyle changes it is essential to check with your doctor to ensure that these changes are right for you.
- Studies suggest that if you're overweight losing as little as 10% of your body weight can reduce sleep apnea symptoms by as much as a 30%! Many doctors agree that if you are carrying extra weight, losing a few pounds can be very effective way to help reduce your sleep apnea symptoms. People who are overweight may have extra tissue around their airway which can reduce airflow to the lungs while they are sleeping. Losing weight can help to shrink this excess tissue and allow air to flow more freely.
Avoid Alcohol and Sedatives
- For many people, a glass of wine at the end of a busy day can be a great way to relax. But alcohol and sedatives can have a relaxing effect on your throat muscles as well as your overall mood. When your throat muscles overly relax they can cause your airway to become obstructed and result in pauses in your breathing. Avoiding alcohol and sedatives for at least 4 hours before heading to bed, could help you to wake more rested.
Sleep on Your Side
- Sleeping on your back may increase your risk of sleep apnea. Gravity increases the tendency for the jaw, tongue and soft palate to drop backwards toward the throat, narrowing the airway and leading to difficulties breathing. Training yourself to sleep on your side may help you to get a better night's sleep. Try propping pillows up against your back while you lie on your side, or place a tennis ball in the back pocket of your pjs when you go to bed, to help prevent yourself from rolling onto your back when you're sleeping.
- For many people with mild to moderate sleep apnea symptoms, a dental appliance can be the solution to reducing sleep apnea symptoms. Dental appliances for sleep apnea are designed to hold your tongue and jaw forward, preventing them from slipping back into the throat and causing an obstruction. Speak to your dentist to find out more about custom-fitted dental appliances and other methods of treating sleep apnea.