Though CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is usually the best treatment option for moderate to severe sleep apnea. However, if mild obstructive sleep apnea is your issue or you are looking for ways to help your treatment with CPAP, our dentists at Hanin Dental Surrey advise considering some shifts in lifestyle.
Sleep apnea can not only leave you feeling exhausted and irritable, it’s also a serious medical condition that requires proper diagnosis and treatment to prevent numerous negative impacts on your physical and mental health.
CPAP for Sleep Apnea
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is typically the first and most effective treatment method for patients who suffer from medium to severe sleep apnea.
But what if your sleep apnea symptoms are on the mild end of the spectrum? You may also be curious about other options to boost the effectiveness of treatment with CPAP. In these cases, you might consider some lifestyle changes.
While these approaches may not work for everyone, one or a combination of them may help to reduce your symptoms of sleep apnea.
Lifestyle Changes to Help With Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Sometimes, along with CPAP treatment people find that making lifestyle changes can help reduce symptoms of sleep apnea. These may work for you if you’re looking to improve the quality of your sleep while coping with the condition.
However, keep in mind that sleep apnea is a serious health condition, so you should check with your doctor before making any lifestyle changes to ensure a shift is right for you.
Avoid Alcohol & Sedatives
While that glass of wine may be a great way to cap off a busy day and feel more relaxed in the evening, alcohol and sedatives can also have a relaxing effect on the throat muscles. These relaxed throat muscles may cause your airway to become obstructed, leading to pauses in breathing.
Try avoiding sedatives or alcohol for at least 4 hours before your scheduled bedtime and you may find yourself sleeping better at night.
Some studies have been completed to look into the effects of excess weight on sleep apnea symptoms. Numerous doctors agree that for those carrying around extra pounds, losing a few can help to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea.
This is because many people who carry extra weight often have more tissue surrounding the airway, which can decrease the amount of air flowing to the lungs while they sleep. Losing weight can help reduce the excess tissue, consequently allowing for better airflow.
Sleep on Your Side
Do you sleep on your back? You may be at increased risk of sleep apnea since this increases gravitational pull, which may cause the tongue, soft palate and jaw to drop back toward the throat. This leads to a narrowed airway and subsequent breathing problems.
If you can train yourself to sleep on your side, you may be able to prevent this from occurring. Try propping your back against pillows while lying on your side, or place a tennis ball into the back pocket of your PJs when you head to bed. This will help prevent you from rolling onto your back out of habit while you sleep.
Wear a Dental Appliance
A dental appliance may be the answer to your issues if you are experiencing mild sleep apnea symptoms. These devices function by holding your jaw and tongue forward, keeping them from slipping back into the throat, which is when obstructions occur.
Our Surrey dentists can recommend a sleep apnea dental appliance for you. They are comfortable to wear and may help improve the quality of your sleep. Speak to your dentist to learn more about custom-fitted dental appliances to help with sleep apnea treatment.