Five Proven Ways to Treat Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea can be annoying. That’s a given. But it can also be scary.
Not everyone wants to stay overnight, getting sleep studies done, or consider going under the knife to fix the problem. Thankfully, there’s a whole range of things you can try at home. Each has been scientifically proven to help reduce and sometimes solve sleep apnea.
Interested? Then let’s dive in.
#1. Use a CPAP Machine
The most effective home treatment, a CPAP machine, is the standard cure for sleep apnea.
It’s also the only item on this list that needs you to speak to a doctor, so bear with me for real home remedies below.
How Does a CPAP Machine Work?
CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, does that the name implies. It gently applies some pressure to the air you’re breathing in – making it powerful enough to open your airway fully. The machine itself looks quite intimidating, but it’s straightforward. It’s essentially just a small air compressor that gently pressurizes the air.
Modern CPAP machines are also quiet! Previously sleep-deprived partners around the world are forever thankful for them.
Are CPAP Machines Worth it?
Surgery aside, CPAP Machines are the best solution for moderate to severe sleep apnea. There’s no better ‘instant’ fix for the condition and is always a lifesaver for any sleep-disturbed partners.
However, CPAP machines are not the most comfortable to use. While some people can sleep well with them – my Dad’s used one for decades – others can’t drift off or get more than 6 hours of sleep with them.
In which case, let’s look at less intrusive options.
#2. Change Your Sleeping Position
It’s proven that sleeping on your back makes sleep apnea and snoring much worse.
While it’s not easy, it is possible to change your sleeping position. This is like breaking any other habit. If you’re regularly a back sleeper, then try to make a conscious effort to sleep on your side.
When your tongue relaxes in sleep, being on your back can lead to it blocking your airway. Instead, sleeping on your side prevents this. Being slightly hunched forward (think fetal position) makes this even better.
Apart from doing your best to stick to being on your side, you can take extreme methods to encourage your sleeping self. Like having something uncomfortable behind you, or even taping a tennis ball onto your back!
#3. Try sleeping in a Recliner
Just like with sleeping in a better position, sleeping in a recliner can also help against sleep apnea. This is thanks to your head being elevated, which keeps your head upright, so your airways remain more open.
It was proven in a study that looked at 52 patients with sleep apnea who were recorded as they tried sleeping with an elevated (7.5o) head position. The study found that a mildly elevated position significantly improves obstructive sleep apnea severity without interfering in sleep architecture.
#4. Try Out Snoring Aids
Snoring’s been around as long as humankind, so scientists have come up with plenty of ways to try and tackle it. Mostly in the form of small tools or gadgets to help keep your airways open or your mouth closed.
These can be a little intrusive – sort of like a CPAP machine – but some people strongly prefer them. These include:
- Oral Appliances: These are like sports mouth guards, but for sleep apnea. They’re recommended by the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and custom-made to make sure your airways stay open.
- Chin Straps: Chin straps apply gentle upward pressure to your jaw to help keep it closed while you’re sleeping. Snoring only occurs when we’re breathing through our mouths, so it’s a way to “encourage” quiet nose breathing when you’re asleep.
#5. Use a Humidifier
Dry air can act as an irritant, which makes sleep apnea worse.
By using a humidifier, we can add plenty of moisture to the air. This not only helps your airways but also makes for a more comfortable sleeping environment overall.
You can even add essential oils like peppermint, tea tree, or lavender. As well as a welcoming scent in your bedroom, they can also have anti-inflammatory benefits.
#6. live Healthily
As with most body-related issues, healthy living is almost always a great way to reduce your symptoms.
With sleep apnea, this is even more relevant. Studies have found that:
- Regular exercise shows a reduction in sleep apnea severity and an increase in sleep efficiency and oxygen consumption.
- That there is a linear correlation between obesity and obstructive sleep apnea. In other words – the bigger you are, the more pressure you’re applying to your airways, which makes it harder for them to stay open at night.
Even light exercise is proven to help sleep apnea, regardless of your weight. If anything, combining healthy eating with regular exercise is the cheapest and most fulfilling way to conquer sleep apnea. It may take a while, but it is preferable to surgery!
Getting sleep apnea is often outside our control. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t actions we can take to help mitigate its effect on our lives. I hope this quick guide has helped give you a few ways to tackle your sleep apnea. As always, it’s best to consult with your doctor before making any significant changes.
About the Author
About Carex Health Brands
Carex is your one-stop shop for home medical equipment and for products that assist caregivers with providing the best possible support and care for their loved ones. Carex Health Brands has been the branded leader in in-home, self-care medical products for over 35 years. Our goal is to improve the lives of our customers by bring them quality products that bring dignity back to their lives. With our three nationally distributed brands, Carex Health Brands serves national, regional and independent food, drug and mass retailers along with wholesalers, distributors and medical dealers.
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