CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is typically the best treatment option for moderate to severe sleep apnea. But some may be seeking the best treatment for mild obstructive sleep apnea or ways to help treatment with CPAP. Our Vancouver dentists at South Granville Dentistry can offer some tips on lifestyle changes you may want to consider.
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that can not only leave you feeling irritable and exhausted, it can also impact general health and longevity.
But what if your sleep apnea symptoms are toward the mild end of the spectrum? You may also be curious about which options can improve the effectiveness of your CPAP treatment. In these cases, you may want to consider some lifestyle changes.
While these tips may not work for everyone, one or a combination of them may help to reduce your sleep apnea symptoms.
Lifestyle Changes to Help With Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Sometimes, people find that coupling lifestyle changes with CPAP treatment for sleep apnea can help to reduce their symptoms. These may work for you if you’re hoping to improve the quality of your sleep while getting used to living with the condition.
However, remember that because sleep apnea is a serious health condition, you should check with your doctor before making any lifestyle changes to ensure they will be right for you.
Some studies have examined how excess weight can influence sleep apnea symptoms. Many doctors have found that for those carrying extra pounds, making a concerted effort to lose a few can help to reduce sleep apnea symptoms.
This is because many people who carry extra weight may also have more tissue surrounding their airway, which can cut the amount of air getting to the lungs while they sleep. If they are able to lose weight, this can also reduce the excess tissue, allowing for better airflow.
Sleep on Your Side
If you sleep on your back, your risk of sleep apnea may increase. Gravitational pull can cause the soft palate, tongue and jaw to drop back toward the throat, leading to your airway becoming narrowed and consequently, breathing issues.
The answer may be to train yourself to sleep on your side to prevent this from happening. Lie on your side and prop your back against a few pillows, or place a tennis ball in the back pocket of your PJs when you retire for the night. This will help keep you from rolling onto your back out of habit while you sleep.
Wear a Dental Appliance
If you are experiencing mild sleep apnea symptoms, a dental appliance may be the solution to your issues. These devices work by holding your tongue and jaw forward, keeping them from sliding back into your throat, which is where obstructions happen.
Our Vancouver dentists can recommend a dental appliance to help with your sleep apnea. They are comfortable to wear and may help improve the quality of your sleep. Talk to your dentist to learn more about custom-fitted dental appliances that may work for you.