If you have sleep apnea, you’d probably do just about anything to get a good night’s rest. One of the most commonly prescribed treatments for this sleep disorder is a CPAP machine. Unfortunately, not everyone finds it easy to adjust to a CPAP. The good news is, there are CPAP alternatives you can try.
Many sleep apnea sufferers find relief by:
- Losing weight
- Cutting back on sedatives
- Treating nasal congestion
- Adjusting sleep position
- Using a humidifier
- Wearing an oral appliance
If your sleep apnea is severe, you’ll probably be advised to use a CPAP. For mild to moderate cases, an oral appliance is a great alternative – and it’s one you can get from Johnson Dentistry.
It’s Easy to Adjust to an Oral Appliance
Both a CPAP and an oral appliance work by keeping your airway open so you can breathe easily all night. The CPAP does so with a stream of pressurized air, which can leave your mouth and throat feeling uncomfortably dry. The appliance gently moves your jaw into a position that clears your airway.
Dr. Johnson will fit you for a custom-made appliance. Since it’s made specifically to fit you, it is more comfortable than an over-the-counter appliance. It looks a lot like a sports mouthguard and you simply insert it before turning in for the night. Unlike a CPAP, there is no mask or tubing to get in the way. Since you don’t need electricity or batteries to use it, it can be taken along and used anywhere. It’s easy to keep clean too.
Another advantage to an appliance: It is so simple, there is little that can go wrong with it. Philips recently issued a product recall for some of its CPAP devices. The FDA issued guidance for users of the affected devices, suggesting they consult with their health care provider before continuing to use them.
5 Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Sleep Apnea
You can also make some lifestyle changes that can relieve your sleep apnea symptoms. They may be enough on their own to relieve mild cases of apnea. For moderate and severe cases, they can allow you to use an appliance instead of a CPAP.
If you are overweight, it’s a good idea to drop some pounds. Being overweight is a primary risk factor for sleep apnea. Excess weight on your neck affects your throat muscles, which makes it harder to breathe. The more extra pounds you carry, the more likely you are to have sleep-related problems like snoring and apnea. Ask your doctor for suggestions on diet and exercise changes you can make to lose weight.
It may sound counterintuitive, but taking sedatives before bed can actually disrupt your sleep. So can alcohol usage. Try cutting out both to see if your sleep improves.
Nasal congestion often makes it tough to breathe through your nose. Congestion can also contribute to the development of obstructive sleep apnea. If you have allergies or other issues that stuff you up, ask your doctor to suggest medications or dietary changes that can help. You may also find it easier to breathe if you elevate your head while sleeping.
In addition to elevating your head, many sleep apnea sufferers find it easier to breathe if they sleep on their side instead of their back.
Finally, consider sleeping with a humidifier in your room. It lessens congestion and can help clear your breathing. It may also encourage your sinuses to drain and allow more air to move through your airways.