sleep

Cures for Sleep Apnea

Scott Decker

A common sleep disorder that many people suffer from is sleep apnea. It is a very common sleep disorder where a person’s breathing consistently gets interrupted while sleeping. Sleep apnea’s symptoms normally include obnoxious snoring, unrestful night sleep and sleepiness during the daytime. However, sleep apnea has many cures and treatments. I have listed the best and most common cures for sleep apnea below. 

Typically the individual will unintentionally stop breathing many times throughout the duration of the sleep. When the airway is opened after a while, the individual might snort, take a deep breath, or perhaps awaken entirely of smothering, gasping or choking.

If untreated, sleep apnea can result in serious health issues, like depression and heart disease. Sleep deprivation makes an individual feeling sleepy and drowsy and heightening the risk of accidents at work or while driving.

sleep apnea

Credit to Wikimedia Commons

How Sleep Apnea is Treated

For less serious cases of sleep apnea, your doctor could suggest simply a change in lifestyle, like slimming down or even giving up smoking. If you’ve nasal allergies, he might recommend allergy treatment.

If you do not show any signs of improvement in your symptoms or if your sleep apnea is more server, then there are a selection of various other cures that can be performed.

Theses remedies involve medical devices that basically open up the blocked airway. However, there are more severe treatments like surgery. Let’s start with some lifestyle changes you can adopt at home before moving on the medical devices and surgery.

Home Treatment for Sleep Apnea

For less serious cases of sleep apnea, simple changes to your lifestyle can help with reduce the symptoms and put on the path of recovery.

exercise and workout

Physical Workout

Frequent workouts are a good way to help reduce the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. All you need is no less than 30 minutes of moderate exercise, like a brisk walk daily. Cardiovascular and strength training can also improve sleep apnea symptoms. Yoga is also great for building up the airway muscles which improves breathing.

lose weight

Lose extra weight

If you are obese, you might have an additional piece of tissue at the rear of your throat that drops down, blocking the airway and the flow of air directly into the lungs while you sleep. Just losing a little weight may help alleviate the obstruction of your throat. In several instances, you can cure sleep apnea just by working towards a healthy weight, however, it can come back if your regain back the weight.

sleep in fetal position helps back pain

Avoid Sleeping on Your Back

A simple way to cure sleep apnea is to sleep on your abdomen or side instead of on the back. Lying on the back results in your tongue and palate to sag down against back of the throat and hence blocking the airway passage. To maintain yourself from rolling upon your back, consider attaching something hard like a tennis ball behind your pajamas top. Additionally, there are devices which vibrate if you roll onto your back during sleep.

sleeping with head propped up

Prop Up Your Head

Raise up the top of your bed of yours by about 5 inches, or perhaps raise your upper body with a hard foam wedge or a specific cervical pillow. This method prevents your head from tilting back and blocking the airway passage during sleep.

nasal dilator device

Nasal Dilation Devices

To help with breathing, your airway passages need to be opened up. You can achieve this during the night by using a variety of nasal dilation devices. These include breathing strips, saline spray, nasal dilators, or nasal irrigation processes like a neti pot.

mouth face exercise

Mouth Exercises

At any given opportunity, try to tighten the mouth muscles which keeps your mouth closed. It helps to strengthen the muscles surrounding the throat. Alternatively, try holding a pen between your teeth for roughly 10 minutes prior to bedtime, or until your jaw aches. Chewing gum can also improve mouth muscles.

Throat Workouts

Tongue and throat exercises might reduce symptoms of sleep apnea by building up the muscles in the airway, making them not as likely to collapse. It may take a couple of months before you start to see any effect.

alcohol is bad for sleep

Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol and some drugs act like tranquilizers. Same goes to sleepnig pills. These chemicals relax the muscles at the rear part of your throat, causing the airway to collapse more, obstructing with your breathing.

stop smoking

Avoid Smoking

Smoking increases inflammation as well as fluid retention in your throat and to the upper airway. This makes sleep apnea worst.

Professional Treatment For Sleep Apnea

For more serious cases of sleep apnea, it is advisable to consult a medical professional who can treat symptoms of sleep apnea. Here are some sleep apnea cures you might receive depending on your condition.

Full face cpap mask

Credit to JoJoJo04, Wikimedia Commons

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

For treatments by CPAP, a mask is worn over your nose or mouth during sleep. The mask is attached to a machine that provides a consistent flow of air flow into the nose. The continuous air flow helps maintain the airways open and makes breathing regular. The air pressure stops the your airway from collapsing.

CPAP is probably the most widely used therapy for sleep apnea. There is also another Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BPAP), that is akin to CPAP though the air flow pressure changes during breathing in and out.

Research has shown that individuals with sleep apnea who regularly use PAP therapy have felt better and a decrease of hypopnea and apnea occurances during sleep. They also suffer from fewer symptoms of the illness.

Although CPAP is a reliable and the common most approach to treating sleep apnea, there are some people who feels it is uncomfortable or cumbersome. Many people simply stop using CPAP due to discomfort and give up. But with regular use, nearly all individuals learn how to adjust and adapt to the machine. Also proper adjustments of the straps on the mask to attain a secure and comfortable fit can help ease the discomfort.

Orthodontic face mask
Orthodontic face mask to correct lower jaw positioning
Credit to Orthodontist101 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Dental and Oral Devices

These are mouth pieces the are worn in the mouth during sleep, something like a mouth guard or an orthodontic appliance. Typical oral products are the tongue retaining unit and the mandibular repositioning unit.

They hold the lower jaw ahead slightly forward just sufficient to maintain the airway open and stop the tongue and the upper airway muscles from collapsing and obstructing the airway.

Dental devices are sufficient for mild sleep apnea. However, there are side effects such as nausea, saliva build up, soreness and damage or permanent change of your mouth, teeth and jaw positions.

But the benefits of such a treatment is a non invasive but effective therapy which fits very easily into anyone’s lifestyle. Generally people like it due to the following reasons.

  • Easy to wear
  • Portable
  • Handy for travel
  • Quiet
  • Comfortable
  • Simple to care for
surgery

Surgical Treatment for Sleep Apnea

For serious cases of sleep apnea, surgery may be needed. Such situations usually arise from enlarged tonsils, a deviated nasal septum or perhaps an overbite with a small lower jaw. This makes the throat to become narrow and obstructs air flow.

These are some of the most common types of surgery for sleep apnea:

Nasal surgery

Correction of a deviated septum and other nasal issues.

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)

This particular process involves eliminating tissue from the top of the throat and the back of the month. This helps to raise the breadth of the airway at the throat opening. The adenoids and tonsils are also usually removed together. Typically success rate is about 50%.

Kids with sleep apnea or snoring usually have adenoids, or enlarged tonsils, or both. This surgery cures 75% of such case by surgical removal of these tissues.

Mandibular Maxillomandibular Surgery

The surgery process to fix particular throat obstructions and facial issues that contributes to sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Implants

Among the newest solutions for sleep apnea, it consists of the insertion of a pacemaker device which stimulates muscles to open up the airways to allow you to breathe better while asleep. The relatively new treatment is FDA approved in the US for individuals with moderate to serious symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.

Find Your Sleep Apnea Cure

Although the above cures and lifestyle changes for sleep apnea can help reduce symptoms, traditional treatments shouldn’t be dismissed. Seek medical attention with your doctor if you have serious sleep apnea symptoms.

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