Lifestyle Changes and Sleep Apnea

Relying on the CPAP or the Oral Appliance to treat your sleep apnea is fine but you also need to consider some lifestyle changes as well.  Many times simple adjustments in our daily habits can have a big effect on our sleep apnea.  Here are some things you can do:

  • It is best to avoid alcohol and medicines that make you sleepy. The reason for this is that it makes it harder for your throat to stay open while you sleep.
  • Lose weight if you’re overweight or obese. Even a little weight loss can improve your symptoms.  Those who have thick necks are more prone to sleep apnea than those who don’t.
  • Sleep on your side instead of your back to help keep your throat open. You can sleep with special pillows or shirts that prevent you from sleeping on your back.
  • Keep your nasal passages open at night with nasal sprays or allergy medicines, if needed. Talk with your doctor about whether these treatments might help you.  Some even use the breathe right strips to assist in opening the nasal airways in order to get more airflow.
  • If you smoke, quit. Talk with your doctor about programs and products that can help you quit smoking.  Smoking can adversely effect your sleep apnea where you are not getting the airflow you need.

Again, simple changes can have a big effect.