What is sleep apnea? “Apnea” literally means “no breath” or “stopping breathing”. Many people have sleep apnea, but may not even know it. If you think you might have sleep apnea, it’s important to recognize some of the common symptoms and what you can do about it.
- constant tiredness
- poor concentration
- morning headaches
- depressed mood
- night sweats
- weight gain
- frequent urination at night
- Wear an Oral/Dental Appliance Instead: Wear an oral appliance designed to keep your throat open. CPAP is more reliably effective than oral appliances, but oral appliances might be easier to use. Some are designed to open your throat by bringing your jaw forward, which can sometimes relieve snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea.
- Surgery for Sleep Apnea: Surgery is usually only an option after other treatments have failed. Generally, at least a three-month trial of other treatment options is suggested before considering surgery. However, for a small number of people with certain jaw structure problems, it’s a good first option.
Surgical options might include:
- Tissue removal
- Tissue shrinkage
- Jaw repositioning
- Nerve stimulation
- Creating a new air passageway (tracheostomy)
- Undergoing a Weight Management Program: Even a slight weight loss might help relieve constriction of your throat. In some cases, sleep apnea can resolve if you return to a healthy weight, but it can recur if you regain the weight.
- Positional Therapy: In many cases, positional therapy is used as a behavioral strategy to treat positional sleep apnea. Some people have sleep apnea primarily when sleeping on their back. Their breathing returns to normal when they sleep on their side. Positional therapy may involve wearing a special device around your waist or back. It keeps you sleeping in the side position. Positional therapy can be used alone or together with another sleep apnea treatment.
- Consider Changing Some of Your Everyday Habits: So many lifestyle changes are there that you can make to help you reduce your snoring and improve your sleep apnea symptoms. Avoid smoking and alcohol to make a drastic change in your lifestyle.