In certain mild to moderate cases, lifestyle changes may be enough to reduce or even eliminate the symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). One of the first things sleep medicine professionals advise, if appropriate, is weight loss. Studies show that losing at least ten percent of total body weight results in a marked improvement in OSA symptoms.
A more immediate fix may be to avoid sleeping on the back, as this sleep position tends to increase the chances of the tongue and soft tissues of the mouth falling backward and creating blockages. Instead, sleepers should shift to their side, and right-side sleeping is known to be the most effective position for preventing snoring and OSA. Since rolling over at night is common, cushions behind the back and other options can encourage you to stay on your side.
Other things a person can do to combat OSA are to stop smoking and to limit the consumption of alcohol or sleeping aids before bedtime. The latter are muscle relaxants that encourage soft tissue collapse, the primary cause of sleep apnea obstructions. Keeping the nasal passages clear through the use of a sinus rinse or adhesive strip can lessen symptoms in some cases, and avoiding large, fatty meals for dinner may also help.
Though lifestyle changes can make a difference in the severity of OSA, they are seldom sufficient to fully relieve symptoms in patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea. As a result, many OSA sufferers need additional treatment options. Nevertheless, we still encourage lifestyle changes that might mitigate your condition. Any improvements the patient makes on his or her own also make medical treatments much more effective.
The first lifestyle change necessary to fight sleep apnea is to not procrastinate about finding a solution! Request a consultation with one of our sleep apnea specialists, who arranges for appropriate sleep testing.supplies FDA-approved home testing equipment to its patients. The costs of these tests are usually covered by medical insurance plans.
So what’s holding you back? Make the move and start solving your sleep apnea today! Call us at 916-538-6900, make an appointment via our website or stop by our downtown Sacramento office at 1105 E Street.