Treatment of Sleep Apnea by Dalyn Baker - HTML preview

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Lifestyle Changes

The first treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) consists of making lifestyle changes. Your sleep apnea may be helped if you:

 Lose weight (if needed).

o Small studies have shown that losing weight decreases the number of times an hour that you stop breathing (apnea) or that a reduced amount of air enters your lungs (hypopnea). Experts agree that weight loss should be part of managing sleep apnea.

 Wake up at the same time every morning.

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 Sleep on your side.

o Try this: Sew a pocket in the middle of the back of your pajama top, put a tennis ball into the pocket, and stitch it shut. This will help keep you from sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your side may eliminate mild sleep apnea.

 Avoid the use of alcohol and some medicines, especially sleeping pills and sedatives, before bed.

 Quit smoking.

o The nicotine in tobacco relaxes the muscles that keep the airways open. If you don't smoke, those muscles are less likely to collapse at night and narrow the airways.

 Raise the head of your bed 4 in. (10 cm) to 6 in. (15 cm) o Put bricks under the legs of the bed.

o You can also use a special pillow (called a cervical pillow) when you sleep. A cervical pillow can help your head stay in a position that reduces sleep apnea.

o Using regular pillows to raise your head and upper body will not work.

 Promptly treat breathing problems, such as a stuffy nose caused by a cold or allergies.

 Some people use nasal strips, which widen the nostrils and improve airflow. Although these strips may decrease snoring, they cannot treat sleep apnea.