If you are one of over 18 million American adults that suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, you could be waking up hundreds of times every night due to interrupted breathing without even realizing it. This can leave you feeling exhausted during the day, and it could even be putting you at risk for heart failure. There are many ways you can try and treat this condition – and surprisingly enough, even something as simple as changing your sleeping position can help. Here’s why choosing the right position can make all the difference when you have sleep apnea in Windermere.
How Can Sleeping Position Affect Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea, as the name suggests, occurs when the airway has been blocked somehow. Oftentimes, the obstruction is created when the soft tissues in your mouth and throat (including the adenoids, tongue and uvula) relax and collapse; this is especially common for adults who are overweight or obese.
Research by the National Institutes of Health shows that if you sleep on your back, you are twice as likely to suffer from sleep apnea. This is because gravity is pulling down on your soft tissues, causing them to crowd together and create airway resistance.
What Sleeping Position is Best for Sleep Apnea?
Side sleeping can go a long way towards improving your sleep apnea symptoms. In general, sleeping on your left side is considered ideal; not only does it allow for easier breathing, but it also allows for the best blood flow. As an additional benefit, this position is also beneficial for those who have insomnia or suffer from acid reflux, both of which can contribute to sleep apnea. Keep in mind that if you choose to sleep on your side, you need to find a good pillow to ensure that your neck and back receive enough support while you’re asleep.
Sleeping on your stomach can potentially ease sleep apnea as well by preventing airway obstruction, but there is a chance that you’ll bury your face in your pillow, which will still work against good breathing.
What Else Can Help Sleep Apnea?
Other lifestyle changes can help treat sleep disordered breathing as well. Losing weight, for example, can sometimes eliminate sleep apnea altogether. Also, since dry air can irritate your respiratory system, sleeping with a humidifier can encourage clearer breathing. Finally, try to limit your alcohol intake; alcohol will relax the throat muscles responsible for breathing.
Of course, a professional treatment is often the best solution for sleep apnea. If you think you have this disorder, contact your dentist today; after a sleep study is performed, they can give you an oral appliance that will reposition your lower jaw in a way that keeps your airway open.
Whatever you do to improve sleep apnea, it’s best to do it sooner rather than later so that you can avoid long-term health complications. Do whatever it takes to make yourself comfortable and get the full night’s sleep you deserve!
About the Practice
At Windermere Dentistry, we want to make sure our patients experience high levels of comfort and receive high-quality comprehensive care at each appointment. In addition to helping you smile brightly, we can also help you sleep soundly with oral appliance therapy. If you believe sleep apnea is keeping you up at night, visit our website or call (407) 909-1099.