There are many other treatments that people employ to treat sleep apnea. Some of these treatments are employed because of medical advice while others attempt to treat themselves. Some of the efforts to treat sleep apnea listed below can have a measure of efficacy. Some of the treatments and therapies listed below are helpful in concert with therapies like C-PAP or oral appliance therapy.
Other or complimentary therapies for sleep apnea include:
- Weight Loss
There is a proven correlation between obesity/overweight and sleep apnea. However one condition does not absolutely predict the other. Many patients who are overweight do not have sleep apnea. Conversely, thin patients who have severe cases of sleep apnea.
Maintaining the proper weight for ones height and frame clearly contributes to good health. Although the loss of unwanted weight does not always have a positive effect on sleep apnea, it’s often helpful.
- Positional Therapy
Positional therapy makes use of various cushions, foam wedges, and specially designed sleepwear to encourage sleeping on ones side not back. Sleep apnea is often more severe when sleeping on ones back. Although positional therapy may be useful as a compliment to other treatments, it is rarely if ever recommended as a stand alone treatment for sleep apnea. It should also be noted that some patients have equally severe apneic events whether they sleep on their side or back.
- Breathe-Rite Strips and Nasal Decongestants
These remedies may be marginally helpful but are only recommended in conjunction with a primary therapy such as surgery, C-PAP or oral appliance therapy.
- Over-the-Counter Dental Appliances
Over-the-counter dental appliances are mostly ineffective and can be injurious to your teeth and bite. Most of these devices require boiling in hot water and are self fitting. The result is generally an ill fitting device that may not impact sleep apnea in any significantly positive way. Side effects can and often do include negative jaw stress and misalignment (temporal-mandibular joint – TMJ) as well as the shifting of the teeth and bite.
- Medications and Sleeping Pills
Sleep apnea has traumatically negative impacts on getting and staying asleep not to mention the quality of sleep. This causes many who suffer from it to rely on sleeping pills, alcohol, histamines and Benadryl for relief. Sleep medications primarily focus on treating the symptoms of sleep apnea and not the disorder itself. Medications designed to promote sleep should only be taken in consultation with your physician .
Important Caution: Medications to promote sleep have serious implications. Sleep apnea occurs during deep and REM sleep. That is the time when the muscles of the tongue and jaws are most relaxed. This state of relaxation promotes the apnea events that deny the body oxygen. Any medication that relaxes the muscles more will cause the sleep apnea to become worse.
- A Pillow Firmly Placed over the Mouth and Nose of Your Bed Partner
All treatments to treat sleep apnea or to compliment another course of sleep apnea treatment should be undertaken in consultation with your physician.