Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

In many cases, self-care may be the most appropriate way for you to deal with obstructive sleep apnea. Try these tips:

  • Lose weight. If you're overweight or obese, even a slight loss of excess weight may help relieve constriction of your airway. Losing weight can also improve your health and quality of life, and may reduce your sleepiness during the day.
  • Exercise. Exercising, such as aerobic exercise and strength training, can help improve your condition. Aim to exercise about 150 minutes per week, and generally try to exercise four or more days per week.
  • Avoid alcohol and medications such as tranquilizers and sleeping pills. Alcohol can worsen obstructive sleep apnea and sleepiness and may lead to you gaining weight. Certain medications also can worsen your sleep.
  • Sleep on your side or abdomen rather than on your back. Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue and soft palate to rest against the back of your throat and block your airway. To prevent sleeping on your back, try sewing a tennis ball in the back of your pajama top.
  • Keep your nasal passages open while you sleep. If you have congestion, use a saline nasal spray to help keep your nasal passages open. Talk to your doctor about using nasal decongestants or antihistamines, because some medications may only be recommended for short-term use.
Jun. 15, 2013

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