In many cases, self-care may be the most appropriate way for you to deal with obstructive sleep apnea and possibly central sleep apnea. Try these tips:
Aug. 25, 2015
- Lose excess weight. Even a slight loss in excess weight may help relieve constriction of your throat. Sleep apnea may go into complete remission in some cases if you return to a healthy weight. But sleep apnea will likely come back if you regain the weight.
- Exercise. Regular exercise can help ease the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea even without weight loss. A good goal is to try to get 30 minutes of moderate activity, such as a brisk walk, most days of the week.
- Avoid alcohol and certain medications such as tranquilizers and sleeping pills. These relax the muscles in the back of your throat, interfering with breathing.
- 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 at night. Use a saline nasal spray to help keep your nasal passages open. Talk to your doctor about using any nasal decongestants or antihistamines because these medications are generally recommended only for short-term use.
- Stop smoking, if you're a smoker. Smoking worsens obstructive sleep apnea.
- Longo DL, et al., eds. Sleep apnea. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2015. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed May 20, 2015.
- Ferri FF. Sleep apnea, obstructive. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 20, 2015.
- What is sleep apnea? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sleepapnea/. Accessed May 22, 2015.
- Selim BJ, et al. Central sleep apnea — The complex sleep apnea syndrome. Sleep Medicine Clinic. 2014;9:37.
- Bonow RO, et al. Sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease. In: Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 20, 2015.
- Strohl KP. Overview of obstructive sleep apnea in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 19, 2015.
- Kryger MH, et al. Sleep breathing disorders. In: Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine. 5th ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Elsevier Saunders; 2011. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 20, 2015.
- Adult obstructive sleep apnoea. The Lancet. 2014;383:736.
- Schiza SE, et al. Expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) nasal device therapy: A welcome addition to obstructive sleep apnea syndrome therapy. Sleep and Breathing. In press.
- Kryger MH. Management of obstructive sleep apnea in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 22, 2015.
- Selim BJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 26, 2015.