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 and possibly central sleep apnea. Try these tips:

  • Lose excess weight. Even a slight loss in excess weight may help relieve constriction of your throat. Sleep apnea may be cured in some cases by a return to a healthy weight. If you don't already have a weight-loss program, talk to your doctor about the best course of action for weight loss.
  • Exercise. Getting 30 minutes of moderate activity, such as a brisk walk, most days of the week may help ease obstructive sleep apnea symptoms.
  • 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.
Jul. 24, 2012