Behavioral therapy is as simple as it sounds: using changes in behavior to minimize the symptoms of sleep apnea. Patients with only a mild case of sleep apnea may rely on a treatment as basic as implementing a few lifestyle changes. Patients with more severe cases of sleep apnea may benefit from a supplemental implementation of lifestyle changes in addition to use of an oral appliance, medication or surgery.
So, how can you lessen the effects of apnea on your own? Here are a few tips for improving your ability to sleep through the night without snoring and other ill effects:
- Limit your intake of alcohol ask it can worsen snoring and increase paused breathing
- Do not drink alcoholic beverages three hours prior to bedtime
- Stop smoking! The effects of smoke on the lungs and throat can also worsen your sleep apnea
- Go to bed at a reasonable hour. Sleep deprivation can cause heavy snoring
- If you are overweight, consider a healthy weight loss plan. Sleep apnea tends to occur more often, and manifest itself more severely, in patients who are overweight and obese. Studies show that even a small amount of weight loss can reduce the occurrence of breathing pauses. Unfortunately, weight loss is extremely difficult for patients with untreated sleep apnea.
- Using tennis balls or shark fin pillow to eliminate back sleeping can be a major help in patients with positional apnea.
- Using pillows or raising the head of the bed to elevate the head works to help some apnea patients breathe easier during sleep
- Sleep on your side or stomach to avoid collapse of the airway
- Try not to eat a heavy meal close to bedtime
- Avoid or limit the use of sleeping pills and mood-altering drugs
- Avoid the use of antihistamines at night
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Limit intake of certain dairy foods before bed, as they can increase mucous production and encourage snoring
- Reduce allergens in your home, such as dust and dander
- Sleep with windows closed
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom