Should you ever think that you suffer from sleep apnea, it is crucial that you go and see a doctor. Sleep apnea could lead to far more serious consequences is left untreated. Of course, treatment from a doctor or sleep specialist is always the best way to deal with the condition. That being said, there are a number of little physical tips and tricks that can help fight the disorder and sometimes, depending on the severity, help overcome it.
Nightly tips for helping to prevent sleep apnea
While in bed, there are a few handy things you can do to help prevent the onset of the disorder while you sleep. Let’s take a closer look.
Firstly, start by sleeping on your side. This makes it far harder for the airways to collapse, which result in sleep apnea. You must avoid sleeping on your back at all. Why? Well, the force of gravity means your tongue is more likely to drop as well as the extra soft tissue you may have developed due to a weight problem. These in turn, will obstruct your airway. In fact, many people only have problems with sleep apnea when they sleep on their backs and by simply changing their sleeping position, they can rid themselves of the disorder.
Secondly, consider using a tennis ball. You can sew this onto the back of your pyjama top. As soon as you roll onto your back you will feel the tennis ball and move to another position. If you sleep without a top, use a pillow stuffed with tennis balls as an alternative. You can place this under your back to prevent yourself from rolling over onto it.
Thirdly, sleep with your head propped up. You can either do this by using extra pillows – although this is often not good for your neck – or you can raise the head of your bed by six inches. Otherwise, consider using a foam wedge to help elevate your body from around the waist upwards. People who sleep in with an elevated head report fewer cases of sleep apnea.
Fourthly, always try to keep your nasal passages open. This can be achieved in a number of ways, either using a nasal spray, a saline solution or breathing strips.
Lastly, try to tighten the muscles that keep your mouth closed. This is often easier said than done, but luckily there are a few exercises you can use to help learn to do this. The easiest is to chew gum around 10 minutes before bedtime, but the most effective is to hold a pencil between your teeth until your jaw starts to ache, but for no longer than 10 minutes.
These simple tricks can go a long way into helping you control your sleep apnea and if you are lucky enough, to dismiss the problem completely. It may take some discipline to get into a regular routine, but making these strategies a regular practice just might help you get a better night’s sleep.