Millions of people face daily struggles because of sleep apnea. This disorder can rob you of precious shuteye, making you drag your feet from day to day. Even worse, it can lead to serious systemic health problems. But there is hope! If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea in Los Gatos, there are some simple things you can do to reclaim your shuteye and live a full life.
For folks who have mild sleep apnea, a few tweaks to your daily routine may be able to relieve your symptoms and help you breathe easier at night:
- Instead of sleeping on your back, sleep on your side; this reduces the risk that the tissues in your throat will block your airway.
- Raise the head of your bed by about four inches. This small adjustment has been known to reduce snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, red meat, and spicy foods in the 3 – 4 hours before you go to bed. Alcohol may cause your throat tissues to overrelax; caffeine prevents you from getting deep sleep; and red meat and spicy foods may take more effort to digest, which can lead to sleep problems.
A CPAP machine gently forces air into your throat at night, allowing you to continue breathing easily despite sleep apnea. However, many people find that CPAP masks are very uncomfortable. It may be wise to go to a sleep center to try out different masks before you commit to one.
You might also ask your dentist in Los Gatos about oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea. A custom oral appliance repositions the jaw at night, thereby preventing apneas. This treatment is an option for most folks who have mild to moderate OSA.
Traveling With Your Treatment
Don’t leave your CPAP at home when you’re traveling. Airlines allow the machines to come onboard as carry-ons. Be sure to take your prescription with you and ask the airline if outlets are available at your seat in case you decide to sleep during your flight.
Oral appliances are easier to travel with since they don’t require electricity. Simply pack your appliance in your carry-on so it is handy at all times.
After you begin OSA treatment, you might find it challenge to adapt to some aspects of your new lifestyle, whether it is your CPAP machine, your new sleeping position, or anything else. Fortunately, there are countless individuals out there who can relate. There may be a local clinic where you can join a support group and talk to your fellow OSA patients about what has helped them cope with their disorder, or you can read stories online of how other individuals live a full and healthy life despite OSA.
Sleep apnea doesn’t have to be a huge burden. With a few small adjustments, you can reclaim your rest and get the most out of every day.
About the Author
Dr. Gregory Sawyer is one of three talented dentists at Los Gatos Dental Group. He has undergone extensive training that equips him to help patients who are struggling with OSA; he is even a founding member of the Dental Organization for Sleep Apnea. If you would like to talk to him about your OSA treatment options, contact us at 408-402-0900.