Not all sleep apnea cases are serious and require intensive surgery or even immediate medical attention. Making a few simple lifestyle changes is often enough to treat mild sleep apnea cases. If you are unsure if what you are experiencing is indeed sleep apnea, read on.
Common Mild Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Hypersomnia (extreme daytime fatigue)
Insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep)
Loud, disruptive snoring
Frequent awakenings during the night
Waking up in the morning with a headache, dry mouth, or sore throat
Difficulty focusing throughout the day
If your sleeping partner alerts you to any of these symptoms or you notice one or two yourself, consult your doctor on possible treatments. If applicable, your doctor may recommend you form some new habits.
Lifestyle Changes to Treat Mild Sleep Apnea
A vast majority of people suffering from sleep apnea are overweight or obese. Though no formal medical studies have as yet been performed linking obesity to sleep apnea, most doctors acknowledge dropping as little as 5 or 10 pounds can greatly diminish the occurrence of sleep apnea symptoms. When the neck area is encased in excess fat, it is often harder to breathe, and snoring can result.
It seems a no-brainer to eat well and exercise, but a large portion of Americans are not regularly doing either. Getting half an hour of moderate exercise 4 or 5 days a week can often provide relief from sleep apnea symptoms.
Smoke irritates the walls of the throat, resulting in inflammation and trouble breathing.
Alter your sleeping position
If you are a back sleeper, your tongue may slump to the back of your throat due to gravity. Adjusting to your side or your stomach can keep your tongue from obstructing your airway.
Cut down on alcohol, and avoid sedatives
Alcohol, a natural sedative, relaxes the throat muscles, which can interfere with breathing. If you do consume alcoholic beverages, try to do so earlier in the day, and keep them to a minimum. Though it may seem sleeping pills would help sleep apnea, taking them can actually worsen mild sleep apnea symptoms.
If lifestyle changes do not prove enough to address your sleep apnea, consult our sleep apnea dentist for further treatment options which may include an oral appliance or a breathing machine.