Not getting enough sleep at night affects all aspects of your health – mental, emotional, and physical. While stress and insomnia are common factors that contribute to lack of sleep, obstructive sleep apnea is another leading factor that most patients do not consider.
Sleep apnea is when you don’t get enough oxygen while sleeping, and you stop breathing throughout the night for short periods of time. Some patients will wake up gasping for air or coughing, but sleep apnea isn’t always that obvious.
Sleep is essential for your health. If you’re not getting enough of it, then it’s time to figure out why. If you’re not sure how to sleep better with sleep apnea, keep reading. There are several options available to help you reclaim your sleep and sanity.
How to Sleep Better with Sleep Apnea
There is currently no cure for sleep apnea. However, there are a number of ways to make it less intense and to sleep longer and better at night.
- Oral Dental Appliances – Patients with healthy, natural teeth and mild to moderate sleep apnea often turn to custom-made oral appliances to help adjust and align the position of their tongue and lower jaw. This is a good alternative to more advanced treatment options such as CPAP. These appliances work to tighten soft tissues and muscles in the back of your throat to create an unobstructed airway.
- ARA (Anterior Modeling Appliance) – This is a more advanced, painless orthodontic appliance used to expand your jaw permanently. It also works to straighten your teeth and improve facial features through a biological process that creates bone.
- CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) – A CPAP machine provides constant air pressure to help keep airways open while sleeping. A mask fits over your nose or mouth and blows air into your throat at a gentle pressure. This air pressure holds your throat open and keeps the muscles from relaxing too much during sleep. There are several CPAP machine options, and it’s vital to find a machine and mask that works for your specific needs.
- Surgery – If excess tissue is causing sleep apnea, surgery to remove that tissue that impedes nasal breathing is an option. It’s also a method used to strengthen your airway walls. Surgical options vary and should be discussed thoroughly with your specialist such as an ENT.
Listed above are the four main options available to help with sleep apnea. However, some lifestyle changes can also help. For example:
- Change your sleeping position (side sleeping and stomach sleeping are shown to provide the best results)
- Find the right pillow (there is not a pillow designed for sleep apnea, but the firmness, style, and shape have different effects based on your body and sleep position)
- Use a humidifier (this helps with dry mouths and stuffy noses)
- Change your diet and exercise routine (avoid smoking and alcohol and maintain a healthy weight to improve sleep apnea symptoms)
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options in Dallas, TX
If you wake up with a dry mouth, irritability, or frequent morning headaches, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. In addition to these symptoms, if not treated properly, sleep apnea and deprivation increase your risk for heart failure, diabetes, stroke, and other health conditions.
The good news is that sleep apnea can be treated with proper care from your dentist. TMJ Plus Wellness Center provides sleep apnea treatment near Dallas, TX. Contact us at 817-481-6888 to schedule an appointment.