The most effective way to manage sleep apnea is with the use of a CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure device). But despite the changes to make these machines more comfortable to use during the night, some people would really prefer a different form of treatment. But how do you treat sleep apnea without a CPAP?
Treating Sleep Apnea Without CPAP
There are a few other sleep apnea treatment options besides using a CPAP machine, but first, it’s important to remember why CPAPs have the highest success rate by explaining how they manage sleep disorders.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea or central sleep apnea then either the fatty tissues around your neck collapse on your airway causing you to stop breathing or the signal from your brain to breathe gets mixed up during your sleep. Either way, your body panics and works to restore oxygen. CPAPs provide a constant stream of air to keep your airways open as you sleep, directly handling the issue and allowing your body the oxygen it needs for proper rest.
One major natural sleep apnea treatment involves weight loss. By making a few simple changes to your daily routine you can shed a few extra pounds and possibly reduce the found around your neck and lungs. As you burn fat there will be less weight and pressure around your airways, to help them naturally stay clear.
Weight loss involves the use of dieting and exercising so replace refined sugar, carbs, sodas, and greasy fast food with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, and water. Also try to participate in moderate exercising such as walking, cycling, or using an elliptical 3 to 4 times a week.
However, it’s important to continue to use your CPAP during your weight loss journey. Without it, you may suffer from sleep apnea symptoms during the day such as fatigue or sugar cravings, making it harder to exercise and diet.
Always ask your doctor before discontinuing CPAP therapy. Plus, remember that you may enjoy the healthier you as weight loss contributes to better sleep, lower blood pressure, better mood, reduced stress, and much more.
You don’t have to be overweight to have sleep apnea. It could be caused by having a narrow neck, deviated septum, a crowded mouth, a tongue that is too big, and more. Therefore some patients may benefit from having surgery instead of using a CPAP device.
Popular sleep apnea surgery options include:
Nasal Surgery – Nasal obstructions such as congestion, a deviated septum, or nasal valve collapse can cause sleep-disordered breathing. Surgically correcting these issues can allow your nostrils to draw in enough air to breathe during your sleep.
UPPP (Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty) – What a mouthful, fitting because that could be the cause of your sleep apnea. The UPPP procedure is used to remove excessive tissues from the soft palate and pharynx to open up space. This procedure can also reduce the amount that patients snore.
Tongue Procedures – Your tongue can obstruct your airways in a variety of ways, from falling backward while you sleep or due to being too large. Tongue advancements move the forward to prevent it from falling backward and a tongue base reduction reduces the amount of tissue at the base to create more space.
You may qualify to have your CPAP equipment covered through insurance, but that doesn’t mean you have to go with it. There are a few out of pocket items on the market that you can try such as:
Mouth Guards: Sleep apnea mouth guards or mandibular advancement devices (MAD) look like regular retainers, but are used to position the lower jaw forward to create more space. These devices must be specially fitted by a dentist or orthodontist.
Tongue Retaining Devices: Yes, we said tongue retaining devices (TSD), also known as tongue stabilizing devices (TSD) are splints used to hold the tongue while you sleep. They pull and hold it forward, so it won’t collapse and block your airway.
Nostril Patches: Nostril patches like Provent nasal devices hold your nostrils open with a MircoVavle that creates pressure as you exhale. They are FDA approved for sleep apnea therapy that’s powered by your own breathing!
How To Make CPAPs More Comfortable
While researching CPAP alternatives you will still need to use your machine to treat sleep apnea or you could experience adverse health effects. So, in the meantime, you can increase comfort by:
- Switching to a CPAP nasal or hybrid mask
- Using a CPAP with a humidifier
- Using a mask liner or gel to reduce irritation
- Purchasing a CPAP pillow to comfortably sleep on your side
- Switching to a BiPAP machine to make it easier to exhale
- Regularly cleaning your CPAP supplies