Sleep Tips for Sleep Apnea: How to get a better night's sleep

Sleep is critical for practically every part of our lives. However, getting good sleep can be especially difficult for people with a condition called sleep apnea. 

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing for short periods during the night. This condition not only impacts quality of sleep, but it can also increase risk for heart failure, stroke, and diabetes. 

In this blog, we…

  • describe three kinds of sleep apnea, 

  • list common sleep apnea symptoms, 

  • and provide tips to maximize sleep if you have sleep apnea.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three kinds of sleep apnea you may experience. 

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea – OSA is the most common form of sleep apnea. It occurs when the muscles in your head and neck relax while you sleep, causing the surrounding tissue to block your airway. 

  2. Central Sleep Apnea – A less common condition, CSA happens because of problems with the brain and central nervous system. Essentially, your brain fails to direct your muscles to breathe.

  3. Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome – This form of sleep apnea results from a mixture of both obstructive apnea and central apnea events.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

No matter the form of sleep apnea, you may experience the symptoms below: 

  • Loud snoring

  • Night sweats

  • Choking or gasping

  • Daytime drowsiness

  • Headaches

  • Trouble concentrating & forgetfulness

  • Sore throat and/or dry mouth upon awakening

Experiencing some of these symptoms? If so, you may need to schedule a sleep study. Schedule an appointment with your doctor today to ask about sleep testing. 

Use this tool to find a sleep center near you.

Tips To Improve Sleep With Sleep Apnea

Fortunately, there are a variety of techniques you can use to get better sleep if you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Talk to your doctor about the following sleep techniques:

  • Change your sleep position. Avoid sleeping on your back. Instead, try sleeping on your side, a position that helps keep your airways open.

  • Get the right pillow. The wrong pillow can make your sleep apnea a whole lot worse. While side-sleeping, opt for a thicker pillow that aligns your neck with your head and removes pressure from your shoulders.

  • Keep to a regular sleep schedule. For optimal sleep, stick to your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.

  • Create a sleep-friendly environment. If you have trouble falling asleep, try to establish a sleep-conducive nighttime routine. Avoid watching TV or using your smartphone in bed. Keep your bedroom dark and cool. Be smart about what you eat and drink before bed. And do your best to relax as you near bedtime.

  • Make healthy lifestyle changes. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine – even if you can only set aside 30 minutes a day. Stick to a balanced diet with a weight loss focus. And avoid drinking alcohol, smoking, or using sedatives.

  • Use a humidifier. A humidifier can help with mouth, throat, and nose dryness connected with sleep apnea and CPAP use.

  • Routinely use allergy medication and/or nasal decongestant. If you struggle with allergies or nasal congestion, your airways will be even more obstructed.

  • Use a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. The most common sleep apnea treatment, a CPAP machine delivers a precise amount of air pressure into the airway via a mask while you sleep.

  • Try an oral appliance. A mandibular advancement device is a dental appliance that keeps your airway open during sleep. Essentially a fancy mouthguard, the device is a good alternative to a CPAP machine.

  • Surgery as a last resort. If none of the above techniques work, your doctor may recommend surgical treatment. There are various surgery options – from mouth, throat, and windpipe surgeries to nerve stimulation (for central sleep apnea) and weight loss surgeries.

NOTE: Although some of these tactics can be used to treat central sleep apnea, they are primarily intended for people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

HME Locations | Find a Sleep Center Near You!

Need to find a sleep center or a CPAP machine? HME Locations is your one-stop shop for all home medical equipment needs! Use our online tools to find home medical equipment and sleep centers.

Need to find a sleep study location near you? Use our handy sleep center search tool.

Want to

Here are some blogs related to sleep studies and sleep apnea.

« Back to Articles