Last month, the article offered some tips to have a healthier lifestyle in hopes of minimizing your Obstructive Sleep Apnea symptoms. This month, we will look more closely at some nighttime changes you can make to reduce your chances of developing Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). 

If you feel you have sleep apnea, or a doctor or dentist has recommended a home sleep test, it may be time to seriously consider the possibility that you have sleep apnea and begin treatment with an Aberdeen, North Carolina, sleep apnea dentist. If you still are unsure if you have sleep apnea and don’t want to invest in a home sleep test, please read on to see how this complex sleep disorder may be controlled with some simple nighttime changes.

adult man sleeping in bed

What is OSA?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when your airway becomes so relaxed during sleep that it collapses, causing a blockage. That blockage causes you to choke and gasp for air while you sleep, interrupting a sound sleep cycle. You may wake up hundreds of times a night as you choke and gasp for air. 

Snoring is the sound made when trying to force air through your blocked airway. If you snore, you likely have sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea, you will likely snore. It’s that simple. If your partner snores, you may suggest a sleep study to get a definitive Obstructive Sleep Apnea diagnosis. Then, treatment for sleep apnea in Aberdeen, NC, may begin.

Change Your Sleep Position

The Johns Hopkins Medicine website provides valuable sleep suggestions to help with OSA. 

Back and neck pain: When it comes to alleviating pain, sleeping on your back is up for debate. For people who suffer from neck pain, sleeping face up can sometimes increase the pain level. However, many people find sleeping on their back is helpful for alleviating low-back pain. If you have pain and tightness in and around your spine, experiment with different positions and pillows to find what works for you.

Snoring and sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea causes the airways to collapse during sleep, leading to pauses in breathing, which goes hand in hand with snoring. Positioning yourself on your side or stomach can help the airways stay open to reduce snoring and alleviate mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Reflux and heartburn: If you suffer from heartburn and other gastrointestinal issues, sleeping on your right side can worsen symptoms. That’s true for people who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and for people who have heartburn for other reasons, such as pregnancy. Flipping from side to side throughout the night may alleviate your discomfort.

Optimize Your Bedroom For Good Sleep

Making just a few changes in your bedroom may help you achieve sweet slumber more quickly and for a longer amount of time.

  • Clean sheets: Wash your sheets weekly and vacuum the mattress to remove dust and dander that can cause allergies and impair sleep.
  • Close the blinds: Use curtains or blinds to keep the room dim at night, but open the curtains in the morning to reset your internal clock.
  • Location matters: Position your bed so you aren’t facing distractions, such as a desk stacked with work or a blinking light. No one can relax while staring at the work you have the next day!
  • Put devices away for the night: Unless you’re using them for white noise or to play your favorite true crime podcast while you sleep, turn those devices off when it’s bedtime.

More About Technology Use at Night

Research shows that nighttime use of phones and tablets can greatly hinder sleep. One study found that people who used mobile devices late at night were more depleted the next morning and much less engaged during the workday. Another study found that people who responded to alerts on their phones after they had turned in for the night had poorer quality sleep than people who went device free at bedtime.

Learn More About OSA and Sleep Habits in Aberdeen, North Carolina

Please call Kuhn Dental Associates at (910) 692-4450 to discuss Obstructive Sleep Apnea treatment, or please fill out our online contact form. One of our OSA team members will reach out shortly to answer questions or schedule a new patient evaluation.