3 Simple Ways To Enhance Effectiveness Of Apnea Appliances

If you snore, or if you wake yourself up gasping for air, you may have obstructive sleep apnea. During an apneic episode, breathing ceases for a period of time, usually only a second or two, however, this is can lead to daytime drowsiness.

Sleep apnea may also raise your risk for developing cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. If you have been diagnosed with this condition, your dentist or physician may have recommended that you try a sleep apnea appliance. Here are three simple ways to enhance the effectiveness of your apnea device so that you are less likely to experience complications from apneic episodes:

Raise Head Of Bed

When you lie flat, your windpipe, or trachea, can become compressed from the weight of your neck. When you raise the head of your bed for sleep, pressure is taken off the windpipe so that an effective pattern of breathing is maintained.

This position will also enhance the effectiveness of your sleep apnea appliance so that you will wake up refreshed and energized. Raising the head of your bed may also help reduce your risk for acid reflux, which is another risk factor for sleep apnea.

Acid reflux can also raise your risk for gum disease and cavities, and while having dental cavities may not raise your risk for apnea, gum disease might because it can trigger a systemic inflammatory response. Inflammation may also be an independent risk factor in the development of sleep disorders.

Limit Alcohol Use

Drinking too much alcohol can relax the muscles in your tongue and when this happens, your tongue may accidentally slip back into your throat. This can obstruct your trachea, causing episodes of sleep apnea and respiratory cessation.

While your apnea machine will help keep your airway open, lax muscles in your tongue related to alcohol consumption may reduce its effectiveness. If you do drink, try to stop a few hours before bedtime to help ensure that the effects of alcohol are minimized.

Maintain A Healthy Weight

Being overweight is an important risk factor in sleep apnea and snoring. Visceral fat, the fat inside your abdominal cavity, can place pressure on your diaphragm. This can cause snoring and gasping during sleep, however, when you lose excess belly fat, snoring and breathing problems during sleep will be minimized.

If you are unable to lose weight on your own, speak with your health care provider, who will recommend ways to reach your goals. In addition to placing pressure on your diaphragm, excess weight can also lead to neck fat. A heavy neck can compress the trachea, leading to breathing problems when you sleep. 

If you suffer from sleep apnea and use an appliance, consider the above interventions. Also, work with both your dentist and physician to develop an effective plan of care to help ensure that your sleep apnea is under control. Contact a dental office, like Leidenheimer Dental Group Inc, for more help.