Everyone needs a good night’s sleep to be at their best during the day, but if you have sleep apnea, daytime sleepiness could be affecting your work and your relationships. In fact, the National Institute of Health reports that sleep apnea is the number one cause of feeling excessively tired during the day. Because it’s so common, there are many ways of treating sleep apnea. Together, you and your health team can choose the best option for your situation.
If your sleep apnea isn’t severe, you might be able to solve it with a few lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking, losing weight, avoiding alcohol and certain medications, sleeping on your side, and using nasal or allergy sprays are just a few methods that you can use to reduce your sleep apnea symptoms.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Devices
You might have to use a CPAP machine to keep your airway open while you sleep. The machine, which is the most common way to treat sleep apnea, provides a constant but gentle air stream that blows into your throat.
In some cases, sleep apnea doesn’t require surgery or a CPAP device. Instead, your dentist can help you improve your rest by designing a specialized mouthpiece that keeps your airway open while you doze. If your dentist gives you a mouthpiece, make sure your doctor knows. Working together, they can ensure the piece is comfortable and you’re getting a better night’s sleep.
Your doctor might recommend that you get surgery to shrink, stiffen, or remove excess tissue. By removing this tissue, the doctor will widen your airway. If you are considering sleep apnea surgery be sure to consult with an oral surgeon to discuss your options.
The bad news is that sleep apnea makes it hard to get the sleep you need to be at your best. The good news is that sleep apnea is common and can be easy to treat. While you might need surgery or a CPAP machine, a simple trip to your dentist or a lifestyle change could solve the problem.