Obstructive sleep apnoea – OSA
– can be a thoroughly debilitating condition which invades all aspects of sufferers’ lives. The regular interruption of sleep can have a severe impact on your waking life and increases your risk of developing certain conditions, including high blood pressure and heart disease. So, how do you get a good night’s sleep when you have OSA?
Here are a few tips you might find helpful.
BASIC LIFESTYLE CHANGES
Sleep apnoea is usually a condition which affects sufferers over a long-term period; it’s not something that can easily be dealt with using medication. Saying that, your OSA can be significantly eased through relatively simple lifestyle changes.
Smoking and drinking are both known to exacerbate the condition, so cutting down on these vices – or even stopping altogether – is advised if you want to get a good night’s sleep. Being obese or overweight is also considered to be a risk factor, so it’s advised that you make a conscious effort to lose weight. Exercising more often could also help!
While you might think sleeping medication will help you drift off and sleep through until morning, sedatives have actually been proven to worsen the symptoms of OSA. Instead, try and relax before bed, avoid phone screens in the last hour or so before you go to sleep and sleep on your side, rather than on your back.
MANDIBULAR ADVANCEMENT DEVICES
This device is like a gum shield, fitting around your teeth and holding your jaw and tongue forward to maximise the space at the back of your throat while sleeping. MADs, as they’re often known, can be purchased off the shelf, but it’s recommended that you visit your dentist to have one custom fit. Unfortunately, if you have severe OSA, a MAD may not help – they’re only really designed to alleviate the symptoms of mild obstructive sleep apnoea.
CONTINUOUS POSITIVE AIRWAY DEVICES
Why not try a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device? As we covered in our recent post, these devices stop your airway closing when you’re sleeping by delivering compressed air through a mask.
Other treatments include surgery and soft palate implants, but work through the above first – you may find that simply eating better, exercising and cutting down on smoking and drinking helps you kick those bad nights’ sleep once and for all!