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7 Home Remedies and Gadgets for Sleep Apnea

Published February 9th, 2022 by Erik Rivera
Fact Checked by
Jacqueline Hensler
Medically Reviewed:
Chris Riley

Sleep Apnea 101 | Symptoms | At home treatments and gadgets | Prevention

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects many people.

If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from sleep apnea, don't worry, there are things you can do to help treat the condition and get better sleep.

We will discuss seven home remedies and gadgets to help treat sleep apnea.

We will also talk about the symptoms of sleep apnea and how to prevent it.

So, if you are looking for ways to improve your sleep quality, read on.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that disrupts your breathing patterns and causes you to stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep.

It’s caused when the airway becomes blocked, preventing air from flowing into and out of the lungs.

This can lead to interrupted breathing and decreased oxygen levels in the blood.

As a result, it can contribute to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

There are three types of sleep apnea.

The first type is obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. This is the most common type and it’s caused when the upper airway becomes blocked, either from being too narrow or for other reasons like excess weight.

The second type is central sleep apnea or CSA. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send the right signals to control breathing.

And finally, there’s mixed sleep apnea, or MSA, which is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea and can also be called complex sleep apnea.

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What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

If you suffer from sleep apnea, there are several symptoms that may affect you.

Symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Snoring loudly, especially when lying down. You may also wake up gasping or choking during the night.
  • Feeling drowsy or tired throughout the day, even after a full night’s rest. This is called excessive daytime sleepiness or EDS. It is caused by your body not being able to get enough oxygen, and you’re only able to get a partial night’s rest.
  • Having trouble concentrating or staying focused on tasks due to lack of sleep.
  • Becoming irritable over small things easily throughout the day. This is because your body isn’t getting enough sleep, so it can affect your mood and behavior in ways that may seem out of character.
  • Experiencing a decrease in sex drive. This is because sleep apnea can cause erectile dysfunction and problems with ejaculation in men, and reduced libido in women.
  • Have headaches when you wake up in the morning, called morning headaches, or throughout the day.
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat. This is caused by sleeping with your mouth open due to sleep apnea.

If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, you should go see your doctor or a sleep specialist. Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause a number of health problems.

What are some at-home treatments and gadgets I can use to treat sleep apnea?

There are a few different ways that you can treat sleep apnea at home.

Some involve sleep apnea-specific devices while others make use of everyday items or changes to your lifestyle.

Here are seven at-home treatments you can try to help treat your sleep apnea.

CPAP machines

A CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure machine is a device that delivers pressurized air through a mask to keep your airway open while you sleep.

It is the most common treatment for people with sleep apnea, and it’s been found to be very effective in treating the disorder.

There are other positive airway machines such as the BiPAP, which stands for bilevel positive airway pressure, and APAP, or automatic positive airway pressure, that are similar to CPAP machines but have different air pressures depending on your breathing.

Mouth devices

There are a few different types of mouth devices, also called an oral device or oral appliance, that can be used to treat sleep apnea.

These include mandibular advancement devices (MADs) and tongue-retaining devices (TRDs).

MADs work by moving the jaw and tongue forward, which opens up the airway.

TRDs work by keeping the tongue in place so it doesn’t fall back and block the airway.

Besides positive airway pressure devices, an oral device is one of the most common forms of treatment for sleep apnea. 

Weight loss

If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight can help to reduce the risk of sleep apnea.

Losing even just a few pounds can make a big difference in your symptoms.

Tennis balls

If you snore and suffer from sleep apnea, sleeping on your side has been found to be better than sleeping on your back.

Putting tennis balls in a sock and tying them around your waist can prevent you from sleeping on your back.

This will help to reduce the chances of your airway becoming blocked during sleep.

Sleep position and position pillows

Changing your sleep position can also help to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea.

Sleeping on your side is better than sleeping on your back with this condition.

In addition, raising the head of your bed by about 30 degrees can also help to reduce sleep apnea symptoms along with special pillows that can help you.

There are also other sleep pillows that are designed to be worn with a CPAP mask and promote side sleeping.

Humidifiers

If you use a CPAP machine, using a humidifier can help to make the experience more comfortable.

The humidifiers add moisture to the air flowing through your mask so it doesn’t feel as dry on your skin and in your nose.

They can also help prevent sinusitis and reduce the risk of getting a cold.

Quitting smoking and drinking alcohol

Smoking and alcohol consumption can make sleep apnea symptoms worse.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption are two things you can do to help treat your condition.

Can I prevent sleep apnea?

Not all forms of sleep apnea are preventable. Central sleep apnea is not possible to prevent, but it is possible to prevent obstructive sleep apnea if it is not genetic.

There are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea, including losing weight if you’re overweight or obese through a healthy diet and exercise program, reducing your alcohol consumption and smoking, and not taking any sleep medications.

If your sleep apnea is caused by sleep medications or sedatives, talk to your doctor about whether there are any alternative medications you can take that don’t have the same side effects.

You can also sleep on your side instead of your back to reduce the chances of obstructive sleep apnea.

Summary

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that can have serious health consequences over time if it’s not treated properly.

There are at-home treatments for sleep apnea, including mouth devices, altering sleeping positions, using a humidifier, and other home remedies such as using a tennis ball or balls for positional therapy.

Sleep apnea is most often treated using CPAP machines or other positive airway pressure machines and there are even pillows specially designed for sleep apnea sufferers who use these machines.

If you are at risk for sleep apnea, there are a few things you can do to reduce your chances of developing the disorder.

These include losing weight, quitting smoking and drinking alcohol, and sleeping on your side instead of your back.

If you think you may have sleep apnea, it’s important to see a doctor to diagnose the condition and recommend the best treatment for you.

There are a number of at-home treatment options and devices available to help treat sleep apnea, so there’s no need to suffer from the symptoms anymore.

After consulting with your doctor, try one of these treatments or gadgets today and start getting the rest you deserve.

References and Sources:

American Sleep Apnea Association

Mayo Clinic 

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