If you’re suffering from sleep apnea and looking for an alternative to the CPAP machine, you’re not alone. A lot of patients who have mild sleep apnea share this same sentiment. Below, we'll discuss four possible remedies to ease your symptoms without having to use a CPAP machine.
Oral sleep appliances are designed to keep your airway open while you sleep by gently moving your lower jaw forward. This helps reduce snoring and keep your airways open so you can breathe more easily when sleeping. These appliances are custom-made to fit your mouth and are relatively comfortable and easy to use.
However, this solution may not be effective for all types of OSA, so it's important to consult with an OSA specialist like Dr. Jen Kirwan, before trying this option.
Mandibular advancement therapy (MAT) is similar to oral sleep appliances in that it moves the lower jaw forward in order to keep the airways open during sleep. This treatment is usually done in combination with lifestyle changes such as losing weight or quitting smoking, as well as avoiding alcohol or sedatives before bedtime.
MAT has been found to be quite effective in treating mild cases of OSA and can provide relief from symptoms such as snoring or difficulty sleeping.
Positional sleep therapy is another option for those looking for alternatives to the CPAP machine. This therapy involves interventions that encourage you to sleep on your side instead of on your back. The idea behind positional sleep therapy is that gravity can help keep your airway open during sleep, reducing episodes of OSA. In addition, sleeping on your side aligns the tongue and throat muscles in a more optimal way for breathing during sleep.
How it works: Besides using specialized pillows and wedge supports, positional sleeping strategies also include wearing specially designed straps or belts around the waist or lower abdomen which prevent rolling onto one's back while sleeping.
Sinusitis, otherwise known as chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), has been known to contribute to sleep apnea and other breathing difficulties. If you’re suffering from sleep apnea due to sinus issues and looking for an alternative to the CPAP machine, balloon sinus dilation might be the solution for you.
Generally, this procedure involves inserting a small balloon into the nose to dilate the sinuses, which stretches and opens up blocked passages. While this procedure may not provide full relief from more severe cases of sleep apnea, it’s non-invasive and may help produce results enough to provide some symptom relief.