One in five U.S. adults has at least mild sleep apnea. And although this disorder is common, too many people don’t know much about it. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to relieve symptoms, improve the condition, and treat the disorder.
At Overmeyer Family Dental, Dr. Thomas Overmeyer can get you all the information you need to find relief from your symptoms and protect yourself from further health complications.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a relatively common sleep disorder characterized by patterns of interrupted breathing. While there are two types of sleep apnea, at Overmeyer Family Dental we regularly treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the more common of the two.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes blocked, typically when the soft tissue at the back of the throat relaxes during sleep.
The interruptions, called apneas, interfere with the rest of your body’s ability to get enough oxygen, including your lungs, heart, and brain.
Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea
There are several symptoms associated with sleep apnea. If you notice any of the following symptoms on a regular basis, especially if they are affecting your everyday life, call Dr. Overmeyer as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
The most common sleep apnea symptoms include:
- Waking up with a sore or a dry throat
- Loud snoring
- Being woken by a choking or gasping feeling
- A lack of energy throughout the day
- Drowsiness while driving
- Headaches in the morning
- Restless sleep
- Mood changes and forgetfulness
Sleep Apnea Home Remedies
There are some natural remedies for sleep apnea that you can start right now to improve your symptoms and potentially see a big improvement in your sleep disorder.
- Lose Weight and Maintain A Healthy Weight
Being overweight is one of the risk factors for sleep apnea. Weight gain can be detrimental to sleep because the excess weight on your neck affects your throat muscles, making it more difficult for you to breathe.
The more extra weight you carry, the more at risk you are for sleep disturbances. To potentially find relief from symptoms, try to make healthier lifestyle choices to slim down and maintain a healthy weight.
- Don’t Smoke, Drink in Excess, or Use Sedatives
Even though alcohol can make you feel tired, it actually affects your quality of sleep. Alcohol can also cause the muscles in your throat to relax.
Smoking and alcohol can both cause inflammation and fluid retention which can disturb your sleep. Over-the-counter sedatives and sleep aids can have some of the same effects.
- Treat Congestion and Acid Reflux
Nasal congestion can make it difficult to breathe through your nose and can worsen symptoms of sleep apnea. Congestion can also contribute to the development of obstructive sleep apnea.
Acid reflux can potentially cause irritation and swelling around some of your throat muscles. Coughs can also irritate your airway and make snoring worse.
Try adjusting your diet, avoid irritating allergens, and elevate your head while you sleep to find relief from symptoms.
- Try A Humidifier
Sleeping with a humidifier in your bedroom can help decrease snoring, lessen congestion, and clear your breathing. A humidifier may also encourage your sinuses to drain and allow more air to move through your airways.
- Adjust Your Sleeping Position
Try sleeping head elevated to alleviate snoring. Instead of sleeping on your back, which can make snoring worse, try sleeping on your side with a pillow to slightly elevate your head.
- Try Sleeping With An Oral Appliance
At Overmeyer Family Dental, we offer oral appliance therapy (OAT) as a more natural treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. These devices are much easier and more comfortable to use than a CPAP machine.
These appliances work by gently pulling your lower jaw forward or keeping your tongue in place to keep your airway open while you sleep. To our patients with sleep apnea, we offer the ZYPPAH appliance, which uses both techniques at the same time to provide comfortable relief from sleep apnea symptoms.
Get The Right Diagnosis Today
To get the right diagnosis and find out for sure if you have sleep apnea, call Overmeyer Family Dental today to schedule a consultation. Call (407) 603-3839 or request an appointment online using our contact form.