Treatments

There is treatment for every sleep problem, the key is getting the right diagnosis from a sleep expert so you can live a more healthy and productive life. 


Treatments for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Weight Loss

The most common cause of OSA is obesity, so losing weight is important for those who are overweight regardless of OSA severity. For mild sleep apnea, weight loss alone may alleviate all symptoms. 

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (C-PAP)

Engineered to help you sleep comfortably, C-PAP treatment uses air pressure to stop common breathing issues during sleep including snoring, gasping and choking. C-PAP technology has evolved considerably over the last five years; the current generation of devices is much quieter, with a variety of mask options to ensure a comfortable fit.

It’s important to note that sleep apnea episodes will return when C-PAP is stopped or if it’s used improperly.

C-PAP treatment requires adjustment (or titration) of the amount of pressure needed to keep the airway open. Patients who have had an ARES™ study no longer need to have a C-PAP pressure setting determined in the laboratory. Multiple studies have shown that auto-adjusting C-PAPs, which automatically deliver the correct pressure, are as effective as in-laboratory determined pressure. Alternatively, the C-PAP pressure can be predicted using a formula and the pressure adjusted until the snoring subsides.

C-PAP units are obtained from Durable Medical Equipment providers with a prescription provided by your physician.

 

Learn More

 

Oral appliances

An oral device is fitted by a dentist and worn much like a retainer or sport mouthguard. They are designed to keep the mandible (jaw) and/or tongue in a forward position that allows the airway to remain open. Generally, oral devices work best for patients with mild to moderate OSA, patients who experience OSA mostly in the supine position (when sleeping on their backs), and for those who are not obese and do not have a large neck.

Sleep Position Restriction

Gravity promotes sleep apnea when a person sleeps on his or her back (supine). The ARES™ measures OSA by position, so if it is shows difficulty only or mostly on the back, then simply avoiding sleeping on the back may be successful. Patients who have OSA primarily while on their back are also more likely to be helped by an oral appliance.

Surgery

A variety of surgical techniques have been used to reconfigure the upper airway so that it remains open during sleep, but these procedures may not be helpful in every patient, and their long term effectiveness is unproven. The most common surgery to treat OSA, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), has a short-term success rate of about 50% in unselected cases. Removing the tonsils and/or adenoids may be effective in some patients.

Treatment Follow-up

For all treatment options other than C-PAP, it is recommended that a follow-up ARES™ study be performed approximately 1 to 3 months after initiation to ensure that the selected procedure was effective. After any significant weight loss or weight gain, your treatment may need to be reevaluated.

Optimizing Your Sleep

Sleep Adequacy and Regularity

  • Get enough sleep. Typical, healthy adults require an average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. It is important to note, however, that getting too much sleep can also be disruptive because it can make you less sleepy the following night.
  • Keep your bedtime and wake-up time stable across the week, including weekends. Have you ever “slept in” on the weekends and found that it was difficult to fall asleep the next night? Oversleeping can actually cause you to have difficulty falling asleep at night and daytime sleepiness the next day. 
  • Avoid napping, especially in the afternoon. A power nap (15 minutes) can be an effective tool for managing sleepiness, but anything longer or in the evening can disrupt your ability to fall asleep quickly.

A Healthy Bedroom Environment

  • Cool your bedroom. Generally speaking, temperatures over 75 degrees Fahrenheit can disrupt your sleep. Use an air conditioner in the hot summer months.
  • Make your bedroom dark. Melatonin, the key hormone that tells your brain to sleep, gets “turned off” when exposed to light. This is especially true when you expose your eyes to the direct bright white light that is emitted by computers, smart phones, and tablets. Try blackout shades or an eye mask.
  • Make your bedroom quiet. Even light noises disrupt sleep. Earplugs, a fan, or a white noise machine can help mask noisy environments.
  • Limit activities in the bedroom to those that are relevant to the bedroom. It is generally not recommended that you do work, eat, or exercise in your bedroom because your brain can “learn” that relationship which can make it difficult to sleep.

Eating and Drinking

  • Avoid consuming a heavy and/or spicy meal close to bedtime (within 2 to 3 hours of sleep). Digestion tends to slow down during sleep so your body can have an extra difficult time processing foods rich in fats, sugar, and spice. Instead, if you are hungry, try to have a light snack like almonds, cheese, or milk. These foods have chemicals in them that can actually help you sleep!
  • Limit nicotine and caffeine, especially within 4 hours of bedtime. Caffeine and nicotine are generally stimulating and thus not conducive for restful sleep. Foods that contain caffeine include coffee, chocolate, energy drinks, tea, and even some clear sodas.
  • Limit alcohol, especially within 4 to 6 hours of bedtime. Although alcohol can make you feel sleepy and actually make you fall asleep quicker, it can also disrupt your sleep as it is processed by the body. As such, we never recommend using alcohol as a sleep aid.

A Healthy Routine

  • Dedicate at least 30 to 45 minutes before bed to do something relaxing. This could include reading, taking a warm bath, meditating, etc. A relaxing routine can help train your brain to differentiate “sleep time” from “wake time” and ultimately can help you fall asleep faster and maintain deeper sleep.
  • Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy. If you lay down without being sleepy, your brain can “train” itself that being awake is normal when lying in bed. If you are finding it difficult to fall asleep (after 15 minutes), get up and go to another room and do not return to bed until you feel sleepy.
  • Exercise daily. Regular, vigorous exercise for approximately 30 minutes is a good ingredient for a good night’s sleep. However, please try to refrain from vigorous activity right before bedtime.
  • Expose your eyes to natural sunlight in the morning. Exposure to light in the morning (and avoiding it at night) is one of the essential elements to regularizing our circadian rhythm, the internal clock that our body runs on.

References
1. Edinger, Means, Carney, & Manber. Psychological and behavioral treatment for insomnia II: implementation and specific populations. In: Kryger, roth, & Dement’s Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine, 5th Edition. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders; 2011. (p. 884-904). 
2. Bootzin, RR. Cognitive-behavioral treatment of insomnia: knitting up the ravell’d sleeve of care. In: Kenny D et al.’s Stress and health: research and clinical applications. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Hardwood Academic Publishers; 2000. (p. 243-266). 
3. National Sleep Foundation. How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? accessible at: http://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

 

 

C-PAP Sleep Therapy

Helps eliminate snoring, gasping and choking during the night.

 

Learn More

Do you have questions?

We're here to help solve your sleep problems. Give us a call at 1 800 SleepMed 9a.m. – 9p.m. Monday – Friday.

Contact SleepMed