An alternative treatment for sleep apnea could be the solution you have been searching for. Alternatives are especially crucial if you haven’t shown a lot of success by using a CPAP machine. Many times, sleep specialists will suggest alternative treatments based on your comfort and physiology.
Not only are there professional alternatives, but there are also at-home methods you can try to use alongside conventional therapies. Some of the options on this list are more invasive than others but could be a viable solution.
Alternative Treatment for Sleep Apnea: The Options
1. Oral and Dental Appliances
One of the most common solutions for people suffering from sleep apnea is to receive custom oral and dental appliances. Little do most people know that dentists are a fantastic resource for dealing with sleep apnea. More often than not, patients opt for these appliances in comparison to CPAP machines due to comfort while sleeping.
How Does it Work?
When you opt for oral treatment, you will receive a custom device that prevents your airway from collapsing while you are asleep. The appliances do this by holding either your jaw or tongue forward, so your airway is not obstructed. Once you have the dental device fitted, you can then work with a sleep technologist to adjust it accordingly.
- Non-Irritating: Compared to other treatment methods, these oral appliances are far more comfortable to wear at night. You’ll be able to sleep in any position you desire and not feel encumbered by a face mask. Also, you’ll be able to avoid the likelihood of soreness, ingrown hairs, or skin chafing from a CPAP mask.
- Convenient: In addition to being more comfortable, dental appliances are more suited to wear if you’re someone who twists and turns frequently. You won’t have to worry about your air hoses tangling as you move.
- Low Maintenance: Compared to a CPAP machine, your oral or dental appliance requires far less maintenance, aside from getting it fitted at the beginning. You won’t have to spend more money on filters or replacement parts. The most maintenance you’ll be responsible for is rinsing the mouthpiece.
- TMJ Pain: According to CPAP.com, 38% of people using oral appliances abandoned them because of pain in their temporomandibular joint (TMJ). As the device inserts into your mouth, it directly affects your jaw.
- Consistent Drooling: Most dental appliances will require you to breathe through your mouth, which will surely increase your rate of drooling while asleep. Also, you may succumb to sore throats and a dry mouth which creates bad breath.
- Reduced Effectiveness: It’s essential to remember that dental appliances are purely an alternative to CPAP machines, and they might not be as effective as a CPAP. Again, this depends on your physiology and your recommendations from doctors.
Easily the most invasive treatment method for sleep apnea is surgery, and depending on where you live, it could also be the most expensive option. However, it eliminates your need for other devices such as CPAP machines and oral appliances. You will mostly be able to breathe normally and comfortably after the procedure.
How Does it Work?
The most common surgeries for sleep apnea are those that aim to reduce the amount of soft tissue in your throat. Surgery helps to prevent it from collapsing once you fall asleep and eliminates blockages in your airway. There are minimally invasive options, though some doctors suggest the more invasive procedures have the highest success rates.
When you opt for surgery, a surgeon will focus on your tonsils and adenoids, soft palate and uvula, your tongue, and your upper and lower jaw.
- Long-Term Solution: Overall, surgery is by far the best solution for sleep apnea if you want a long-term resolution to rely on. You will be removing the problem so that you can begin to sleep better naturally.
- Efficient: Although there is recovery time, many have found that surgery for sleep apnea is highly useful. That once it’s finished, you can begin to sleep as usual. There’s no need to worry about an out-of-date CPAP machine or having to get fitted for oral devices.
- Surgical Complications: As with any surgical procedure, there is a likelihood of complications, and your surgeon will discuss these with you in more detail. Some patients have complained of throat swelling, being on a limited diet, overnight hospital stays, and more.
- Limited Effectiveness: According to Advanced Sleep Medicine Services, Inc., the most common type of sleep apnea surgery has a 50% success rate. When compared to CPAP machines, which have a near 100% success rate, it might not be the most attractive option.
3. At-Home Sleep Apnea Exercises
By strengthening the tissues in your throat, you can assist your body in reducing your sleep apnea. At-home exercise regimes such as the Stop Snoring and Sleep Apnea Program are invaluable resources to have for all-natural do-it-yourself treatments.
What Does It Do?
The central premise of this alternative treatment for sleep apnea is to allow you to effortlessly loosen and open the parts of your respiratory system that encourage snoring and sleep apnea. Designed to work for individuals of various ages and with varying severities of sleep apnea, it could be a valuable treatment to have at your disposal.
- All-Natural: One of the main downfalls of many sleep apnea treatments is that they are highly invasive. Many therapies are also medically driven while this treatment is all-natural and easy to do at home. You can also do it on your own time, which makes it even more convenient.
- Easy to Do: There are minimal exercises you’ll have to do for up to seven minutes a night. Considering the Stop Snoring and Sleep Apnea Program is so simple, it will take up a minimal amount of your day.
- Tailored Exercises: Another interesting aspect of this regime is that the exercises are tailored to the specific type of snoring you have. A few examples of snoring types include throat, nasal passage, jaw, tongue, and soft palate. Each user will receive four exercises that take between one and two minutes to do; also, they are entirely silent techniques.
4. Weight Management Programs
There is plenty of evidence suggesting sleep apnea and obesity correlate in that patients with sleep apnea are more likely to be obese. Also, obese people are more likely to have sleep apnea. With weight management programs, you can help to reduce your likelihood of irregular sleep patterns.
How Does it Work?
When your body has an excessive amount of fat, especially in the neck area, it puts more pressure on your tracheal tubes, which are responsible for managing airflow. The more weight there is, the more likely your trachea is to collapse, causing sleep apnea. When you lose weight, you’ll be lowering the likelihood of throat obstructions.
The best thing is that there are plenty of weight management programs for you to choose from, whether you go on a healthy diet or begin working out more. It’s always best to discuss your options with your doctor, as they can refer you to a nutritionist. All-in-all, a weight management program helps your health in numerous ways.
- Better Health: Not only will this treatment target your sleep apnea but your overall health as well. You’ll be lowering your chances of heart disease, diabetes, and joint pain. You will also be improving your energy levels so you can have a more peaceful rest at night.
- Non-Invasive Solution: Compared to the other alternatives on this list, losing weight is by far the least invasive, and you can easily do it at home. You also have full control over how you lose your weight, and with the right information, you might not even need a doctor.
- Time-Consuming: Not everyone has the time to embark on a weight loss journey, and although it is highly recommended, it might not be realistic in the short-term. If you find that you need a solution as quickly as possible, there are other faster options available to you. Losing weight can take months, if not years, depending on your BMI.
- Questionable Effectiveness: It’s also important to know that not everyone suffers from sleep apnea for the same reasons. It could be that you have an excessive amount of soft tissue in your throat that causes sleep apnea, whether you are obese or not. Although this is a great alternative option to try, once you lose your weight, you may still have a sleep disorder.
It’s easy to see how at-home methods such as the Stop Snoring and Sleep Apnea Program are the most popular therapies for sleep apnea and snoring. In order to find the perfect exercises for your sleep disorder, we highly recommend visiting the program’s website. You’ll be able to learn more about how four tailored seven- to eight-minute exercises can help you to get rid of snoring and remedy your sleep apnea.