Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening condition that many people endure without knowing they have it. When you have sleep apnea, you encounter symptoms like feeling tired enough during the day to nap and have multiple cups of caffeine, the inability to focus on even simple tasks, being moody, and waking up with headaches every morning. These are just some of the things that sleep apnea causes. Below are some of the more severe consequences of sleep apnea.

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Weight gain
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Memory problems
  • Dementia
  • Elevated Cancer Risk

The good news is that you can treat your sleep apnea and be free of all these damaging symptoms. With sleep apnea treatment, you can get your life back. Here are some things you can do to get the most out of your sleep apnea treatment.

Wear Your Oral Appliance or CPAP Every Night

man sits on the side of his bed, stretching while the sun comes in the windowDepending on the severity of your sleep apnea, you have likely been prescribed a CPAP or an oral appliance. Both of these sleep apnea treatments are incredibly effective. But only when you wear them and wear them consistently. If you are inconsistent with wearing either your CPAP or oral appliance, all the sleep apnea symptoms and dangers could return. Albeit to a lesser extent, but any risk of heart disease should be avoided, especially when it’s as easy and wearing your treatment when you sleep.

Some people have trouble complying with their CPAP machine, and we understand. It can be cumbersome to wear and travel with. Luckily, there are other options like different shaped masks and smaller travel machines. If you’re uncomfortable with your CPAP, explore these options to see if you can find something that works for you. Otherwise, many people with sleep apnea switch to an oral appliance. This is a sleek mouthguard-like appliance you wear when you sleep—just like your CPAP—but many people find it more comfortable due to the lack of noise from the machine, tubes, and mask over your nose or mouth.

Since the oral appliance is so small and comfortable, it can be easy to forget to wear it. Try putting your oral appliance next to your toothbrush. That way, you’ll remember to clean it and your teeth when you get out of bed and to put it back in when you go to sleep.

If you have sleep apnea and are getting it treated, you might find yourself still napping during the day. If this is the case, make sure you wear your CPAP or oral appliance when napping. These treatments are for whenever you sleep, not just at night. The last tip to be compliant with your sleep treatment is to keep them clean. In addition to the foul smell of a dirty sleep treatment, your CPAP or oral appliance could cause other health issues if they aren’t clean.

Exercise and Eat a Healthy Diet

Just because you are getting sleep apnea treatment, it doesn’t mean you can stop eating healthy and exercising. The soft tissues in your throat will continue to sag if you have excess weight. While your treatment will keep your airway open, it will have to work harder to do so. That could mean an uncomfortable higher setting on your CPAP or not being able to use an oral appliance because your sleep condition is too severe. Exercising and eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help you lose weight and maintain the loss.

Not everyone who has sleep apnea is overweight, and yet, exercise and a healthy diet can still help. Exercise can increase the muscle in your upper airway, reduce fluid retention in your lungs and neck, increase time in your third sleep stage (restorative stage), and you’ll have an easier time falling asleep.

Avoid Alcohol and Sleeping Pills

Alcohol before bed and sleeping pills should still be avoided when treating sleep apnea. Both of these drugs relax the muscles in the back of your throat, encouraging your airway to collapse. Just as with excess weight, your sleep treatment will still keep your airway open, but you may have to use a higher setting on your CPAP that could be uncomfortable or unable to use an oral appliance.

Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is another way to get the most out of your sleep apnea treatment. Smoking cigarettes weakens the muscles in the back of your throat, makes you more susceptible to illness, and causes increased mucus in your upper airway. All of which makes sleep apnea worse. Your entire body will thank you for quitting smoking.

Do You Have Sleep Apnea in Rochester Hills, MI?

Part of getting sleep apnea treatment is adhering to the recommendations. Follow these suggestions to get the most out of your sleep apnea treatment. But most of all, make sure you are wearing your sleep treatment whenever you sleep. Whether at night or during a nap, wear your CPAP or oral appliance!

If you have any questions or seek sleep apnea treatment, give Dr. Matthew Wolfe a call. Dr. Wolfe and the team at Signature Dentistry of Rochester can put you on the path to better sleep and a better quality of life. Call (248) 651-0897 or schedule an appointment online today.