Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sleeping on Your Side May Reduce Snoring and Sleep Apnea

If your doctor is not taking your snoring seriously, he may respond to a request for snoring treatment by telling you to sleep on your side. It turns out this is a reasonable solution for some snorers and obstructive sleep apnea sufferers. According to a recent study conducted by sleep researchers in Israel, just over half of the sleep apnea patients evaluated were positional. In other words, for 54% of sleep apnea sufferers, they were affected by obstructive sleep apnea only when sleeping on their back, not when sleeping on their side. The other 46%, however, continued to suffer the same degree of sleep apnea no matter what position they slept in.

The main difference between the two groups of sleep apnea sufferers? Weight. According to the study, the non-positional sleep apnea sufferers tended to be significantly heavier and have a higher BMI than the positional sleep apnea sufferers. These people likely suffered airway collapse partly due to the weight of tissue pressing on their airway at night, pressure that continues no matter the orientation of the body during sleep.

It is unknown whether the population distribution in this relatively small population reflects the overall population, but for people suffering from mild or moderate sleep apnea, changing sleep position is one of a number of lifestyle changes that can be used to supplement oral appliance therapy in order to get you the maximum correction of your obstructive sleep apnea.

To learn more about the full range of sleep apnea treatment options, please contact a sleep dentist today.

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posted by Dr. Candelaria at 1:01 PM