Treatment helps keep your airway open while you sleep so your breathing does not stop.
Lifestyle changes may help relieve symptoms in people with mild sleep apnea, such as:
- Avoid alcohol or medicines that make you sleepy before bedtime. They can make symptoms worse.
- Avoid sleeping on your back
- Lose excess weight
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices work best to treat obstructive sleep apnea in most people.
- You wear a mask over your nose while you sleep.
- The mask is connected by a hose to a small machine that sits at the side of your bed.
- The machine pumps air under pressure through the hose and mask and into your airway while you sleep. This helps keep your airway open.
It can take some time to get used to sleeping with CPAP therapy. Good follow-up and support from a sleep center can help you overcome any problems using CPAP.
Dental devices may help some people. You insert them into your mouth while you sleep to keep your jaw forward and the airway open.
Other treatments may be available, but there is little evidence that they work. It is best to talk with a doctor who specializes in sleep problems before trying them.
Surgery may be an option for some people. It is often a last resort if other treatments did not work and you have severe symptoms. Surgery may be used to:
- Remove extra tissue at the back of the throat.
- Correct problems with the structures in the face.
- Create an opening in the windpipe to bypass the blocked airway if there are physical problems.
- Remove the tonsils and adenoids.
Surgery may not completely cure obstructive sleep apnea and may have long-term side effects.