You may have heard the old wives’ tale that if your partner is snoring, you should roll them onto their side to get them to stop. Believe it or not, there may be some truth to this trick. Many people who snore also have sleep apnea, though one does not cause the other. Sleeping on your side may help you treat them both. Learn how to treat sleep apnea so you can get the rest you need.
Sleep apnea, or obstructive sleep apnea, is a condition where a person stops breathing for up to 10 seconds multiple times (sometimes as many as 30 times) each night while they sleep. This occurs when muscles in the upper airway become too relaxed, shrinking the opening for air to enter. Not only does this wake you up, but the lack of oxygen to the brain and the lack of sleep can affect your health in numerous negative ways.
It is never a good thing when you stop breathing, whether during the day or night. Sleep apnea can lead to concerns such as memory loss, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleepwalking. It also makes the blood oxygen levels in your body drop, which can lead to early death. Any time you have concerns about your breathing, you should speak with your doctor right away.
If you are concerned that you or someone in your household has sleep apnea, keep an eye out for the following signs:
One contributing factor to sleep apnea and snoring is obesity and a lack of regular exercise. If you have experienced symptoms and are also overweight, add at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise to your daily routine and stick to a healthy diet.
Other high-risk factors include smoking and drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol near bedtime may relax your body too much, particularly those muscles used for breathing. Muscle relaxers and sleeping pills can have the same effect. Smoking damages your throat, upper airway, tongue, and other vital components to breathing well. If you use any of these substances, get help and do whatever you can to quit immediately.
Your sleep position may also be a contributing factor, as well as the type of pillow you use. Learn more below about choosing the right pillow and training yourself to sleep in a more beneficial position.
In addition to increased exercise and reduced smoking and alcohol use, or if neither of these applies to you, you can try something called positional therapy. For many people, the upper airway is more likely to collapse when sleeping on their back. By training themselves to sleep on their side, they can effectively treat or reduce sleep apnea and associated symptoms.
Sleeping on your right side increases blood flow and reduces snoring, while sleeping on your left side helps alleviate acid reflux, which can also contribute to sleep apnea. You can even make devices to help you to sleep on your side, such as putting a tennis ball inside a sock and pinning it to the back of your pajamas.
If none of these remedies work for you, speak with your doctor about other treatments, such as CPAP machines. You may even need surgery to open up more room in the back of the throat. Fortunately, sleeping on your side has powerful results for many sleep apnea patients.
The Pillow Cube is just what it sounds like—a pillow in the shape of a cube. It is made from memory foam and designed to fit the exact square shape created by your shoulders and head when you lie down. If you’ve been looking for a solution for how to treat sleep apnea and sleeping on your side helps, give the Pillow Cube a try today!