4 Helpful Sleep Apnea Solutions for Resting Easy


 

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For most of us, sleeping is absolute bliss. We don’t think twice about hitting the pillow and catching a full eight hours. But for as many as an estimated 18 million Americans, sleeping can be dangerous. Those with sleep apnea, a serious but common sleep disorder, will often stop breathing during sleep, which hinders oxygen flow to the body and brain, making it rather risky to hit the hay, for some. Whether you know you’ve got it, or your partner has noticed irregular breathing patterns or gasping while you sleep, read on for some helpful sleep apnea solutions to keep you resting easy.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
The most common of sleep apnea solutions is the CPAP machine, which delivers a steady flow of oxygen into the airways via a mask worn over the nose and mouth. The CPAP keeps the patient breathing regularly and is usually the recommended treatment after a sleep study is done for sleep apnea testing. While a CPAP allows the sleeper to rest easy, studies show that about half of all people who own CPAP machines stop using them after about three weeks, and as many as 80% of patients with a CPAP don’t actually use it enough to sleep safely. For best results, research shows patients should use the CPAP at least 70% of the time and for at least four hours each night.

Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BPAP)
Like the CPAP, a BPAP machine changes the amount and rate of air flow each time you breathe in and out. It also must be used consistently and regularly for optimal safe sleeping, as a sufferer of sleep apnea may experience up to 60 apneas, or periods of suspended breathing, per hour during an average night’s sleep.

Nasal Pillow
A kind of mask for CPAP or BPAP designed for optimal comfort, nasal pillows consist of a small cushion surrounding the nostrils, attached to the head with thin straps referred to as headgear. Nasal pillows are the smallest type of sleep mask and are designed to make seeing, reading, wearing glasses, and sleeping more comfortable and less obtrusive. These minimal coverage masks are ideal for those feeling hesitant about strapping a hunk of plastic to their face at night, as they provide just as much oxygen flow and protection as a full CPAP or BPAP mask. People with an untreated case of sleep apnea face a risk of stroke four times as likely than those who do not suffer, so the nasal pillow is a no-excuse option for sufferers.

Minimally Invasive and At-Home Treatments
Some sleep apnea patients prefer a non-mechanized treatment strategy, and seek sleep apnea solutions such as simple surgeries to correct nasal problems like a deviated septum, or custom-designed dental devices that keep airways open during sleep. Even simpler, patients can improve their sleep by making small changes in life and sleep habits by quitting smoking, alcohol, and sleeping pills, losing weight, and changing sleeping positions at night to improve breathing.

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