Best Sleep Positions for Sleep Apnea: A Quick Guide

woman sleeping

Your comfort is a priority when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep. But did you know that the way you sleep might be affecting the quality of your sleep? For people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the position you sleep in might be related to how often apnea episodes happen throughout the night. Apnea episodes are periods (usually 10-20 seconds long) where you stop breathing. They can happen over 30 times an hour in patients with severe sleep apnea. During these episodes, the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, which can cause short- and long-term health problems.

The good news is that there are sleep positions that you can try to help alleviate the effects of sleep apnea. This blog post will shed light on what these positions are.

Best Sleep Positions for Sleep Apnea: A Quick Guide

1 – Sleeping on Your Right Side

Sleeping on your right side is the optimal sleep position for most people. This position is especially beneficial for people with sleep apnea because it allows the throat to remain open and keeps the tongue from collapsing.

2 – Sleeping on Your Left Side

Sleeping on your left side is another good sleep position for people with OSA. The left side is helpful for the same reason as sleeping on your right side: it keeps your airway open and keeps your tongue from collapsing.

3 – Sleeping in a Semi-Fetal Position

Sleeping in a semi-fetal position is a popular sleep position that is used by people with OSA because it keeps the throat open. It can sometimes cause neck pain, but it might be worth it if it means that you can get a good night’s sleep.

4 – Sleeping on Your Stomach

Sleeping on your stomach is not a recommended sleep position for people with OSA. The reason for this is that it can compress the throat and cause breathing difficulties.

5 – Sleeping on Your Back

Sleeping on your back is not recommended for people with OSA. It can compress the throat, leading to increased difficulty in breathing.

Why Visiting a Sleep Clinic Helps

One thing to consider when trying new sleep positions is how you’re sleeping. For example, if you snore or stop breathing a lot, you may need to see a sleep specialist for further treatment. This is especially true for people who snore or have sleep apnea symptoms. A sleep physician at a sleep clinic can prescribe the right treatment for you. This could include a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which is a machine that is used to treat OSA. This device is used to deliver pressurized air into the nasal passages. It keeps the airways open all night, which helps prevent breathing problems while asleep. Oral appliances are also a solution that can be applied. An oral appliance holds your jaw in a comfortable position, so that as your muscles relax during sleep, your airway remains open. 


If you snore or stop breathing frequently while asleep, you may need to change your sleep position. Not having the right equipment can affect your sleep quality and put you at a higher risk of developing serious health problems. So talk to your doctor about your apnea symptoms. And remember: sometimes, the right equipment is all it takes to get a full night’s rest.

Should you be looking for clinical sleep solutions, contact Lethbridge Snoring and Sleep Apnea Clinic. We’re passionate about helping our patients achieve better sleep health. We provide sleep testing to help understand and assess underlying sleep conditions.

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