Managing Sleep Apnea: Lifestyle Changes to Consider

man sleeping

Sleep apnea triggers one’s breathing to stop and start repeatedly during sleep, and it affects millions of people around the world. Numerous health issues, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke, may result from this. 

Even though sleep apnea has medical treatments, managing the condition through lifestyle changes can also be successful. 

This article will explore some lifestyle changes that can help manage sleep apnea.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Keeping a healthy weight is one of the best lifestyle improvements for controlling sleep apnea. Obesity and being overweight have been found to significantly increase the chance of developing sleep apnea. 

Fat can build up in the throat and neck as a result of being overweight, which can constrict the airway and make breathing more challenging.

Losing weight can help reduce the severity of sleep apnea and improve symptoms. Even a modest weight loss of 10 percent can make a significant difference. For weight loss and general health, a balanced diet and routine exercise are needed.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise is another important lifestyle change for managing sleep apnea. Regular exercise can enhance lung health, lessen airway inflammation, and improve the quality of your sleep. 

Exercise can also help reduce stress and anxiety, which are common triggers for sleep apnea.

It is advised to exercise at a moderate level for at least 30 minutes per day, five days a week. This can include exercises like cycling, swimming, walking, or aerobics classes. 

Before beginning a new exercise program, it’s crucial to consult a doctor, especially if you have any existing medical conditions.

Avoid Alcohol and Sedatives

Sedatives and alcohol can relax the muscles in the throat, which makes it harder to breathe when you’re sleeping. These substances can also interfere with the brain’s ability to control breathing. 

Alcohol and sedatives must be avoided if you have sleep apnea, especially right before bed.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is a significant risk factor for sleep apnea, as it can damage the airways and increase inflammation in the lungs. Smoking can also cause congestion and worsen symptoms of sleep apnea. 

The chance of developing sleep apnea is reduced and lung function is enhanced when a smoker stops.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

This entails setting a pleasant sleeping environment, adhering to a regular sleep schedule, and refraining from activities that could disrupt sleep, such as using electronics right before bed.

It is also important to sleep on your side, as sleeping on your back can make sleep apnea symptoms worse. Using a wedge pillow or elevating the head of the bed can help keep the airways open and reduce snoring.

Consider a CPAP Machine or Oral Appliance Therapy

If controlling sleep apnea with lifestyle changes alone is ineffective, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine may be recommended. 

An air pressure stream is continuously delivered by a CPAP machine through a mask that is placed over the nose or mouth. This helps reduce breathing pauses while you sleep and keeps the airways open. However, it can take some time to adjust to using it. 

On the other hand, dental appliances or oral mandibular advancement devices can be produced for patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. They stop the tongue from obstructing the throat and move the lower jaw forward.

These devices help keep an open airway while you sleep. If this course of therapy is right for you, a sleep specialist and a dentist with knowledge of mouth equipment should decide together.

A healthcare professional must do an evaluation and customize the appliance. After creating the device, the dentist will contact you to schedule a fitting. You will also receive instructions on how to operate and maintain the appliance from them. It is advised that you undergo another sleep test after receiving care to see how well the appliance is performing for you.


Managing sleep apnea can be challenging, but lifestyle changes can be effective in reducing symptoms and improving overall health. 

It’s crucial to collaborate closely with a healthcare professional to create a thorough treatment plan that takes into account each patient’s needs and goals.

Experience better sleep health with Lethbridge Snoring & Sleep Apnea Clinic! Our clinic specializes in providing sleep testing services to assess and understand underlying sleep conditions. 

Our team is passionate about helping patients achieve optimal sleep health and can provide personalized treatment plans to address sleep apnea and other sleep-related issues. Contact our sleep apnea clinic today to learn more!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *