Other Techniques For Apnea
What are some of the other things that you can do, apart from positional therapy, that can help with sleep apnea? There are some great ones, and they may even carry benefits beyond just helping you sleep better.
Somewhere around 70% of those with sleep apnea are either overweight or obese. In these cases, weight loss can be a great idea towards preventing sleep apnea. Less weight overall means less pressure on the diaphragm (from visceral fat).
It turns out that wind instruments like, yes, the didgeridoo have been shown to reduce occurrences of sleep apnea. While there has not been a large amount of research put into this, it is harmless nonetheless!
It relies on a concept called “circular breathing.” When you play an instrument like the didgeridoo, you are constantly blowing out (while taking in the new air with your nose). Effectively, you never stop breathing out.
Somehow, this trains the tongue to learn not to drop back while sleeping – and you get to learn the didgeridoo, which is a nice bonus.
Chronic sinus congestion is real, and nasal decongestants can play a role in making things better. Something like a nasal rinse can work very well.
Upper Airway Stimulation
This is very neat. They have made devices which, using small patches, create microcurrents to stimulate the nerve just below the tongue – so that it does not get in the way.
There are things like special night guards that you can use to deal with sleep apnea. They help keep your jaw forward so that your tongue avoids dropping in the way.
A very interesting study from Brazil looked into the effects of acupuncture on sleep apnea7. While it was a small study, as we learn more it might be a good option moving forward.
Primarily, I want to focus on two devices here:
These are what are known as positive airway pressure devices. They bring in air flow, throughout the night, to help facilitate that process a little better. For some, they can be a nuisance or difficult to use, but for others, they are absolutely life-changing.
Surgeries on the soft palette seem to help with snoring, but make little difference when it comes to sleep apnea.