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The Best Sleeping Position For Sleep Apnea

If you're one of 22 million Americans suffering from sleep apnea, here's what you need to know about your sleep problem.

According to sleepdr.com, sleep apnea is the recurring interruption of breathing during sleep, which can lead to reduced sleep quality, short-term memory loss, and irritability.

1 out 5 veterans

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Episodes of cessation of breathing during sleep — noticed and reported by another person
  • Gasping for air while sleeping
  • Loud snoring
  • Waking up with a dry mouth
  • Morning headaches
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulty paying attention while awake
  • Irritability

Because you keep waking up momentarily, your sleep is fragmented which leads to reduced sleep quality, affecting all aspects of your waking hour. It can affect your concentration, mood, and performance. Even though you spend an appropriate time lying in bed, you still aren't getting quality sleep.

3 types of sleep apnea:

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea - caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the tongue collapses against the soft palate and the soft palate collapses against the back of the throat during sleep, and the airway is closed.

  2. Central sleep apnea - airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe.

  3. Complex sleep apnea - a combination of the two conditions. With each apnea event, the brain rouses the sleeper, usually only partially, to signal breathing to resume.

If left untreated, sleep apnea can have serious consequences: high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, accidents caused by falling asleep at the wheel, diabetes, depression, and other ailments. Also, sleep apnea reduces the oxygenation of the blood, causing more stress to the individual's system.

Sleep apnea and sleeping positions

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure therapy. You wear a mask over your mouth and nose while you sleep. The mask is attached to a device that pumps air into the throat via a hose— inflating the throat and preventing it from collapsing.

But did you know that your sleeping position can contribute to reducing snoring and improve symptoms of sleep apnea?

Lying on your back is the worst position if you suffer from sleep apnea. Because of gravity.

Your tongue falls back and blocks the airway.
The best sleeping positions to improve sleep apnea are:

  1. On your left side.
  2. On your right side.
  3. On your belly.
  4. On your back with your head elevated.

You'll notice that side-sleeping is the best option for sleep apnea. According to a study, lateral positioning significantly improves passive airway anatomy.

RS8 Wedge Pillow

Experts recommend keeping your head and neck elevated to keep the airway open while you sleep. A wedge pillow that is sturdy yet comfortable is the perfect sleep positioning aid for sleep apnea.

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