Sleep apnea can wreak havoc on both your personal life and professional life. The snoring and other noises you make at night can affect your partner and lead to fights during the day. As you do not get the healthy sleep you need, you may struggle with depression and other mental health disorders as well as physical symptoms. This condition often makes it hard for you to concentrate on simple things and focus on different tasks. While your doctor may recommend a CPAP machine, you can learn how to treat sleep apnea at home when you can’t afford one of these machines.
Use a Pillow
Changing the way you sleep can help with some of your symptoms. If you are a mouth breather, you inhale and exhale through your mouth rather than your nose. This often happens because your nose feels stuffed up before you head to bed. Instead of using a flat pillow, choose a thicker or plusher pillow.
Some also find it helpful to use a memory foam model. You want to lift your head off of the bed, which changes the alignment. Simply changing your pillow can help you cope with some sleep apnea symptoms.
Sleep with a Mouthguard
A mouthguard is a type of oral appliance designed to fit inside your mouth. It’s often helpful for those who grind their teeth because it keeps their teeth from rubbing together. Some also find that these guards help when they have sleep apnea. Talk to a dentist or orthodontist about getting a custom guard designed just for your mouth.
If you can’t afford a custom model, check pharmacies in your area. They often sell over-the-counter models that offer some relief. Make sure that you insert the guard into your mouth and that it fits comfortably every night.
Stop Rolling Over
Many people dealing with sleep apnea find that their symptoms lessen when they sleep on their sides instead of their backs. You usually cannot control what you do while you’re asleep though. Even if you fall asleep on your side, you can roll over on your back and not know it until you wake up.
Grab a tennis ball and attach it to the back of your pajamas. When you’re on your side, you won’t feel the ball. As you roll over in the middle of the night, the ball puts pressure on your body, which causes you to adjust your position.
Studies found that losing up to 10% of your total body weight can help with your symptoms. While weight loss isn’t a cure for the condition, it can help you sleep better and resolve some or all of your symptoms.
Try to exercise for 20 to 30 minutes at a time up to three days a week and reduce your daily calories. Working out before bed can also help. Exercise wears down your body and makes you feel tired, which can help you both fall asleep quicker and sleep through the night.
Cut Back on Bad Habits
If you have a tendency to make resolutions every year and then forget about them after a few weeks, resolve to cut back on your bad habits or stop them completely. Both smoking and drinking are two of the worst habits associated with sleep apnea.
People who drink have shallow breathing at night and often snore, which can worsen the condition. Smokers suffer from swelling in their airways, which can cause the airway to collapse or lead to sleep apnea. If you smoke, you may also have trouble breathing during the day which worsens when you get into an incline position.
Treating Sleep Apnea
CPAP machines are one of the more common options for patients to treat their sleep apnea. It helps them get the clean air they need at night. Not everyone can afford the high cost of a new machine. Even used machines are more expensive than you might think. You don’t need to rely on a machine to cope with your symptoms though. Some of the best ways to treat sleep apnea without a CPAP machine include losing weight, cutting back on bad habits, using a pillow when you go to bed, wearing a mouthguard, and keeping yourself from rolling onto your back.