Sleep apnea affects millions of people a year, many of whom often go about their lives without even knowing they’re affected. The fact that it’s a very common issue, however, doesn’t mean that it’s minor. Left untreated, sleep apnea can have many negative effects on your mental, physical, and emotional health.
If you’ve looked into sleep apnea and available treatments before, you may have heard about CPAP. But before pursuing this option, be sure to get answers to a few important questions, including:
- Is CPAP hard to sleep with?
- How does CPAP work?
- Is CPAP the only option for treatment?
Treating Sleep Apnea with CPAP
For a long time, the most common sleep apnea therapy involved Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP for short). CPAP uses a small machine that filters in air, pressurizes and humidifies it, then delivers it to your airways via an attached hose and mask. This helps to keep the tissue in the back of your throat from collapsing during slumber by providing a steady, pressurized flow of air. If the CPAP is effective, it should help to keep oxygen flowing through your airways, so you’re able to sleep through the night with fewer interruptions and begin snoring less (or stop altogether).
Is CPAP Hard to Sleep With?
It may be a popular therapy for sleep apnea, but a CPAP machine or mask can also feel bulky, uncomfortable, or distracting. If you’re used to sleeping face-down or on your side, the attachments and unfamiliar pressure on your face may keep you from getting the rest you need.
The mask, which fits over your nose and mouth, can also feel obstructive, especially with the attached hose. Even masks which cover the least amount of your face must still stay placed over your nose in order to work. If you’re tossing and turning all night, unable to get comfortable because of your CPAP machine and its accessories, you could still be robbed of a healthy night’s sleep.
Other Sleep Apnea Therapies
While it’s been considered an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea for several decades, CPAP is not the only effective therapy available. Increasingly, patients who want a less restrictive alternative to CPAP opt for an intraoral appliance that helps to reposition the jaw to keep the airways open and minimize snoring. This custom-fit dental device can help to alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea without the distraction, maintenance, and reduced space on your nightstand that a CPAP machine brings. For a simple and discreet solution that can help you sleep better, the intraoral choice is hard to beat.
At My Family Dentistry, Dr. Mullins and our team are ready to help you get a better night’s sleep and improve the quality of your life. If you think you might have sleep apnea, take our quiz to find out if you exhibit the key symptoms and schedule a home sleep test.