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How do you fix sleep apnea?

June 3, 2024

Sleep apnea is a very common and serious sleep disorder that troubles millions of people worldwide, including many in South Carolina. But how do you fix sleep apnea? If you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea, you must be searching for solutions to improve your sleep and overall health. 

Let us look at several ways to manage and fix sleep apnea to make your life much easier But first, let us understand what sleep apnea is and what causes it.

What is Sleep Apnea?

It is a serious sleep disorder where a person's breathing stops and starts many times while sleeping. This interruption in breathing lasts from a few seconds to a minute and happens multiple times throughout the night. These pauses in breathing cause a person to wake up, disrupting their sleep cycle and preventing deep, restorative sleep.

What are the Types of Sleep Apnea?

There are 3 types of sleep apnea disorder:

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): This is the most common type and occurs when the muscles at the back of your throat relax excessively, causing a blockage in the airway. This results in interrupted breathing and often leads to loud snoring.
  2. Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): This type is not very common and happens only if the brain doesn't deliver signals to the muscles that control your breathing. It is caused by a communication issue between the brain and the muscles.
  3. Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome: It is popularly known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. It is a mix of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

How can you tell if someone has Sleep Apnea?

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Episodes of stopped breathing during sleep are often noticed by another person.
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Waking up with a dry mouth
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulty paying attention while awake
  • Irritability

What are the Causes and Risks associated with Sleep apnea?

To fix sleep apnea, you must understand what causes it in the first place. Several factors can contribute to the development of sleep apnea. They are:

  • Excess Weight: Obesity increases the chance of obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Neck Circumference: A thicker neck might mean a narrower airway.
  • Narrowed Airway: You might inherit a naturally narrow throat. Tonsils or adenoids also enlarge and block the airway, especially in children.
  • Being Male: Men are more likely to develop sleep apnea than women. However, women increase their risk if they are overweight or have gone through menopause.
  • Age: Sleep apnea is more common in elders.
  • Family History: Having family members with sleep apnea may increase your risk as well.
  • Use of Alcohol, Sedatives, or Tranquilizers: All of these relax the muscles present in the throat.
  • Smoking: Smokers suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Nasal Congestion: If you have difficulty in breathing through nose, there is a chance you may develop obstructive sleep apnea.

How to Fix Sleep Apnea?

The techniques to fix sleep apnea are given below:

Lifestyle Changes

Weight Loss

Excess body weight, especially around the neck, contributes to obstructed airways. Losing weight can reduce or even remove the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Effective strategies for weight loss include:

  • Diet: Have a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Avoid processed foods and excessive sugars.
  • Exercise: Do 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking.
  • Behavioral Changes: Consult a dietitian or a weight loss specialist to create a personalized plan.

Positional Therapy

Sleeping on your back causes the tongue and soft tissues to collapse to the back of your throat, blocking the airway. Positional therapy involves techniques to encourage side sleeping:

  • Special Pillows: Use pillows designed to keep you on your side.
  • Tennis Ball Technique: Place a tennis ball into the back of your pajama top to avoid rolling onto your back during sleep.

Avoiding Alcohol and Sedatives

Reducing or removing alcohol and sedatives can improve sleep apnea symptoms.

Establishing a Regular Sleep Schedule

When you sleep and wake up at the same time every day, it regulates the sleep cycle and gives you a good quality of sleep.

Medical Devices

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

CPAP is the most common and effective treatment for moderate to severe OSA. It includess wearing a mask on your nose and/or mouth that keeps your airway open.

Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP)

BiPAP devices provide varying levels of pressure during inhalation and exhalation and make it easier to breathe out against the pressure. This can be more comfortable for some patients than CPAP.

Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD)

MADs are dental appliances that reposition the jaw to keep the airway open. They are typically used for mild to moderate OSA.

Surgical Options

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)

UPPP requires removing excess tissue from the throat to widen the airway.

  • Benefits: It can be effective for severe cases of OSA.
  • Challenges: Invasive, with a recovery period and potential for side effects such as changes in voice or difficulty swallowing.

Genioglossus Advancement (GA)

GA involves repositioning the tongue muscle attachment to prevent the tongue from collapsing back and blocking the airway.

Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation

This needs to implant a device that stimulates the nerve, control tongue movement, and keep the airway open.

  • Benefits: Effective for patients who cannot tolerate CPAP.
  • Challenges: Surgical risks and potential complications from the implant.

Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA)

MMA surgery repositions the upper and lower jaw to enlarge the airway.

  • Benefits: Can provide significant improvement in airway size.
  • Challenges: Major surgery with a long recovery period.

Alternative Therapies to Fix Sleep Apnea

Positional Therapy

In addition to specialized pillows and the tennis ball technique, devices are available that vibrate to remind you to change positions when you roll onto your back.

Oral Myofunctional Therapy

This involves exercises to strengthen the muscles near the airway, reducing the severity of OSA.

  • Benefits: Non-invasive and can be done at home.
  • Challenges: Requires consistent effort and time to see results.

Nasal Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure (EPAP)

Small, disposable devices placed over the nostrils create resistance during exhalation and help to keep the airway open.

  • Benefits: Portable and easy to use.
  • Challenges: May cause discomfort or nasal irritation


So, how do you fix sleep apnea? Fixing sleep apnea involves a multifaceted approach that includes lifestyle changes, medical devices, and possibly surgical interventions. Every patient's journey to sleep is unique and requires a personalized plan developed with the guidance of a healthcare professional. By finding a way to fix sleep apnea, you can improve your health, and enjoy restful, restorative sleep every night.

At Quality Sleep Solutions, we are dedicated to helping you achieve better quality sleep and a healthier life. Located in South Carolina, we offer comprehensive solutions for managing and fixing sleep apnea. Book an appointment online to begin your journey to fix sleep apnea and get a better quality of sleep. For more information, call us at:

Your path to restful nights and energized days begins here.


Sleep apnea can be managed without surgery. Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and positional therapy, as well as medical devices like CPAP or oral appliances, are effective non-surgical treatments.

A CPAP machine is recommended for individuals with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea. A sleep study conducted by a sleep specialist can determine the severity of your condition and whether CPAP therapy is suitable for you.

For mild obstructive sleep apnea, you can try the following:

  • weight loss techniques
  • Side sleeping
  • Raising the head of the bed
  • Playing a wind instrument or singing
  • Making healthy lifestyle changes

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