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What’s the Ideal Treatment for Sleep Apnea?

lavender oil

Story at-a-glance -

  • Although sleep apnea may seem like a condition that's difficult or impossible to treat, any of these potential solutions, if done properly, can address the condition and bring peaceful and uninterrupted sleep in no time
  • Here are possible sleep apnea solutions — natural remedies and specially designed items — that may be ideal for patients

Sleep apnea treatment will rely on these factors, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center:1

  • Cause of blockage to the airway
  • Severity of sleep apnea
  • Conditions or medical problems the patient has

Here are possible sleep apnea solutions — natural remedies and specially designed items — that may be ideal for patients.

What Is Oral Myofunctional Therapy?

Sleep apnea patients can rely on a form of facial muscle therapy called oral myofunctional therapy to assist with reshaping the oral cavity and promoting proper tongue placement, and teach them how to breathe through the nose, with the tongue resting against the roof of the mouth. Oral myofunctional therapy won't just target the oral cavity and tongue, but address all facial muscles, the head and the neck as well. Patients can exercise facial muscles and work on functional posturing and chewing.

The website of The Academy of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (AOMT) features a list of qualified practitioners worldwide for those who are interested in trying out this technique. It also features training schedules for professionals who are seeking education in this field of expertise.

Natural Remedies for Sleep Apnea

Natural sleep apnea treatment options must be the first course of action to address this disorder. For starters, there are different essential oils that may benefit patients:2

Marjoram: This contains sedative properties that help induce sleep. Marjoram oil is often used to calm the nerves, relax the muscles and alleviate respiratory complaints.

Lavender: With its therapeutic properties, lavender oil can assist people suffering from nervous disorders and sleep problems and help them relax.

Peppermint: This oil can be beneficial for sleep apnea caused by nasal congestion, since it helps relieve inflammation and irritation in the lining of the nasal passage.

Eucalyptus: This can be another remedy for sleep apnea caused by nasal congestion, given its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to clear up mucus from the nose and the throat. Eucalyptus oil clears out the airways for easier breathing.

Before using, dilute the oil in a carrier oil like jojoba, coconut, olive or almond.

Roman chamomile: It’s known to assist with relaxation and promote sound sleep.

Thyme: Those who are suffering from sleep apnea and constant snoring are recommended to try thyme oil. It is extensively used to address respiratory conditions and help with freeing up blocked airways that can trigger sleep apnea.

Just like eucalyptus oil, thyme oil must be diluted first with a carrier oil before topical application.

Geranium: It may be used to promote calmness and a good night’s sleep. Dilute with a carrier oil before using.

Valerian: This can be used to help relax the mind and the body, and aid in promoting healthy sleep.

Prior to essential oil use, talk to your doctor and take an allergen patch test to see if allergic reactions will occur after application.

An Epsom salt bath before bedtime may help relax muscles and induce a feeling of well-being that may promote comfortable sleep. Add Epsom salts to a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes. You can also try eating these foods that can help promote better sleep health and eventually address sleep apnea:3

  • Raw honey: It contains anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce swelling around the throat, and can be used to address snoring because it acts as a lubricant for the throat.
  • Garlic: This vegetable is said to be a potential sleep apnea cure because it delivers anti-inflammatory capabilities. It can also alleviate large tonsils and open up the airways for easier breathing. You can try eating two to three garlic cloves daily followed by a glass of high-quality filtered water, or add more garlic to your daily meals.
  • Deskinned raw almonds: Raw almonds contain high amounts of magnesium that can assist with muscle relaxation and sleep. However, make sure to only eat deskinned almonds, because almond peels contain lectins, which are plant proteins that can be precursors to various health problems.
  • Warm turmeric milk: Milk is able to promote sound sleep, while turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties. This combination can work to lessen inflammation in the respiratory system for easier breathing during sleep. Try boiling a teaspoon of turmeric powder in a cup of raw, grass fed milk. Allow to cool and drink it around three or more hours before bed.
  • Cinnamon: This spice is said to have sedative properties and may assist with breathing problems. Add cinnamon powder to a glass of water and drink daily.
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Mouth Guards or Mouthpieces for Sleep Apnea

If sleep apnea is related to tongue or jaw position, a custom oral appliance designed by a specially trained dentist can help. Oral appliances like mouth guards and mouthpieces are usually recommended for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea, or severe sleep apnea patients who can’t tolerate a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. These are intended for individuals 18 years old and above, and can be worn during sleeping.4

Mouthpieces or mouth guards for sleep apnea patients include mandibular repositioning devices that shift the jaw forward. Other mouthpieces or mouth guards help hold the tongue forward without moving the jaw. These devices aim to increase the airway and aid in reducing and/or eliminating snoring and sleep apnea. They’re often adjustable in small increments to help provide comfort and increase the airway passage.

Sleep apnea patients using any of these dental appliances for apnea must follow up with a dentist and a doctor. However, if individuals have untreated dental issues such as periodontal disease, broken teeth or broken restorations, using dental appliances isn’t advised. Plus, patients with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) must consult a physician before using mouthpieces or mouth guards.

Can Pillows Help With Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea patients can address the condition by utilizing the right kind of pillow. Patients are advised to sleep on their side and not on their back. However, some find it difficult to do this because they aren’t used to sleeping on their side. This is where special pillows can come in, as these can help maintain constant sleep position. A special pillow may be used by mild sleep apnea patients to help stretch the neck, resulting in reduced snoring and improved sleep.5

Nowadays, manufacturers make nasal pillows and wedge pillows that can assist patients and improve comfort. The thing is, the former isn’t advisable because it’s used alongside CPAP treatment, and this treatment doesn’t do much to target the root cause of sleep apnea. Instead, try wedge pillows to help reduce narrowing of the throat and maintain correct sleeping positions during the night. Keeping a lateral sleep position has been suggested to decrease episodes of sleep apnea and reduce symptoms of this disease.6

Although sleep apnea may seem like a condition that's difficult or impossible to treat, any of these potential solutions, if done properly, can address the condition and bring peaceful and uninterrupted sleep in no time.


Sleep Apnea: An Introduction

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep Apnea Causes

Types of Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep Apnea Testing

Sleep Apnea Surgery

Sleep Apnea Prevention

Sleep Apnea FAQ

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