Home Health Combating Sleep Apnea: The Power of Lifestyle Changes

Combating Sleep Apnea: The Power of Lifestyle Changes


Sleep apnea is a dangerous disorder that affects millions globally and interrupts regular breathing while asleep, affecting millions worldwide. Lack of sleep can be an issue when it becomes sleep apnea. Thankfully, positive lifestyle changes you can make may improve the symptoms or prevent them from occurring altogether. Read on to find out more about sleep apnea treatment, where lifestyle changes could change your life!

What is Sleep Apnea?

sleep apnea

Sleep apnea involves pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep. It affects your daily life as it causes extreme fatigue, memory problems, and difficulty concentrating. Obstructive, central, and complex are types of sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea symptoms must seek medical attention for accurate diagnosis and dental sleep apnea treatment plans.

Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the upper airway muscles relax, obstructing airflow. Central sleep apnea is when your brain does not send signals to what controls your breathing which causes shallow breaths or pauses. Complex sleep apnea is the combination of central and obstructive sleep apnea.

Untreated Sleep Apnea

Common sleep apnea symptoms include:

  • excessive snoring
  • waking up tired or unrefreshed
  • morning headaches
  • difficulty focusing
  • difficulty staying awake
  • dry mouth,
  • irregular breathing patterns at night,
  • choking or gasping during sleep
  • mood changes

Untreated sleep apnea increases the chance of having high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack. The condition may also cause an increase in type 2 diabetes, weight gain and even depression. It can also affect substantially mental and cognitive function. People with sleep apnea also experience difficulty focusing, memory problems, poor impulse control, lower motivation levels, increased anxiety and fatigue.

Is There a Cure for Sleep Apnea?

device for sleep apnea

Dental sleep doctors in Sydney, Australia, typically recommend three devices for sleep apnea: an oral appliance, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, or an upper airway stimulation device.

An oral appliance is similar to a mouthguard worn to prevent sports-related injuries. It works by adjusting your tongue and jaw to keep your airway open while sleeping. CPAP machine provides a steady stream of air pressure that keeps your throat open during the night. Upper airway stimulation devices use mild electrical pulses to stimulate the muscles in your throat and maintain an open airway.

Lifestyle changes are important in improving sleep quality and managing the condition. Healthier lifestyle habits reduce the number of breathing pauses during sleep, one of the hallmarks of sleep apnea. (1)

Lifestyle Changes That May Help with Sleep Apnea


Although sleep apnea requires treatment from doctors or orthodontists, lifestyle changes can be beneficial in managing the symptoms. 

1. Manage Your Weight

Consider reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Studies have shown that reducing weight can improve sleep apnea. It could include incorporating regular exercise routines and a balanced and nutritious diet.

2. Practice Sleep Hygiene

Good sleep habits are essential for achieving restful sleep and reducing sleep apnea. It includes establishing a consistent bedtime routine, creating a comfortable sleeping environment and implementing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or guided imagery. 

3. Avoid Alcohol and Smoking

Limiting alcohol consumption and avoiding tobacco products can be beneficial in managing sleep apnea. Alcohol worsens sleep apnea symptoms, as it causes the throat muscles to relax, which could lead to further obstruction of the airways. Smoking exacerbates the inflammation and narrowing of the upper respiratory tract.

4. Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can both affect your quality of sleep. It is helpful to find ways to relax and manage stress levels. It can be by engaging in relaxation exercises, yoga, or meditation and seeking the help of a professional counsellor if needed.

Importance of Lifestyle Changes in Managing Sleep Apnea

Lifestyle changes are an essential factor in the successful management of sleep apnea. Quitting smoking, controlling alcohol intake, and maintaining a healthy body weight reduce sleep apnea symptoms. 

With dedication and persistence, lifestyle changes can bring more restful sleep and a better quality of life for those with sleep apnea. Keep a sleep diary or talk with a therapist to better understand the connection between lifestyle changes and managing sleep apnea. Speak with a doctor or specialist about your sleep habits for the best treatment option for your condition.(2)


Understanding sleep apnea and what can be done helps manage its symptoms or prevent them from developing in the first place. To that end, lifestyle changes, including improving sleeping habits and opting for healthier diet choices, can greatly reduce the risk of sleep apnea or improve symptoms if it is already present. Recognizing sleep apnea early and beginning treatment as soon as possible may also be beneficial in avoiding further complications due to lack of sleep. 

Additionally, informing those who contact you daily, such as family and carers, about your condition can assist in early diagnosis and should not be overlooked when noticing the signs. Sleep apnea can be treated if diagnosed correctly, so having an understanding of the disorder is essential to being able to tackle it effectively.