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The Best Sleeping Positions for Sleep Apnea Sufferers

November 12, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — drmogell @ 9:39 pm
Side-sleeping couple

Most people have a favorite sleeping position. Maybe you like to curl up on your side, or perhaps you like to relax on your back and spread out your limbs. You may even be most comfortable when you are lying on your stomach. While the way you arrange your body while you’re asleep might not seem like a big deal, it can actually have a big impact on your health! In particular, it can affect how well you breathe at night. Let’s discuss how your sleeping position may have a bearing on the severity of your sleep apnea in Jupiter.

Side Sleeping

Side sleeping, with your back mostly straight, is the best position for sleep apnea sufferers. It minimizes the chances of airway obstructions and can thereby reduce the number of apneas that you experience each night. Side sleeping even comes with additional benefits. For example, it has been shown to decrease insomnia and relieve gastroesophageal reflux. It also helps to keep the spine in its proper alignment.

Which side should you sleep on? Research has found that sleeping on the left side reduces sleep apnea even more than sleeping on the right. Left-side sleeping is particularly good for pregnant women since it improves circulation to the growing baby.

Stomach Sleeping

Stomach sleeping is okay for sleep apnea sufferers because it puts gravity on your side. It pulls the tissues in your mouth and throat forward, thus reducing the chances that they will cause airway obstruction. Just be sure that you’re careful not to let your pillow partially block your nose or mouth, which can make it difficult for you to breathe properly. Also, keep in mind that having the right pillow is important; when stiff pillows are used for side sleeping, they can lead to neck and back pain.

Back Sleeping

Back sleeping may be good for spinal alignment, and it can prevent you from waking up with pillowcase lines in your face. However, it is the worst sleeping position for individuals with sleep apnea. It allows gravity to pull the soft tissues in the throat downward, which increases the chances that they will collapse during sleep and lead to airway blockages. It can also make snoring much worse. To get out of the habit of sleeping on your back, you might try investing in a new pillow that provides adequate support for side sleeping. You may also find it helpful to tape an object to your back (such as a tennis ball) that will train you to sleep on your side.

Your sleeping position can have a big bearing on your sleep apnea! A few simple adjustments, along with sleep apnea therapy from a qualified professional, might be just what you need to breathe easier at night.

About the Author

Dr. Kenneth Mogell is a dental sleep medicine expert who focuses on providing oral sleep appliance therapy for sleep apnea sufferers. If you would like to speak to him about finding relief from your sleep apnea, contact our Jupiter office at 561-531-0590. 

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