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  • Reviewed on 12/12
    By Dr. Harrington

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Lifestyle Management


Certain measures may help people with OSA.


Weight

People who are overweight are more likely to develop OSA. Therefore, maintaining an ideal weight is important in managing their disorder. Before starting a diet or exercise program, talk with your doctor about your plan to make sure it is safe. Losing weight can reduce symptoms of OSA.


Sleeping Position

Some people breathe better and snore less loudly when sleeping on their sides or stomach. There are simple techniques to keep you from sleeping on your back, including sewing a tennis ball to the back of your pajama top, wearing a soft backpack at night, or placing a pillow under a shoulder.


Products to Avoid

Alcohol, smoking, and certain medicines that make you sleepy can all make OSA worse. Sedatives may also make the pauses in breathing longer. Smoke irritates the tissue in your nose and throat, which can make the airway more likely to collapse during sleep.


Over-the-counter Products

There is little scientific evidence that various nasal sprays and nasal strips that are sold to limit snoring have any significant effect on obstructive sleep apnea when used by themselves. Talk to your doctor if you plan to use these products.

 

Sleeping Habits

Adopting good sleeping habits may improve the quality of your sleep, whether or not you have sleep apnea. Learn more.

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