If you've experienced the troubling symptoms of sleep apnea — including waking up suddenly and being short of breath — your first stop should be your family doctor. He or she, or a specialist, can then officially diagnose you as having sleep apnea and discuss treatment options with you. Some people opt to be hooked up to a breathing apparatus, but others find that this device can make sleep challenging. If you're interested in another solution, ask to be referred to a dentist who specializes in sleep apnea. There, you'll get fitted for a mouthpiece that can help you manage this symptom by keeping your airway open, eliminating your snoring, and helping you sleep soundly. While you're waiting for this accessory to be built, there are several other changes you can make that can help keep your symptoms at bay.
Try Side Sleeping
Sleeping on your back can be problematic if you have sleep apnea, as you're more predisposed to apnea symtoms in this position. Additionally, some people find that their relaxed tongue slides backward to partially block their airway, which can reduce the intake of oxygen. You can avoid this issue by trying to sleep on your side. Side sleeping is best if you support your body with pillows, as they can help to keep you in this position and prevent you from rolling onto your back.
Eat Lightly Before Bedtime
While losing weight is valuable for contending with sleep apnea, you should also think about your evening diet on a day-by-day basis. If you're the type of person who snores heavily after a heavy or late meal, it's time to change your habits. Make lunchtime your heaviest meal of the day and enjoy something lighter for dinner — for example, a chicken breast or a fish filet and some fresh vegetables. Aim to eat early in the evening instead of soon before bedtime, too.
Handle Your Allergies
If you believe that you have allergies, they could be contributing to your nighttime breathing difficulties. Get tested so that you know for sure, and then take steps to reduce your allergy symptoms. This can include staying away from certain food products, such as those that contain dairy, as well as taking allergy medication to clear up your sinuses. Smoking, especially if you have allergies, is also something that is best avoided, given the breathing difficulties that this habit can lead to. When you make these changes and receive your mouthpiece from the dentist, you'll likely experience better nights in short order.