6 lifestyle tips that improve sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes breathing to stop for short periods during sleep. People with sleep apnea do not take in enough oxygen. They then gasp and wake up often. In many cases, people are unaware that they have stopped breathing and think their sleep cycle is normal. Sleep apnea can sound like snoring. Sleep apnea can lead to a number of health complications, in addition to leaving you feeling more tired in the morning.

If left untreated, sleep apnea can:

– trigger mental health issues
– lead to poor immune function
– contribute to memory loss
– increase the risk of heart failure
Common treatments include breathing machines, medications, and surgery. However, certain lifestyle changes can also improve your quality of life and sleep.

Sleep Apnea Solutions

Traditional treatments for sleep apnea include wearing a CPAP mask at night. Although effective, some people find this method uncomfortable. Some home remedies may provide the same benefits. Here are six alternative treatments to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea.

1. Maintain a healthy weight

Doctors generally recommend that people with sleep apnea lose weight. Obesity, especially in the upper body, can increase the risk of airway obstruction and narrowing of the nasal passages. These obstructions can lead to sudden or prolonged cessation of breathing during sleep. Maintaining a healthy weight helps keep the airways clear and reduces the symptoms of sleep apnea. Modest weight reduction in obese individuals may eliminate the need for upper airway surgery or long-term CPAP therapy. In some cases, weight loss can eliminate sleep apnea. However, if you regain weight, the condition may return.

2. Try yoga

Regular exercise can boost your energy levels, strengthen your heart, and improve sleep apnea. Yoga can specifically improve your breathing strength and promote oxygen circulation. Sleep apnea is associated with a decrease in oxygen saturation in the blood. Yoga can improve your oxygen levels through its various breathing exercises. Therefore, yoga reduces the number of sleep interruptions you may experience.

3. Change your sleeping position

Although it’s a small change, changing your sleeping position can reduce sleep apnea symptoms and improve your night’s rest. A 2006 study found that more than half of obstructive sleep apnea cases are position-dependent. Studies have shown that sleeping on your back can make symptoms worse. For some adults, sleeping on your side can help breathing return to normal.

4. Use a humidifier

Humidifiers are devices that add moisture to the air. Dry air can irritate the body and respiratory system. Using a humidifier can open your airways, reduce congestion, and promote clearer breathing. For added effectiveness, you can add lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus oil to your humidifier. These three essential oils have known anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your humidifier. They can harbor mold and bacteria.

5. Avoid alcohol and tobacco

Lifestyle changes can improve your health and promote better sleep habits. Consider quitting smoking and limiting your alcohol intake to reduce sleep apnea complications. Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles that control your breathing. This can lead to snoring and an interrupted sleep cycle. It can also lead to inflammation of the airways and block the passage of air.

Like alcohol, smoking can also contribute to inflammation and swelling in the airways. This can make your snoring and sleep apnea worse. Smoking as a risk factor for the development of sleep apnea. The study noted that people with sleep apnea may also have a predisposition to smoke, so treating sleep apnea can help quit smoking.

6. Use oral appliances

Oral appliances can help with sleep apnea by repositioning your jaw or tongue to keep your airways open while you sleep. The two main categories are mandibular advancement devices and tongue stabilization devices. These devices work by moving your lower jaw or tongue forward to reduce the blockage in the back of your throat. These devices range from inexpensive, over-the-counter options to devices fitted by a dentist.

Certain home remedies and lifestyle changes for sleep apnea can reduce symptoms.


Anandam A, et al. (2013). Effects of dietary weight loss on obstructive sleep apnea: A meta-analysis. DOI:

Arzi A, et al. (2010). The influence of odorants on respiratory patterns in sleep. DOI:

Bankar MA, et al. (2013). Impact of long term yoga practice on sleep quality and quality of life in the elderly. DOI:

Do I have Obstructive Sleep Apnea? (2020).

Joosten SA, et al. (2014). Supine position related obstructive sleep apnea in adults: Pathogenesis and treatment. DOI:

Wietske R, et al. (2006). The role of sleep position in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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6 lifestyle tips that improve sleep apnea

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