Snoring problems? A CPAP isn’t your only option…

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Be honest: Do you snore? Does your partner say you snore? Snoring is disruptive and, in some severe cases, even life-threatening. Consumer Reports looks at the sleep treatments that can give you and yours some long-awaited, uninterrupted zzzzzs.

“An overnight sleep test can detect whether you have obstructive sleep apnea, which is when your breathing pauses during sleep because something blocks your airway like your tongue or relaxed throat muscled,” said Kevin Loria, Consumer Reports. 

Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can cause daytime sleepiness. It can also strain the heart and increase the risk of anxiety, diabetes, hypertension, and even stroke.

The primary treatment for sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure machine or CPAP. Users are fitted with a mask connected to a pump that pushes air into the airway, holding it open while sleeping. CPAP can significantly reduce the number of breathing interruptions during the night, but patients often have complaints.

It’s hard to deal with the CPAP. There’s the mask and the hose, and there’s definitely some adjustment.

If a full-face mask isn’t for you, you might consider a nasal pillow or mask. Another alternative is custom-made dental devices.

“They’re designed to move the jaw and shift the tongue toward the front of the mouth to keep the airway open. This can be used with CPAP,” said Loria. 

Then, devices like Inspire are surgically implanted in the upper chest, like a pacemaker. They stabilize your throat during sleep to prevent obstruction of the airway. With no hose or mask to worry about, Inspire can seem much more convenient, but it’s not an easy fix.

Remember that sleep issues can be serious, but a restful night begins with a good conversation with your doctor. Skipping alcohol can reduce symptoms, as can sleeping on your side or stomach. Weight loss can also help because obesity is a primary factor for sleep apnea.

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