Discover if positional therapy can be an alternative to CPAP in your fight with sleep apnea breathing disorder.
Millions of people in the world can't afford a sleep study, a CPAP machine and a mask, or even a doctor to let them know they suffer from apnea syndrome.
This article about positional sleep therapy for sleep apnea will answer to these questions:
We all heard the argument that if you elbow a snorer and they roll over, their snoring will stop.
In some cases, this actually works and after rolling over, the snorer and the person doing the elbowing both get a good and quiet night's rest.
Some devices were invented that help the snorer to sleep in a position that encourages less snoring. The Side Sleeping Backpack is a good example. The idea behind them is that if the snorer's body is in a certain position the airway through their throat will be more open and that allows a clearer passage of air.
The more air that gets through, the less likely the person is to snore or stop breathing during sleep.
Because snoring has similar causes with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), scientists decided to test the effectiveness of positional sleep therapy in OSA sufferers. In this clinical study published in 2012 scientists wanted to test the long term efficacy of this therapy in patients with positional OSA.
16 patients who couldn't tolerate CPAP were tested with the positional therapy device. They had to perform a test night study before wearing the device every night for 3 months. The patients were being monitored with an actigraphic recorder.
After 3 months, they were tested again with a follow-up night study. Scientists compared the results with the first night study, and their conclusion is: positional OSA can be effectively treated by a positional therapy.
According to the experts at the American College of Chest Physicians in the october 2005 issue of "Chest" magazine, as many as 60% of the patients with obstructive sleep apnea experience a lowering of symptoms when they slept on their side as opposed to their back.
They estimate that as many as 50% of the people that experience sleep apnea could be successfully treated by using positional therapy.
The explanation: In many patients with obstructive apnea, the upper airway is most vulnerable to collapse during supine sleep. Due to the effects of gravity, the tongue tends to be displaced closer to the posterior pharynx. There is, thus, greater reduction of the pharyngeal area in a supine than side sleeping position.
The solution: If your respiratory events occur exclusively or predominantly during a supine position and if your sleep study results demonstrates a normal apnea index in the lateral posture, then sleeping on the side or elevation of the head can be tried.
This video explains the relationships between sleep apnea and side sleeping:
You need to answer first to these questions:
Without answering to these questions it's impossible to make suggestions about your sleep apnea treatment, including side sleeping therapy.
What if you can't afford a sleep study or a doctor? Use these links to learn more:
Without doubt, CPAP is the gold standard treatment for sleep apnea, and it's very effective as long as you can tolerate it. Many CPAP users have problems with these breathing machines, and my pages about CPAP problems and Mask problems can help them to improve their therapy.
But what if you:
So there is no doubt that positional therapy can be your option. However, you have to know that you have positional sleep apnea. To find out, a sleep study will be excellent in this case.
Note: If you have central apnea, positional sleep therapy is not going to help!
Bottom line... If you have snoring or mild obstructive sleep apnea, you can be treated with positional sleep therapy.
You can find if you have positional sleep apnea if you read your sleep study results, or if your bed partner tells you that you sleep better when you sleep on the side.
If you use positional therapy as your treatment for sleep apnea, you should also use other general measures of treatments, such as: