Dealing with sleep apnea can be a nightmare (literally and figuratively!), but with the right treatment, you can significantly improve your sleep quality and overall well-being. At our Los Gatos dental office, Top Down Dental, led by Dr. Nancy Nehawandian, we believe in the power of holistic dentistry and understand that oral health and airway health are interconnected. In addition to oral appliance therapy, there are several lifestyle changes you can incorporate into your routine to enhance your sleep apnea treatment in Los Gatos. Let’s explore some of these changes together.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Obesity is closely linked to sleep apnea, as excess weight can put pressure on your airway and increase the likelihood of breathing interruptions during sleep. By adopting a healthy eating plan and engaging in regular physical activity, you can shed those extra pounds and potentially reduce the severity of your sleep apnea symptoms. Luckily for us, our community provides plenty of opportunities to stay active. Whether hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains or enjoying a bike ride along the Los Gatos Creek Trail, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to engage in physical activity and improve your overall fitness.

Create a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Establishing a regular sleep schedule can help regulate your body’s internal clock and promote better sleep. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This consistency can train your body to follow a natural sleep-wake cycle, leading to more restful nights.

Avoid Alcohol and Sedatives

Alcohol and sedatives can relax the muscles in your throat, worsening sleep apnea symptoms! It’s best to avoid these substances, especially close to bedtime. Opt for healthier alternatives such as herbal tea or warm milk if you need help winding down before sleep.

As a side note, alcohol and sedatives don’t actually help you sleep better. You may think they do since you are “sleeping,” but these substances don’t allow your body to rest, restore, and perform its natural (and necessary!) functions. Instead, your body is focused on metabolizing the substances. That’s why you still wake up feeling tired or have a midday slump.

Quit Smoking

Smoking not only damages your lungs but also inflames and narrows your airway, exacerbating sleep apnea symptoms. By quitting smoking, you can reduce inflammation, improve lung function, and enhance your overall respiratory health. We suggest seeking support from a healthcare professional or joining a smoking cessation program to increase your chances of success.

Elevate Your Sleeping Position

Elevating the head of your bed by a few inches can promote better breathing and reduce the frequency of sleep apnea episodes. This slight incline helps prevent the collapse of your airway, allowing for smoother airflow throughout the night. You can achieve this by using a foam wedge or adjustable bed.

Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Los Gatos is known for its tranquil ambiance and natural beauty, providing the perfect backdrop for a relaxing bedtime routine. Establishing a relaxing routine before bed can signal your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Engage in activities such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing deep breathing exercises. Avoid stimulating activities like using electronic devices or watching intense television shows, as they can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. The blue light from your TV and phone signal to your brain that it’s time to be awake. Try to avoid these altogether.

Incorporating these lifestyle changes into your sleep apnea treatment plan can enhance the effectiveness of your oral appliance therapy and improve your overall sleep quality. At Top Down Dental, we’ve witnessed the positive impact these changes can have on our patients’ lives.

But remember, lifestyle changes may take time to show noticeable effects, so be patient and persistent. Also, these are supplemental suggestions, they are not a replacement for sleep apnea treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about supplementing your sleep apnea treatment, don’t hesitate to reach out to our dental team by calling (408) 354-5600. We’re here to support you on your journey to better sleep and improved quality of life.