The holidays are a time for giving, being thankful and spending quality time with your family and friends. But what if you suffer from sleep apnea? How do you enjoy time with your loved ones while also not sounding like Darth Vader? We have put together some tips for you to keep in mind this season–whether you are the one with sleep apnea or it is a loved one with the condition. Here are some tips to help you if you suffer from sleep apnea this holiday season.

Maintain a healthy weight. If you have excess weight, it can cause difficulty while you sleep. By losing weight, it can help you to relieve constriction of your throat. Contact our office to learn more about how to lose weight and improve your sleep apnea symptoms. We can guide you in the right direction.

Quit smoking. This is important not just for your overall health, but for sleep apnea too. If you smoke, you are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than those who do not smoke. Smoking can also increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.

Avoid caffeine or heavy meals before bed. You might want to drink caffeine to stay awake with your family longer, but be careful what time you indulge. Avoiding caffeine and heavy meals before bed can help you have a better night’s sleep. It can also help to reduce the reflux of stomach contents traveling up the esophagus too.

Avoid alcohol, sedatives and sleeping pills. We all want to have fun with our families and loved ones, but at the cost of your sleep? Think again. Drinking alcohol, or taking sedatives and sleeping pills can relax the muscles in the back of your throat that interfere with breathing. 

Keep your sleep on schedule. It is important to note that your body is controlled by hormones that have a regular rhythm. With that being said, try to go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Sleep apnea episodes tend to decrease when you are well rested, so try to establish a regular sleeping schedule.

Sleep on your side. If you sleep on your back, it can cause your tongue and soft palate to rest against the back of your throat and block your airway. Sleeping on your side can help to prevent this from occurring. If you have trouble doing this, try sewing a tennis ball to the back of your pajama top. When you roll onto your back, the ball will press into your back and cause you to roll back on your side.

Contact Dr. Mayoor Patel at Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia to learn more about how you can manage your sleep apnea this holiday season.