What Are Common Treatment Options?

CPAP/BiPAP - CPAP is short for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. A CPAP machine is used to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The CPAP machine blows a prescribed pressure in your upper airway to decrease the obstruction that causes the snoring, gasping and apnea. The optimal pressure should be determined during a sleep study and prescribed by your physician. A mask that covers just your nose OR your nose and mouth is used with the CPAP.

BiPAP or Bilevel is like a CPAP but uses two different pressures to keep the airway open. These 2 levels of pressure are used to eliminate or alleviate airway obstructions and snoring.

Nutritional Consultation - Weight loss can be a treatment for OSA. A visit with a dietitian can help manage caloric intake as well as helping you make better food choices. Losing just 10% of your body weight can reduce sleep apnea and help you get a great night's sleep.

Biofeedback - This tool can be used to train a person to use signals from the body to improve health. In the case of insomnia for example, one would learn techniques that would help one relax, decrease stress and help a person fall asleep. Biofeedback cannot cure a disease or disorder, but it can help one cope with and treat the problem.

Position Retention Therapy - This is just a fancy way of saying "Stay off your back". This can be accomplished by sleeping on one side or the other, by using a body pillow or by simply sewing a pocket in the back of a t-shirt and placing a tennis ball in the back. This will surely keep one off of one's back.

Pharmaceutical Interventions - Sometimes medication may be the only way to treat a sleep disorder. Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a good example in which medication can be used to control the jerking of the legs and control for the sufferer to move his or her legs constantly.

Medication may also be used to treat Insomnia and Narcolepsy. Your physician will know which medication is right for your problem.

Surgical Options - Surgery is an option for snoring and mild sleep apnea. Some procedures that can be performed to alleviate or decrease symptoms are:

  • Nasal/turbinate surgery
  • Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy
  • Uvulopaltopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
  • Laser Assisted Uvulopaltopharyngoplasty (LAUP)
  • Tongue Surgery
  • Genial advancement and hyoid suspension
  • MaxilloMandibular Advancement
  • Tracheostomy

Of course, discussion about any surgical procedure should be discussed with your physician.

Behavioral Modification - This means current behavior must be changed. Changing sleep habits to be more conducive to sleep may be all that is needed.
Some examples are:

  • Setting a fixed bedtime and awakening time
  • Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and nicotine 4-6 hours before bed
  • Avoid napping during the day
  • Exercise regularly, avoiding strenuous exercise 2-6 hours before bedtime
  • Keep the sleep environment comfortable, cool, dark and quiet