Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is commonly used as a treatment option for people diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The therapy involves using a CPAP machine, which pumps slightly pressurized air into the nasal airways via an elongated hose hooked to a face mask worn, while the person is asleep. This contraption is used to hold open the OSA patient’s upper airway, and prevent breathing difficulties which may last from a few seconds to a full hour.
While CPAP is a tried-and-tested method for treating sleep apnea, many people face hardships in sticking with the therapy. Most medical professionals term the difficulty to comply with it as CPAP intolerance. Often, the noise coming from the bulky CPAP machine, causing disturbance to apnea patients and bedmates, is found to be the main reason for intolerance, which leads to the failure of CPAP therapy. However, there are several other reasons for CPAP intolerance, including:
- Air leaks in the face mask, which cause a dry mouth in the morning;
- The person being allergic to the material of the oxygen mask used in CPAP, which often tends to be made up of latex;
- Uncomfortable headgear and straps; and
- Limited mobility during sleep, due to the contraption or the CPAP machine, and other connections.
If you feel that you cannot comply with the CPAP, it is advisable to look for alternative treatments for mild to moderate apnea, such as oral appliance therapy. In fact, oral appliance therapy may also serve as a remedy for loud snoring, even if you find it tough to get used to positional therapy. For instance, if you find it tough to change from a supine or prone position to a side-sleeping one on the bed – it’s best to wear an oral appliance used to treat mild to moderate OSA.
Side sleeping is suggested in positional therapy for treating apnea; most people do find comfort in opening the upper airway using a snoring remedy, but not all feel the same way. In fact, an oral appliance such as a sleep apnea mouth guard is considered as a noninvasive treatment for OSA. Such snoring mouthpieces do not cause any side effects, and work as per the same principle – of clearing the obstructions in the upper throat. Once worn, it advances the lower jaw and ensures free flow of air.