7 Factors that Could Be Worsening Your Sleep Apnea

January 3, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drthomas @ 2:00 am
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If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you are likely looking for ways to manage your condition. There are a number of factors that could be affecting the severity of your symptoms, and many of them are within your power to control. Would you like to know what some of those factors are? This blog post explains.

Weight Gain

Excess body fat around the abdomen and neck can place pressure on your airway, causing more severe sleep apnea symptoms. Some people find that when they lose weight, they sleep much better; their sleep apnea symptoms might even disappear altogether! It may be wise to talk to your primary care physician about designing a diet and exercise plan to help you shed a few pounds.

Sleep Position

Gravity can be your enemy if you regularly sleep on your back. Your tongue and other oral structures may shift backward, thereby contributing to airway blockages. It is usually best for individuals with OSA to sleep on their side.


Smoking is a major cause of irritation and inflammation in the upper airway; smokers are more prone to snoring and other symptoms of sleep apnea. If you smoke, it would be in your best interests to quit as soon as possible. Your doctor may be able to help you break free from the habit.

Not Complying with Sleep Apnea Treatment

CPAP therapy is the most commonly prescribed OSA treatment. Unfortunately, many patients dislike their CPAP machine and find it difficult to use it as much as they should. As a result, their symptoms may worsen. If that is true of you, come and talk to Dr. Thomas about alternative treatments. Not everyone with sleep apnea must use a CPAP!

Alcohol Use

If you sometimes indulge in a nightcap to help you relax in the evening, you might unintentionally be worsening your sleep apnea. Alcohol is a depressant, so it can cause muscles throughout your body to relax — including tissues in the airway. Consequently, you may be more likely to snore and experience pauses in breathing. If you choose to drink, you should stop at least a few hours before bedtime.


Similar to alcohol, some medications can cause tissues in the airway to overrelax, contributing to breathing problems during sleep. Certain painkillers, muscle relaxants, and even sleep aids fall into this category.


OSA tends to be more common among older individuals, likely due to the natural loss of muscle tone that occurs with age. While you cannot make yourself younger, you should do your best to manage your overall health and monitor the quality of your sleep.

Meet the Practice

Dr. Preetha Thomas is a highly accomplished holistic dentist who is proud to serve the Southlake, TX, community. She cares greatly about the overall wellness of her patients, which is why she offers custom oral appliances to treat sleep apnea, as well as NightLase laser therapy. If you would like to speak to her about how you may be able to achieve a better night’s sleep, contact Enclave Dental at 817-912-1218.

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