10 Tips for Managing Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes a person to stop breathing repeatedly during sleep. This happens when the muscles in the throat fail to keep the airway open, leading to a temporary pause in breathing. These pauses can last for several seconds and can happen multiple times per night, leading to low-quality sleep, oxygen deprivation, and a range of other health problems.

There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type, and it occurs when the muscles in the throat relax and block the airway. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send the proper signals to the muscles in control of breathing. Complex sleep apnea is a combination of both types.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The symptoms of sleep apnea can vary from person to person, but some common signs include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Gasping or choking during sleep
  • Waking up with a sore or dry throat
  • Morning headaches
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood changes, such as irritability or depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Night sweats

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s essential to talk to your doctor or a sleep specialist. They can help you determine if you have sleep apnea and create a treatment plan to manage your symptoms.

10 Tips for Living With Sleep Apnea

Living with sleep apnea can be challenging, but there are many strategies you can use to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Here are ten tips to consider:

Use a CPAP Machine

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a common treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP machines work by delivering a constant flow of air through a mask to keep the airway open during sleep. If you have been prescribed a CPAP machine, it’s essential to use it every night as directed by your doctor.

Oral Appliances

Oral appliances, such as The Silent Partner ™, can help keep the airway open during sleep. These devices are custom-made by a dentist and can be an effective alternative to CPAP for some people. The SilentPartner™ is an FDA-cleared TMJ-friendly oral sleep appliance developed by our Bellevue dentist, Dr. Doneskey, to effectively manage snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

Weight Loss

Excess weight can contribute to sleep apnea by putting extra pressure on the airway. Losing weight through a healthy diet and exercise can help improve sleep apnea symptoms and overall health. This may not be a solution for everyone, but it is a first-step attempt to treat sleep apnea without devices or medications.

Avoid Alcohol and Sedatives

Alcohol and sedatives can relax the muscles in the throat, making it more likely for sleep apnea to occur. If you have sleep apnea, it’s best to avoid these substances or limit your intake.

Change Your Sleep Position

Sleeping on your back can make sleep apnea worse by causing the tongue and soft tissues in the throat to collapse due to the pull of gravity. Try sleeping on your side instead to keep the airway open.

Use a Humidifier

A humidifier can help keep the air moist, making it easier to breathe during sleep. This can be especially helpful if you experience dryness or congestion in the nose or throat.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Good sleep hygiene includes creating a relaxing sleep environment, sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, and avoiding screens before bed. These habits can help improve the quality of your sleep and reduce sleep apnea symptoms.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise can help improve sleep apnea symptoms by promoting weight loss, reducing inflammation, and strengthening the muscles in the throat.

Manage Stress

Stress and anxiety can make sleep apnea symptoms worse by causing muscle tension and shallow breathing. Try practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, to manage stress and improve sleep.

Get regular check-ups

Regular check-ups with your doctor or a sleep specialist can help them better monitor your sleep apnea and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan promptly.

How to Find a Sleep Dentist Near You

If you’re looking for a sleep dentist near you in Bellevue, WA, there are several resources you can use to find a qualified provider. Here are a few options to consider:


Often, it can be difficult to find a specialist in your immediate area. Take the time to consider travel requirements when choosing a sleep dentist.

American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine

The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is a professional organization that represents dentists who specialize in sleep disorders. Their website has a “Find a Dentist” tool to help you search for AADSM members in your area.

Referrals From Your Doctor or Sleep Specialist

Your doctor or sleep specialist may be able to recommend a sleep dentist in your area who can provide the care you need.

Online Reviews

Online review sites, such as Yelp or Google reviews, can be helpful resources for finding a sleep dentist near you. Look for dentists with positive reviews and a track record of treating sleep apnea.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can sleep apnea be cured?
Can sleep apnea lead to other health problems?
Is surgery a treatment option for sleep apnea?
How can I know if I have sleep apnea?
Is sleep apnea more common in men or women?
Can sleep apnea be cured?

While there is no cure for sleep apnea, it can be effectively managed with the right treatment plan. Treatment options may include CPAP, oral appliances, lifestyle changes, or a combination of these approaches.

Can sleep apnea lead to other health problems?

Yes, untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of several health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Reasons such as these are why it’s important to seek effective treatment as soon as possible. 

Is surgery a treatment option for sleep apnea?

In some cases, surgery may be recommended to treat sleep apnea. Surgical options may include removing the excess tissue from the throat, repositioning the jaw, or implanting a device to keep the airway open during sleep. However, your dentist will likely recommend that you try less invasive options before surgery.  

How can I know if I have sleep apnea?

If you’re experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, such as loud snoring, pauses in breathing during sleep, or excessive daytime sleepiness, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a sleep specialist. They can conduct a sleep study to diagnose your condition and develop a sleep apnea treatment plan if necessary.

Is sleep apnea more common in men or women?

Sleep apnea is more common in men than women, but it can affect people of any age or gender. Regardless of your gender, you should contact your sleep dentist or primary care provider if you or anyone you know notices that you’re showing symptoms.  

Get Restful Sleep Again with Dr. Doneskey

If you or a loved one are struggling with sleep apnea, don’t suffer in silence any longer. Dr. Doneskey offers effective and personalized treatment options for sleep apnea, including oral appliance therapy and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. We serve new and returning patients from Bellevue and surrounding areas such as [insert three locations]. 

Contact Dr. Doneskey in Bellevue, WA at (425) 646-6409 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online and start on the path to better sleep and improved overall health. Don’t let sleep apnea disrupt your life any longer – take action today and schedule your appointment with Dr. Doneskey.