Sleeping on your back can make sleep apnea symptoms worse than they already are. This sleeping position puts you at the highest possible risk of blocking your airway at night. It’s not always easy to control your physical position while sleeping, but there are some precautions you can take to prevent yourself from lying flat on your back. Here are some quick tips for how NOT to sleep on your back at night.
Start In A Sideways Position
This may seem like an obvious solution, but sleeping in a sideways position will at least give you a good start for the night. If you normally watch TV before bed, you may consider orienting the room so you have to lay sideways to see the television. You could still move around after you fall asleep, but over time, this will train your body to feel comfortable sleeping sideways.
Sleep Against A Wall
If your bed is positioned against a wall, you could use that wall to prop yourself up at night. If you cannot get comfortable directly against the wall, you could line it with a body pillow for extra padding. This is similar to sleeping on a couch with your back up against the soft cushion. It can be quite comfortable once you get used to sleeping in that manner.
Use A Wedge Pillow
Wedge pillows are primarily designed to help pregnant women sleep soundly at night, but they can also be used for sleep apnea patients. You can find them at most bedding stores. Sometimes they are referred to as maternity pillows. The pillow itself is shaped like a wedge, putting your back at a gradual incline. This way, even if you roll over on your back at night, you are completely flat on the mattress.
Try The Tennis Ball Sock Method
One technique that we recommend for a lot of our sleep apnea patients in Michigan is putting tennis balls in a tube sock. You can pin the top of the sock to the back of your pajamas to act as an alarm of sorts while you sleep. Sleeping flat on the tennis balls will be uncomfortable, so any time you try to roll over, your body will naturally try to put you back in the sideways position. Eventually you will have the muscle memory to not need the tennis balls anymore.
For more information about sleep apnea treatment in Chesterfield, MI, contact Clinton Dental Center at (586) 949-5363.