Lifestyle Changes to Help Treat Sleep Apnea

Among the factors that contribute to sleep apnea are ones that can be controlled by lifestyle choices. Following the guidelines below may help reduce the effects of sleep apnea for some people.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. People who are overweight -- especially those who carry weight around the jaw and neck -- are more likely to get sleep apnea than people who maintain a healthy weight. The extra fat and tissue around the neck can put pressure on the airway or tongue.
  • Avoid alcohol or drugs that relax the central nervous system. Alcohol relaxes the central nervous system. When a person drinks too much alcohol or takes drugs that relax the central nervous system, it can cause the muscles of the throat to relax. This can cause a form of central sleep apnea.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking causes many harmful effects to the lungs and blood vessels. Quitting smoking will almost immediately make it easier for a person to breath better.