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How Your Sleeping Position Affects Your Obstructive Sleep Apnea

When it comes to how you rest comfortably through the night, not all sleeping positions are created equal. This is especially true if you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

It will put added pressure on already struggling airways, and will exacerbate irritating side effects such as snoring. Hence your sleeping position impacts the frequency and severity of your sleep apnea.

So with this is mind, here’s a closer look at the most common sleeping positions, and how they can affect or even enhance your OSA. We also give you ideas on what you can do to adjust your position to breathe easy while still being comfortable all night long.


Breaking Down Sleeping Positions and OSA

Sleeping on your back

Sleeping directly on your back is arguably one of the worst positions for obstructive sleep apnea sufferers. In this position, you’re twice as likely to experience episodes of apnea. Not only will the episodes be more severe, but also you’ll have more noticeable symptoms like snoring.

The reason behind this is because when you sleep on your back, the muscles and tissues in your upper airway are more likely to crowd the back of the throat. This creates resistance and narrowed passageways – and episodes of apnea, or pauses in breath.

What to do:

If you absolutely have to sleep on your back to be comfortable, however, you can mitigate these risks with elevation. Prop your head up on as many pillows as possible, to create a more vertical alignment, less likely to interfere with your sleep.


Sleeping on your stomach

People who sleep on their stomachs are the least likely to experience heightened sleep apnea episodes.

However this position over the long term can lead to neck pain in the mornings.

What to do:

If this is a concern, then be sure and keep your neck well supported with foam or memory pillows that add extra cushion around these delicate muscles.


Sleeping on your left side

When it comes to comfort while reducing sleep apnea episodes, sleeping on your left side is arguably your best bet.

When you sleep on your left side, you create optimal conditions for blood flow through the body, as well as the least resistance to your breathing. As such, you’ll experience better circulation throughout, as well as fewer problems when trying to breathe during the night.


Sleeping on your right side

Sleeping on your right side provides similar relief for your breathing and circulation. But it is not recommended for folks who have digestive issues (like GERD) as well as obstructive sleep apnea.

This is because when you sleep on your right side, gravity naturally makes it easier for the contents in your stomach to spill into the upper airway, causing acid reflux and other digestive issues.


In any position

When it comes down to it, it may be impossible to find a comfortable sleeping position if your sleep apnea treatment isn’t comfortable as well. Big and bulky CPAP machines can cause added discomfort, and can make it difficult to fall asleep naturally and normally while navigating through hoses and other assorted gear.

As such, when considering your treatment options, keep in mind that there are better, more comfortable ways to get the help you need. Check out these modern and affordable treatments:


By finding both a sleeping position and treatment that doesn’t interfere with your nighttime comfort, you have a better chance of maintaining your treatment for the long term. This way you’ll sleep soundly, faster.

Think you or a loved one is suffering from sleep apnea? Contact us here right away.

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How Your Sleeping Position Affects Your Obstructive Sleep Apnea
What’s the best sleeping position if you have obstructive sleep apnea? Here’s a look at the most common positions, and what you need to know when sleep apnea is a factor.

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