Sleep Apnea and Sleeping Positions

Sleeping is all about being able to relax and find a position where you can comfortably sink into your bed and snooze away. We choose to sleep on our sides, backs, or stomachs, depending on what we find to be the most comfortable. Some of us are known to toss and turn at night while others of us sleep like rocks. But, did you know that some sleeping positions have certain health advantages over others? Studies have shown that people who sleep on their backs are more likely to snore. The position may even put one at a higher risk of further complications from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Back sleeping isn’t the only “unhealthy” sleeping position. People who tend to sleep on their right side may suffer from more frequent indigestion and heartburn. How you sleep plays a direct role in your physical health and well-being, surprisingly!

Why Is Back Sleeping Problematic?

Several studies have proven that back-sleepers are more likely to snore at night. When sleeping on your back, gravity causes the tongue to fall back which usually causes a small amount of airway obstruction. The vibrations caused by the obstruction are what makes one snore. Those who are back-sleepers and are overweight face even more problems as not only can gravity cause minor obstruction to occur but excess fat deposits within the neck and throat area can put added pressure on the airway, thereby causing or further complicating an obstruction. The obstruction can cause one to suffer from sleep apnea and those who have the condition are more prone to cessations in breathing when sleeping on their back. Side-sleeping may reduce the amount of apnea episodes.

In the end, sleeping on your back won’t cause sleep apnea nor does everyone who snores suffer from the condition. There are many other factors that often play a role in determining if someone suffers from sleep apnea or not. Tongue size, soft palate size, and other factors can all be factors.

If you snore, try sleeping in a different position to see if it has any effect on your snoring problem. If you find that you are still snoring despite sleeping in a new position, then it’s a good idea to schedule a consultation with Dr. Roubal. A sleep study will be able to determine if you are suffering from sleep apnea or some other type of sleep disorder. If you are positively diagnosed, Dr. Roubal is a great option for sleep apnea treatment that will keep your snoring and sleep apnea under control. Contact us today!