As anyone who has suffered from sleep apnea knows, it is far from just a condition that affects your body. From the inability to get enough sleep to mood swings, it can really take a toll on your quality of life. Unfortunately, oral devices that are used to treat sleep apnea are difficult to get used to and uncomfortable. To truly overcome sleep apnea and start sleeping soundly, you need to look at other alternatives.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs when your breathing is interrupted while you are asleep. It happens when there is an obstruction in the upper airway, causing you to stop breathing for short periods of time while you are sleeping. The condition can affect anyone, but it is more common in men and those who are overweight.

There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common type and happens when the muscles in your throat relax and become partially or fully blocked; central sleep apnea, which happens when your brain does not communicate properly with the muscles that control your breathing; and complex sleep apnea syndrome, in which individuals have symptoms of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Treating Sleep Apnea

Thankfully, there are treatment options for sleep apnea that can help to overcome the condition and start sleeping soundly. The most common treatment is the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which uses a mask that blows air into the throat to keep the airways open. Though it is effective, many individuals find it to be uncomfortable and cumbersome.

For individuals who do not find success with a CPAP machine, an oral device is a common next step. These devices are custom-fit to the individual’s mouth and work to keep the lower jaw and tongue in a forward position in order to keep the airways open. While it is effective, it can also be uncomfortable and can take some time to get used to.

Overcoming Sleep Apnea Without Oral Devices

Fortunately, research shows that there may be an alternative treatment option for treating sleep apnea. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that certain exercises and practices, known as an “oral Therapy”, could help to reduce symptoms of sleep apnea without the use of an oral device.

This oral therapy uses a series of tongue and jaw exercises that aim to strengthen the muscles in and around the throat. Over time, the exercises are designed to help the individual breathe properly, keep the airways open, and reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. Some of the exercises that you can try include standing with your back against the wall and attempting to swallow while keeping your tongue in a forward position.

Beyond just exercises, the study found that the practice of sleeping on your side can also help to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue to rest against the back of your mouth, which can cause the airways to become blocked. By sleeping on your side, you can help to stop the obstruction and ensure that your airways stay open.

Caring for You Sleep Apnea

It is important to remember that everyone’s experience with sleep apnea is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. If you are experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, it is important to speak with a medical professional. They can help to diagnose the condition and find the best treatment option for you. In addition to various exercises and practices, there are some changes that you can make to your lifestyle in order to help reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. These could include losing weight, avoiding alcohol and sedatives, avoiding the use of tobacco products, and sleeping on schedule.


Sleep apnea is a condition that can take a toll on your quality of life, but there are ways that you can overcome it and start to sleep soundly again. While the use of a CPAP machine or an oral device are common treatment options for sleep apnea, research shows that other exercises and practices could have a positive effect on the symptoms of the condition. If you are experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, it is important to speak with a medical professional to determine the best individual treatment plan for you.