Sleep Apnea Surgery or Natural Solutions?

Sleep Apnea Surgery or Natural Solutions?

As many as 936 million people in the world are estimated to suffer from sleep apnea. Because it interferes with one’s ability to breathe while sleeping, sleep apnea is a serious condition that can lead to chronic sleep disturbances. In the long run, the sleep deprivation it causes can make an individual feel fatigued and irritable. It can even damage the heart due to the strain that it puts on the arteries.

In many cases, sleep apnea surgery is used to reverse the condition. However, its success rates varies widely from 16% to 83%. Recovery can take weeks and there’s a possibility that the condition may recur.

Is surgery the only option or are there things you can do to lessen its symptoms? In this article, we’ll take you through what sleep apnea is, why certain people need surgery for it, and present you with other options to manage and minimize symptoms.

Thankfully, there are other things that can be done to minimize the discomfort and symptoms of sleep apnea other than surgery. To help you explore your options, we’ll discuss natural solutions and how sleep apnea surgery works.

But before we get into all that, let’s start with a short background on sleep apnea and whois at risk for it.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea belongs to a class of serious sleep disorders wherein your breathing repeatedly stops and starts as you sleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause daytime fatigue, loud snoring, and more serious conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease.

Your brain works in a peculiar way when your breathing stops. It tries to protect you by keeping you awake long enough to breathe. As you might have guessed, this prevents you from getting restful, healthy sleep. This condition can lead to serious complications over time.

There are three types of sleep apnea, namely:

  • Central - caused by neurological malfunctioning
  • Obstructive - the most common type of sleep apnea, caused by obstruction in the throat and mouth
  • Complex sleep apnea- a combination of central and obstructive sleep apnea

Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea

  • If you are overweight, obesity significantly raises the risk of sleep apnea. Fat deposits in the upper airway can obstruct breathing.
  • Men below 50 and children aged 2 to 6 are more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea or OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) while women tend to get it after they turn 50. Incidence may rise with age.
  • If you use sedatives, tranquilizers, or alcohol, substances like these can worsen obstructive sleep apnea by relaxing the muscles in your throat.
  • You have a higher risk for sleep apnea if your nasal passages are frequently congested or you find it difficult to breathe.
  • Congestive heart failure raises the risk of sleep apnea.
  • If you suffered a stroke, it increases your chances of developing central sleep apnea (symptoms that manifest while receiving treatment for OSA).
  • Conditions like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson's disease may increase your risk for obstructive sleep apnea.

Natural Sleep Apnea Treatments

While sleep apnea surgery can reverse the condition and get rid of sleep apnea symptoms, there are less invasive options that have been known to help. If you’re looking for a natural cure for sleep apnea symptoms, here are some things you can try:

  • Regular Exercise

We know — this seems like the cure for almost everything. But it’s worth noting how important regular exercise and physical movement can be for the body. It helps increase energy, heart strength, and fosters sleep apnea improvement.

Yoga, in particular, can help improve your respiratory strength and increase your oxygen flow. Since sleep apnea can reduce the amount of oxygen in your blood, you can benefit from breathing exercises associated with yoga and meditation. As a bonus, they also help you become more mindful, centered, and less stressed.

  • Weight Control

Maintaining a healthy weight can help keep your airways clear and reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. According to science, modest weight loss in obese individuals can alleviate the need for upper airway surgery or long-term CPAP therapy.

Obesity, particularly in the upper body, can increase the risk of airway obstruction and the narrowing of nasal passages.

  • Avoid Sedative Substances

Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles that regulate breathing. Sedatives and sleeping pills have the same effect. This can make you snore and disrupt your sleep cycle. It can also make your airways inflamed and obstruct airflow.

Like alcohol, using tobacco can lead to inflammation of your air passages, exacerbating sleep apnea and snoring.

  • CPAP or BPAP Machines

The CPAP machine delivers a steady stream of air through a mask worn while sleeping. It keeps airways open so you can sleep better and snore less (or not at all).

A BiPAP (bi-level positive airway pressure) machine works similarly to a CPAP machine by providing a stream of air to keep your airways open. However, unlike a CPAP, a BiPAP does not provide constant pressure. Instead, it can be adjusted to provide less air as you exhale.

Change Your Sleeping Positions

Did you know that more than half of sleep apnea disorders are attributed to poor sleeping positions? Most of the time, sleeping on your back is the culprit for not getting a good night’s sleep.

Let’s look at a few sleeping positions for minimizing sleep apnea symptoms.

  • Stomach sleeping

Sleeping on your stomach can relieve sleep apnea symptoms since gravity is pulling one’s throat and mouth forward, thus minimizing their ability to cause obstructions in the airway.

  • Left Side Sleeping for Heartburn and Sleep Apnea

If you suffer from heartburn or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), sleeping on your right side can cause acidity but turning to your left seems to alleviate the problem!

The sleeping position to avoid if you have sleep apnea is laying flat on your back. When you sleep on your back, it’s easier for your tongue and other soft tissues to fall backward and block your airway passages.

Apart from finding the right sleeping position for you, sleep hygiene is also very important. Sleep hygiene practices like controlling the temperature in your room, creating a cozy feeling, drawing the blinds, turning off all the lights, minimizing screen time for at least 30 minutes before bedtime, meditation, and mindful breathing can all be added to your bedtime routine.

Surgery for Sleep Apnea: Is It Necessary?

One thing to note about sleep apnea is that it can be cured with sleep apnea surgery. Though more drastic, you might need sleep surgery if you suffer from complications in your throat or if you can’t wear a sleeping mask.

There are different types of surgeries for sleep apnea but they all basically rely on removing the obstructions that cause breathing difficulties at night. This is done by repositioning or extracting parts that block the patient’s breathing.

It may entail manipulating the jaw into a more forward position, removing excess tissues from the top of the throat and the back of the mouth, extracting the back portion of the tongue, or removing the tonsils and tonsillar tissue behind the tongue. In some cases, the nasal septum and turbinates are reduced.

The Perfect Pillow

Good head and neck support for a good night’s sleep is imperative. Your bed and pillow can greatly affect your sleep quality. Headaches and tension in the shoulders, back, and neck can be caused by misalignment as well as poor head and neck support.

  • If you sleep on your stomach, choose a pillow that is fairly flat and soft.
  • If you sleep on your back, choose a medium-firm pillow that is not too high and does not push your head forward.
  • If you sleep on your side, choose a relatively thick, firmer pillow to support your neck.

You can also get an adjustable bed pillow to sleep better! Sleeptone makes a wide range of breathable pillows designed specifically for people with sleep apnea. Our pillows offer soft, supportive, comfortable pressure relief for a good night’s sleep.

Our most basic model is the Loft Breathable Support Pillow. It comes with a breathable case for optimal airflow, is cool to the touch, and can easily be adjusted to provide stable and comfortable support for your head and neck.

We also have the Loft Cool Control Pillow for hot sleepers. These pillows are loaded with features that are designed to keep your body cool and comfortable throughout the night. ActiVent absorbs and releases heat while promoting air circulation. The Icetone fabric is cool to the touch. It also employs Coldcore, a patented cooling technology from NASA.

For sleep apnea sufferers who need to sleep on their sides, we have the Loft Cool Control Side Sleeper. In addition to its thermo-regulating and pressure-relieving features, this pillow comfortably accommodates side sleepers with its shoulder cutouts for better neck and head support.

All our pillows come with removable Tencel pillowcases for easy cleaning. Our ergonomic designs and wide product range lets you choose exactly what will work for you and the bed you sleep in.


We hope that this article gave you insights about sleep apnea, possible treatments, and the importance of a really, really good pillow. Sleep apnea can be frustrating, but with enough information, you can manage and minimize its symptoms.

However, if you’re consistently noticing sleep apnea symptoms like loud snoring and daytime sleepiness and have yet to see a doctor about them, make an appointment with your healthcare provider for personalized care and treatment.

To help you manage your symptoms, visit and have a look at our incredible pillows, comforters, sheet sets, and more.


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