At Elite Sleep, we treat patients with a wide array of sleep disorders on a daily basis. One of the most common sleep disorders we see in our patients is sleep apnea. When we first meet with a new patient who suffers from sleep apnea, some of them feel like they’ll never be able to sleep well again due to having bad experiences with CPAP treatments. However, what many of them do not know is that while CPAP is the most well-known treatment for sleep apnea, it is not the only one. In this blog, we detail what CPAP is, why it isn’t always the best option, and what alternatives exist.
How a CPAP Works
If you’ve researched sleep apnea, you’ve probably come across CPAP treatment and explanations of how they work. However, if you were new to the knowledge of what sleep apnea is, it is when your airway collapses or becomes restricted in the middle of the night. This results in you having difficulty breathing or stop breathing altogether for short periods of time, causing you to wake up multiple times throughout the night. A CPAP machine is a machine that sits by your bedside and is hooked up to a specially fitted mask worn while you sleep. During the night, the CPAP machine pumps a slow and steady stream of oxygen through the mask and into your airway, preventing it from collapsing or becoming restricted and allowing you to sleep soundly.
Why CPAP Isn’t Always the Best Option
While CPAP is a very effective treatment for sleep apnea, it is not a case of one size fits all. Some examples of when CPAP isn’t an ideal treatment option are:
- People who are fitted incorrectly for their mask, causing them discomfort or pain while they sleep.
- People who have trouble falling asleep with something on their face, or are afraid to fall asleep wearing a mask and are kept awake by the anxiety.
- People with sensory sensitivities who struggle with the touch and texture of the mask and straps, making it a non-viable option.
As a result, a need arose among doctors in the sleep community to find an alternative treatment option for patients with sleep apnea that would allow them to get the rest they need to live healthy lives.
Oral Appliances Can Help
A great alternative to CPAP machines are oral appliances. These are much like the retainers you might’ve worn as a teenager to help straighten your teeth, except these are designed to help straighten out your sleeping patterns. Where CPAP machines pump air into your airway to keep it open, oral appliances accomplish the same purpose by repositioning your jaw and mouth. This provides support for the muscles of your airway and prevents your tongue from rolling backwards and obstructing your windpipe.
Oral appliances can be just as effective as CPAP and are a great alternative for those who would like a less invasive sleep apnea treatment. Just like with CPAP masks it is very important to get custom fitted with oral appliances to ensure that they are customized to adapt to your specific features and achieve the purpose without sacrificing your comfort.
At Elite Sleep, we are proud to offer full service sleep testing, consultation, and treatments to Washington state area residents. There’s more than one solution to any problem and it is our goal to provide you with those options, helping you find which one works best for you. We are always here to answer your questions and address any concerns you have about your current sleep disorder treatment or previous treatment options you’ve used in the past that didn’t work out. Your comfort is our top priority and we are dedicated to helping you get the relief you need and get back to sleeping soundly through the night. To get started, give us a call at 425-437-3311 or visit us online to learn more about our services and how we can help.