3 Ways You Could Be Making Your Sleep Apnea Worse

June 28, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — smilesforlifeteam @ 3:24 pm
exhausted man working from home

Life is already hard enough when you have sleep apnea, so you certainly don’t want to do anything that might be worsening your symptoms. Unfortunately, millions of people across the country are doing just that, and most don’t know it. What they do know is that they feel exhausted all the time, but there is hope! By getting these three factors under control and working with a skilled sleep dentist, you can start getting the quality rest you deserve every night.

Excess Weight

The biggest contributing factor to the increase in obstructive sleep apnea cases in the US is the equally large uptick in obesity. As a person gains weight, the tissue on their throat and chest places more and more pressure on their airway when they lay down to sleep, making stoppages in breathing stemming from sleep apnea more frequent.


Many people claim that alcohol helps them sleep, but it actually sedates them. Being sedated is different for your body than falling asleep—you’re unconscious, but the brain and body aren’t restoring themselves. Excess alcohol consumption, especially within a few hours of going to bed, can also cause the tissues in the mouth and throat to over relax and block the airway.


Both pain medication and sleeping pills can have similar effects to alcohol, causing someone to become sedated rather than sleep. Also like alcohol, taking too much of these medications causes the muscles that maintain the airway to become lax, meaning they can easily collapse together.

How You Can Help Yourself

It’s very simple to ask someone to lose weight, stop drinking alcohol, and take less medication. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy! Each of these factors can take several months or even years to get under control, all the while the person is struggling with sleep apnea.

This is where a sleep dentist can be extremely helpful. They can provide someone with a custom-made oral appliance to wear to bed that stops sleep apnea at the source. It looks like a regular mouthguard and slightly moves the lower jaw forward. The result is that the airway stays open throughout the night, meaning the person breathes normally and sleeps deeply.

With this appliance, a person can get their sleep under control while also working on their weight, alcohol habits, and medications. Plus, doing so will be much easier because they won’t have to battle through so much exhaustion.

You don’t have to make these big life changes before treating your sleep apnea. The right dentist is eager to help, and once you begin getting great sleep, you’ll discover that you have more willpower than you ever thought.

About the Author

Dr. James Gray is a sleep dentist who has been practicing dentistry for more than 30 years. After graduating from the University of Texas Dental School at San Antonio, he went on to complete a sleep medicine residency at UCLA and has been treating sleep apnea with oral appliances since 2006. Visit our website or call (817) 460-4131 to find out how he can help you get both your sleep and health back on track.