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8 Things That Make Sleep Apnea Worse

November 29, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — drmogell @ 9:35 pm
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Obstructive sleep apnea in Boca Raton is a serious condition. Without proper management, it can cause both short-term and long-term health consequences. If you have been diagnosed with it, it is important that you do all you can to keep it from getting worse. In this blog post, we’ll talk about eight factors that can contribute to sleep apnea and what you may be able to do to stop them from exacerbating your condition.

Weight Gain

Anyone, regardless of their weight, can develop sleep apnea. However, obese individuals are at a high risk because bulk in and around the throat can increase the likelihood of airway obstructions. Working with your doctor to achieve and maintain a healthy weight can have a major, positive impact on the quality of your sleep.

Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol relaxes muscles throughout the body, including the ones in the mouth and throat that can block the airway at night. If you choose to consume alcohol, it is best to have your last drink at least a few hours before bedtime.


Certain medications, including muscle relaxers, sleep aids, and painkillers can worsen sleep apnea. Some of them can cause blockages, while others increase the length of time that you are not breathing each time your airway gets blocked. You may want to talk to your doctor to see whether it would be safe for you to stop taking an apnea-worsening medication or if an alternative is available.

Medical Problems

Diabetes and cardiovascular disease are both associated with increased rates of sleep apnea. By doing your best to manage your overall health, you may be able to mitigate the severity of your sleep problems.


Cigarette smoke is a serious irritant for the muscles in the throat and mouth. It can cause the muscles to swell and lead to airway obstructions at night. Within weeks of quitting smoking, you may notice that it is easier for you to breathe, not just at night, but also during the day.

Sleep Position

If you sleep on your back, gravity is working against you; the muscles in your airway are more likely to collapse and cause blockages. Research has found that side sleeping is best for reducing sleep apnea symptoms.

Sleep Deprivation

If you are not getting enough sleep, your body may try to make up for lost shuteye by launching into REM sleep right after you drift off. REM sleep makes your body more relaxed, which in turn can cause airway blockages. Keeping up with recommended sleep apnea therapy, and practicing good sleep hygiene, can help to address this issue.


Enlarged tonsils, a deviated septum, or other anatomical issues can contribute to sleep apnea. Surgery may be necessary to correct these defects, but in most cases, standard sleep apnea therapy is enough to allow patients to breathe easily throughout the night.

Are any of the above factors contributing to your sleep apnea? Taking appropriate steps to manage such issues can help you enjoy the high-quality rest your body needs.

About the Author

Dr. Kenneth Mogell is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. He focuses on providing oral sleep appliances, which are an effective alternative to CPAP therapy. If you would like to speak to Dr. Mogell about how you can cope with sleep apnea, contact our office at 561-394-9000.

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