While CPAP is the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment, some patients simply cannot tolerate the sleep mask. Other devices may help keep airways open to reduce the number of breathing stoppages each night for improved sleep and health.
The shape of the palate and size of the tongue can contribute to airway obstruction. Oral appliances that address these issues include:
Like the sleep mask, oral devices can also take some getting used to, but consistent use is important to get the benefits of improved sleep quality.
Altering one’s body position while sleeping can help keep airways open. Since most back sleepers cannot adjust to a completely different body position while sleeping (i.e. side sleeping), pillows may be used to alter body position—usually inclining the upper body—to facilitate airway opening.
If no device works for sleep apnea treatment—including CPAP—some patients may require surgery to remove excess tissue that blocks airways. For children, this is actually the primary sleep apnea treatment in the form of removing enlarged tonsils and adenoids. In adults, it is met with mixed success.