Positional Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It’s a Thing

positional sleep apnea, back sleeper, therapy, side sleeper

If your bed partner’s snoring worsens when on their back, chances are you may have heard of positional obstructive sleep apnea.  Positional Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a common sleep disorder. Luckily, the proper treatment can improve sleep quality for everyone in the room!


Sound familiar?

Research confirms that sleeping on your back increase the severity and frequency of obstructions relative to lying on one’s side. The below paragraph is a direct quote from the American Sleep Association to help understand why snoring worsens when sleeping on your back.

“Positional obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the majority of apneic episodes can be attributed to sleep position.  When you are in a supine sleep position, lying flat on your back, the shape and size of your upper airway are altered. This sleep position, combined with gravity, increases the likelihood of obstructing the airway. With positional obstructive sleep apnea, the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), which measures the severity of obstructive sleep apnea, is often twice as high as opposed to other sleep positions. It is thought that about 50 percent of people with obstructive sleep apnea have positional obstructive sleep apnea.”

That is because it works.  With increased attention to obstructive and central sleep apnea, there are several products to aid those with positional sleep apnea. Positional Therapy methods vary in price and sophistication.  From keeping a tennis ball in the middle of your back (about $5 for 3) to the “wedge” pillow pictured below, there are many strategies to avoid the supine sleep position.

In Conclusion

And if you enjoyed today’s article, be sure to visit our blog for more fun and educational content! You can also check out all “sleep education” related articles for more sleep educating material.

Unsure if you are at risk for a sleep disorder, like obstructive sleep apnea? Take the quick 8-question STOP-Bang questionnaire here! Ready to “Sleep Like You Mean It”? Schedule your FREE consultation today!


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