Click Here to Learn More About Our Advanced Safety Protocols
Find Out if You Have Sleep Apnea »

Making Matters Worse: 5 Ways to Increase Sleep Apnea

May 3, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drromack @ 3:02 pm
tired man covering his face in bed

If you suffer from sleep apnea, you know just how frustrating and tiring it can be. But did you know that some actions you take in your life can bump sleep apnea up to another level entirely? Obstructive sleep apnea can afflict anyone for various reasons, but the following factors can make symptoms worse or increase the severity of this condition.

Obesity or Weight Gain

Excess weight is one of the most important determinants of sleep apnea. In fact, about 70 percent of sleep apnea sufferers are overweight or obese. When an obese person goes to sleep, the muscles relax, and the pressure from excess fat can block airflow, leading to more and longer lapses in breathing. Obesity also increases the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, which are also primary concerns with sleep apnea. On the other hand, working to maintain a healthy weight can take pressure off your airway, allowing you to breathe more freely while you sleep.


Unfortunately, aging is an inevitable part of life, and it can come with a higher risk of sleep conditions. Years and experience can bring easier weight gain, declining heart health, hormonal changes, and more. You can’t stop the aging process, but to manage it better, you should talk with your doctor about your medications, exercise regularly, and keep a regular sleep schedule without too many naps to try to control your sleeping patterns.

Sleeping Position

Do you sleep on your back? In this position, your tongue can slide backward, obstructing the airway. On your side, however, your neck tissues and tongue won’t interfere with your breathing. Adjusting your position in bed could help ease your sleep apnea symptoms. To help make the transition to your side easier, you can use pillows to position your body gently and comfortably.


Alcohol doesn’t just help you relax mentally—it physically relaxes your muscles, including those in your throat. As a result, drinking close to bedtime can result in more apnea episodes throughout the night. If you drink, just make sure you stop several hours before you go to sleep to reduce its influence on your sleep apnea.

Certain Medications

If you take muscle relaxants, opioids or other painkillers, or sleep aids, you could exacerbate sleep apnea symptoms. These medications force you to relax, including your respiratory system, muscles, and other areas of the body, leading to more snoring and less consistent breathing.

In the end, even if you do everything right, you may still have sleep apnea symptoms; however, being aware of what aggravates the condition can help you know ways to ease it and get a good night’s rest.

About the Author

Since earning her dental degree from the Baylor College of Dentistry, Dr. Deborah Romack has taken many hours of advanced training in sleep dentistry, TMJ-related issues, and orthodontics. She enjoys helping patients overcome sleep apnea and have better days because of better nights. She is also a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. To meet with Dr. Romack, you can contact Weatherford Dental Sleep Medicine, online or call the office at 817-594-3806.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

114 W Columbia St., Weatherford, TX 76086 USA
Deborah A. Romack, DDS Weatherford, TX dentist providing sleep apnea therapy. (817) 594-3806