The following changes to your sleep routine and environment may help improve your sleep condition:
- Set a regular bedtime and wake-up schedule, even on weekends.
- Avoid large meal or beverages two hours before bed. A light snack may be helpful.
- Avoid stimulants -- coffee, tea, soda -- at least 6 hours before bed.
- Avoid troubling news right before bed, such as violence on TV or in the newspaper.
- Don’t nap during the day, especially after 3 pm, or take naps that last longer than one hour.
- Don’t smoke -- nicotine is a stimulant and can make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Establish relaxing before-bed routines -- take a bath, meditate, listen to soft music, or read.
- Exercise regularly and early in the day -- this helps keep the body and mind healthy. (Avoid vigorous exercise activities right before bed.)
- Make your bedroom a quiet, dark environment that is primarily a place for sleeping. Turn off all devices and screens to make it as dark as possible. Make the room cool or at a temperature conducive to sleeping. Hide your clock to avoid clock-watching, which can add stress.
- Only try to sleep when you feel sleepy. If you are still awake after 20 minutes, get up and do a relaxing activity until you feel sleepy.
- Keep a sleep log to help you identify problems or habits that prevent you from falling asleep.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, opens your airway by blowing pressured room air through a mask you wear when you sleep. This helps improve your own breathing. Masks come in different shapes and sizes, including nasal pillows, nasal masks, and full-face masks that cover your mouth and nose.
There is sometimes an adjustment period for CPAP users, which gets easier with daily use. It’s common to pull off the mask in your sleep or wake up and have difficulty falling back to sleep with the mask on. Within a few weeks, most people can adjust and sleep comfortably. If you continue to have difficulty, talk to your doctor about adjusting your pressure or selecting a different mask style.
For tips getting used to CPAP, see our CPAP Tip Information sheet.
Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP), Adaptoservoventilation (ASV), and Volume Assured Pressure Support (VAPS)
CPAP delivers a constant level of pressure as you breathe. By comparison, BiPAP, ASV, and VAPS deliver a higher pressure when you breathe in and a lower pressure when you breathe out. BiPAP provides the same pressures with every breath. ASV and VAPS continuously adjust the pressures based on your breathing pattern.
BiPAP may be helpful for patients who find the air pressure of CPAP uncomfortable. BiPAP and VAPS help increase the amount of air you breathe in and out, which can help certain conditions:
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder)
- Neuromuscular disorders
- Obesity hypoventilation
- Reduced central drive (due to narcotics)
ASV helps patients with certain types of central sleep apnea stabilize breathing patterns.
Your doctor will recommend the sleep device that is best to treat your condition
We provide timely access to high-quality care at the best value. That’s why we offer shared medical appointments (SMAs) for patients with obstructive sleep apnea.
A traditional office visit usually allows each patient 20-30 minutes with a provider. On the other hand, SMAs bring patients with common needs together with one or more health care providers at the same time. A shared appointment is 90 minutes long.
During a typical SMA, the team brings 5 to 15 patients together in a comfortable setting. Patients learn from the health care team and from each other. Our patients have been overwhelmingly satisfied with the program. They enjoy the opportunity to relate to others who deal with similar health issues, share stories, and ideas, and learn from one another.
During the shared visits, patients can also talk privately with the provider. And, a sleep technician works with each patient for CPAP and a mask fitting.
Light therapy may be used to help get your body’s daily rhythms back on track to improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Some sleep disorders may benefit from medications that help you fall asleep or stay asleep. For certain conditions, medications can help you stay awake. If you have restless legs syndrome, we may recommend an iron supplement or other medications. Your doctor will talk with you about your options.
Supplemental oxygen may help while you sleep if you suffer from central sleep apnea or low oxygen levels during sleep due to lung disease.
Depending on the root cause of your sleep disorder, we may refer you to additional specialists. For example:
- Allergists can address your sleep problems if they get worse because of allergies.
- Surgeons can address an obstruction that can be removed to improve air flow.
- Weight loss specialists can determine if your weight is a factor in your sleep problem.
- Cognitive behavior therapy specialists are the most effective treatment for some types of insomnia.
- Sleep dentists may make a mandibular advancement device -- a type of mouthguard that may help reduce obstructive sleep apnea.