What Aggravates Sleep Apnea?

Do you snore loudly or feel exhausted after getting a good night’s rest? It might be time to discuss symptoms of sleep apnea with a doctor. Over 18 million adults in the U.S. have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in the U.S., according to the National Sleep Foundation. For most individuals who suffer from sleep-disordered breathing, their sleep apnea may go undiagnosed. 

Discover why sleep apnea can be dangerous. 

The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

Untreated sleep apnea can result in high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, obesity, memory loss, parasomnias, and insulin resistance. Furthermore, there’s a link between severe sleep apnea, drops in oxygen blood levels, and premature death. If you suspect this disorder, you should consult with your doctor to obtain a diagnosis so that you can prevent further complications.

Learn more about aggravating factors that can impact OSA in today’s blog.

Sleeping the Wrong Way

Although there is no “right” way to sleep, individuals with OSA must avoid sleeping in certain positions. A sleep exam might reveal that sleeping on your back leads to increased disrupted breathing. Individuals who sleep this way run the risk of experiencing collapsed soft tissues in their airways, which can block the passage of air. For some people, the use of positional therapy to stay asleep on their sides can be helpful. 

Consuming Too Much Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can negatively impact your sleep if you have OSA. Although this substance might make you feel sleepy, it can lead to insomnia as it exits your system. Additionally, if you mix alcohol with muscle relaxants, it can make your upper airways more collapsible. Fortunately, you can control this risk factor. It’s best to avoid drinking before bedtime. 

Gaining Weight

Gaining weight to the point of becoming overweight or obese may have a significant impact on your sleep apnea. If your airways are already narrow, the deposition of fat at your tongue’s base and along the airway can worsen your condition. Losing weight can help reduce your snoring and sleep apnea. Your doctor can help you develop a diet and exercise plan to help you safely lose weight. 


Aging can worsen an individual’s sleep apnea, but this factor is out of one’s control. Since you lose muscle tone in your arms and legs, you also lose definition within your airway; this can compromise its ability to stay open. On the bright side, the incidence of this condition typically levels off at around age 65.

How Can I Reduce the Risks?

Although you can reduce several of the risks that aggravate sleep apnea, some are out of your control. Discuss the risks you face with your sleep specialist to find the ideal solution for you. You may need to use an oral appliance or a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help you get the best rest possible. 

Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah Can Help

If you have sleep apnea, you know how much this condition interferes with your daily life, both in your sleep and while you’re awake. People with OSA are more susceptible to unknowingly damaging their teeth and may develop bruxism (teeth grinding). 

If you receive a sleep apnea diagnosis, consult with an oral surgeon to determine if you have an oral condition that requires oral surgery. At Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah, our board-certified oral surgeons specialize in tooth extraction, dental implant insertion, corrective jaw surgery, and more. We have offices in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan, and Tooele. Schedule your free consultation today. 

What Aggravates Sleep Apnea?