From Marijuana to Didgeridoo : 15 Proven Sleep Apnea Treatments

Let’s face it; CPAP works wonders for those people who keep using it, but CPAP isn’t for everyone.

So what are the alternatives?

Lifestyle Changes
Keep Your Nose Clear
Change How You Sleep
Oral Appliances
Chin Straps
Winx Machine
Windwind Treatment
Throat Exercises

1. Lifestyle Changes

Lose Weight

I hate this one: it seems like every health problem can be solved by losing weight, but it may reduce the fat in and around your throat which will improve your airway.

Avoid Alcohol and Sleeping Pills

You’re not getting sleep because of your apnea and take sleeping pills to get a good nights sleep. Both the alcohol and sleeping pills relax the muscles and soft tissue in the back of your throat which allow the throat to close up. Viscous circle.


Even 30 minutes of exercise — most days — has shown to improve your symptoms.

Sleep on your side

When you sleep on your side your your tongue and soft palette don’t slide down your throat improving your apnea.

2. Keep Your Nose Clear

Use salt water (saline) each night to moisten and clear your nasal passages.

3. Change How You Sleep

This is also known as Positional Therapy.

If you’re a back sleeper then your apnea be could be caused by your tongue and soft palette slipping down your throat. By sleeping on your side you reduce the problem.

The quickest fix is you put a ball in a sock and pin the sock to the back of your pajamas. Whenever you roll over onto your pack the ball sticks into your back. This is painful so you rollover back onto your side.

4. Surgery

There are a number of surgical options. Read more…

5. Neurostimulator

This is some funky cool technology. It’s called Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation.

It works by sending a pulse of electricity to the ‘hypoglossal nerve’ which forces your throat to open. It does this every time you breath in.

It has some funky side effects like tongue weakness! But if you can’t get CPAP to work for you it is an alternative option.

6. Medication

There are two types of medicines prescribed for sleep apnea:

  • provigil (modalfinil)
  • nuvigil (arndofinil)

These pills don’t really treat sleep apnea but does help keeping you awake. This Maximum Coffee.

The sides effects of medication for sleep apnea are:

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • anxiety attacks
  • dizziness

They may also make it more difficult to fall asleep so your may up in a vicious cycle. To sleep you may also take a sleeping pill which worsens your apnea, making you more tired and having to take these pills to stay awake.

7. Oral Appliances

There are devices you put in your mouth and forces your mouth into different positions. You can use these appliances for mild to moderate sleep apnea.

They come in two types:

  • tongue holder – keeps the tongue forward in the mouth;
  • mandible¬† repositioning – is a device that makes your bottom jaw pushed forward. It also pulls the tongue forward.

The side effects of oral devices are:

  • Lot of saliva (spit)
  • Dry mouth
  • Uncomfortable.

You can buy these devices, also known as anti-snoring devices, from all over: the internet, corner store or even street vendor. But with over 80 different products and a lot of quack remedies its not easy.

The most popular is SleepAid Mouth Guard Custom Mold.

8. Chin Straps

These work like oral appliances except it is a strap around your head that pulls your chin forward. Chin straps are also very useful in CPAP treatments as it forces your mouth closed adn you don’t get dry mouth.


CPAP provides a continuous air into your mouth blowing your soft tissue and tongue apart.

10. Provent Therapy

This is a clever band-aid. It’s patch that has two plugs that fit into your nostrils.

Each plug has a tiny hole which lets air in but doesn’t allow the air to come out. This forces the body to open up your airway.

You replace the patch every night. It costs $70 to $85 per month but you don’t need a CPAP machine.

11. Winx Sleep Therapy

This is cool technology. You wear a fitted mouthpiece that blows air down your throat.

It’s like a CPAP machine without the mask. For more information go here.

12. Wind Instruments

Blowing into a woodwind instrument develops strong throat muscles which are less likely to sag when you sleep thereby preventing the blockage in the airway.

Net musically inclined? Then consider playing the didgeridoo.

13. Throat Exercises

These are specific sleep apnea exercise program to build up your throat muscles. Again like the didgeridoo stops the sagging throat muscles and tongue.

14. Acupuncture for Sleep Apnea

THE ASSA has found that acupuncture can improve your sleep apnea. It’s not certain why–and more studies need to be done–but it’s well worth a look.

15. Marijuana

Do what? I’m not joking. Dronabinal is a man-made THC: the active ingredient in marijuana. It found to be safe and with minimal side effects and reduce the number of sleep events by 30%. That’s pretty high.


CPAP sleep apnea treatments aren’t for everybody. But there are 15 alternatives that you can try out.