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Tip 4: Tend to Your Allergies

Not surprisingly, being stuffed up from nasal allergies can complicate sleep apnea and make sleep more difficult.

To understand why, picture your airway as a long, muscular tube running from your nose to your windpipe. If your allergies are not under control, the tissues of the upper throat swell and narrow the airway. And that can make breathing more difficult.

If you have sleep apnea and nasal allergies, be sure your allergies are under control. Using a Neti pot or a saline nasal spray before bed may also help.

Tip 5: Develop a Good Sleep Routine

Getting enough sleep is important to staying healthy with obstructive sleep apnea. The catch, of course, is that sleep apnea makes it difficult to get good sleep. A variety of devices designed to improve breathing for people with sleep apnea – including a CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure machine -- can help.

About half of the people with apnea have most of their breathing abnormalities while sleeping on their backs, sleep experts have found. So most doctors encourage people with sleep apnea to try to sleep in other positions.

If you have mild sleep apnea or heavy snoring, lying on your side may help. But how can you get into the habit? Some doctors suggest simply putting two tennis balls into a tube sock and pinning it to your nightshirt in back.

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