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What is the "tennis ball technique" and how does it help sleep apnea?

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Sleeping on your side may improve your symptoms. To keep you off your back, some doctors suggest you pin a tube sock filled with a couple of tennis balls to the back of your PJs.

One study of the tennis ball technique showed it did help some people. Of the 50 people who used the method and reported back, 38% said they were still doing it after 6 months. They said they had better sleep quality, more daytime alertness, and quieter snoring.

SOURCES:

Bollig, S. Respiratory Care, September, 2010.

Oksenberg, A. Laryngoscope, November, 2006.

Vanderveken, O. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, July 15, 2008.

Ryan, S. Journal of Sleep Research, online July 28, 2010.

Sheri Katz, DDS, past president, American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine; private practice dentist, Decatur, Ga.

Nancy Collop, MD, 2011-12 president, American Academy of Sleep Medicine; director, Emory University Sleep Center, and professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga.

National Sleep Foundation: "Sleep Apnea and Sleep."

American Sleep Apnea Association: “Treatment Options for Adults With Obstructive Sleep Apnea.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on June 14, 2020

SOURCES:

Bollig, S. Respiratory Care, September, 2010.

Oksenberg, A. Laryngoscope, November, 2006.

Vanderveken, O. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, July 15, 2008.

Ryan, S. Journal of Sleep Research, online July 28, 2010.

Sheri Katz, DDS, past president, American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine; private practice dentist, Decatur, Ga.

Nancy Collop, MD, 2011-12 president, American Academy of Sleep Medicine; director, Emory University Sleep Center, and professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga.

National Sleep Foundation: "Sleep Apnea and Sleep."

American Sleep Apnea Association: “Treatment Options for Adults With Obstructive Sleep Apnea.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on June 14, 2020

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