I suffer from positional sleep apnea, which occurs when my neck collapses during sleep and narrows my airway. Is there anything I can do to help my neck relax while I sleep?

Q. How to cure positional sleep apnea due to neck collapse during REM sleep?

Answered by
Dr. Muhammad Zohaib Siddiq
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 24, 2023

Hello doctor,

I suffer from positional sleep apnea. My neck collapses (falls to the side) during REM sleep and narrows my airway. It is causing me to have a lot of anxiety and weakness during the day. In addition, I have shortness of breath when doing anything strenuous. I believe the high CO2 level in my blood is contributing to these problems. I have tried a CPAP machine, but it did not help my neck problem. I do wake up sometimes with high adrenaline or BP in the middle of the night, probably from not breathing. My O2 levels when awake and sitting or standing are fine. My O2 levels also drop when I lie on my back. A year ago, I had a sleep study, which revealed that I had severe sleep apnea. Unfortunately, because this was a virtual test with an O2 monitor, I did not have a great doctor to help me. Is there anything I can do to help manage my neck and relax while I sleep? Please help.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

I understand your concern.

While CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is often the first-line treatment for OSA (obstructive sleep apnea), it may not be effective in all cases, especially if the collapse of the airway is due to anatomical factors such as the position of the neck. Other treatment options may include positional therapy, which involves sleeping in a specific position to keep your airway open, or oral appliances, which reposition your jaw and tongue to keep your airway open. Surgery is sometimes necessary to correct anatomical abnormalities contributing to your symptoms. Additionally, practicing good sleep hygiene, such as avoiding alcohol and sedatives before bed and maintaining a regular sleep schedule, can help improve your symptoms.

I hope this will help you out.

Thanks and regards.

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