Alternatives to CPAP Therapy for Sleep Apnea

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is a common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Like any medical intervention, there are both pros and cons associated with using a CPAP machine:


  1. Effective Treatment – CPAP therapy is highly effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea. It helps to keep the airway open during sleep, preventing pauses in breathing and improving oxygen levels.
  2. Improved Sleep Quality – By reducing sleep disturbances caused by sleep apnea, CPAP therapy can lead to better sleep quality. This results in increased energy levels, improved mood, and enhanced brain function during the day.
  3. Reduced Health Risks – Treating sleep apnea with CPAP therapy can help reduce the risk of associated health problems, such as hypertension, stroke, and diabetes.
  4. Customizable Settings – CPAP machines offer customizable settings to adjust airflow pressure and comfort features. This allows users to find the most comfortable and effective treatment settings for their needs.
  5. Portable Options – There are now portable CPAP machines available, making it easier for individuals to stick to their treatment regimen even when traveling.


  1. Adjustment Period – CPAP machines can take some getting used to. The usual difficulties include discomfort from wearing a mask, dryness or congestion in the nose or throat, and difficulty falling asleep.
  2. Mask Fitting – Finding the right mask that fits comfortably and securely can be challenging for some users. Mask discomfort, irritation, or air leaks can occur, leading to potential skin irritation or pressure sores.
  3. Claustrophobia – Some individuals may feel claustrophobic or anxious, particularly if they are not accustomed to wearing something over their face during sleep.
  4. Compliance Issues – Sticking to CPAP therapy consistently can be difficult for some individuals. This may be due to discomfort, inconvenience, or difficulty adjusting to sleeping with the machine.
  5. Maintenance Requirements – CPAP machines require regular maintenance, including cleaning and replacing filters, tubing, and mask components. This is to ensure optimal performance and hygiene.

Overall, while CPAP therapy is highly effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea, it may not be suitable for everyone. There can be challenges associated with consistent use. But for many, the pros of CPAP therapy outweigh the cons, leading to improved health and quality of life.

Consult your doctor to determine the best approach for you.

What Are the Alternatives to CPAP Therapy?

Many individuals with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) breathe through their mouths due to nasal blockages. This can lead to discomfort with CPAP therapy.

Consider these options instead:

Oral Devices and Mouth Guards

Oral appliances offer a less cumbersome alternative to CPAP therapy, functioning akin to mouth guards. These devices stabilize the tongue and advance the lower jaw, preventing airway obstruction during sleep. Particularly effective for mild to moderate OSA, customized fitting is crucial to avoid jaw issues and worsening symptoms.

Difiney Anti-Snoring Device

vitalsleep for sleep apnea

The Difiney Anti-Snoring Device instantly stops snoring by moving the lower jaw forward, opening the airway for improved breathing without the sound of snoring.

It molds to your teeth for maximum comfort and features a custom fit with an open front design for full airflow. The adjustable lower tray allows for precise advancement of the lower jaw up to 4 mm, offering easy adjustment for optimal results.

With no need for appointments or doctor visits, Difiney offers a cost-effective solution for better sleep.

Amazon Review: “This snore guard is impressive. You can make adjustments for your jaw. I have an overbite but because I can adjust it it’s super comfortable. Lightweight and easy to adjust in the mouth. I am so happy with mine that I’m ordering a second one.”

Good Morning Snore Solution Mouthpiece

Good Morning Snore Solution

Crafted for Comfort: This snoring mouth guard offers a perfect fit, ensuring a secure and comfortable experience every night. It gently holds your tongue forward, keeping airways open and reducing snoring.

The main benefits of this device are the multiple size options, no boil and bite process, and no jaw displacement. As with any mouthpiece, allow 3-4 weeks for adjustment.

The Good Morning mouthpiece is also clinically validated, as it is developed by sleep researcher Dr. Leslie Dort.

Amazon Review: “This mouthpiece has completely stopped my snoring when sleeping on my side, and reduced my snoring by 95% when sleeping on my back. I go to bed with it in my mouth, and wake up with it still in my mouth with little discomfort. With this device, I can sleep an entire night without interruption. Seriously. Can you believe it?…”

Skyloa Anti-Snoring Device

This Anti-Snoring mouthpiece is a high quality device that is BPA-free, odor-free and latex-free. It is made with durable materials for long-lasting wear and includes a free antibacterial container.

It effectively solves for snoring by moving the lower jaw forward, preventing the muscles from collapsing in the airway. This stops snoring right in its tracks by ensuring an open airway for air to flow freely.

The Anti-Snoring Device is designed to be flexible and easily molded or remolded to follow the shape of your teeth for a custom and comfortable fit. It can also help prevent teeth grinding at night and symptoms of dry mouth.

Amazon Review: “This is the one product out of multiple products I have tried that actually works to stop my snoring. It fits well and isn’t huge and bulky like all the other ones. I recommend this 100%”

Other Alternatives:

Anti-Snoring Chin Strap

chin strap

If you have mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea, you can also use an anti-snoring chin strap. It’s designed to address the root cause of snoring by keeping your mouth closed at night. This encourages nasal breathing and restricts the inflow of air into your throat, minimizing the vibrations that lead to the unpleasant noise of snoring.

This particular anti-snoring chin strap is equipped with an adjustable strap, ensuring a customized fit for all head shapes and sizes. Say goodbye to worries about the strap being too big or too small—simply adjust for the perfect fit and enjoy uninterrupted sleep all night long. Your partner will thank you!

Crafted from premium-quality breathable neoprene, this chin strap ensures maximum comfort without sweat, odor, or itching. The unique all-round stitching prevents tearing and extends the lifespan of the product, so you can continue to experience the benefits night after night.

Amazon Review: “I did not buy this to stop snoring. I use it with my CPAP mask as I open my mouth while sleeping. It definitely helps keep my mouth closed during the night. I am not sure I will like wearing it in the summer as I find the material a bit thick. You need to adjust it tightly for it to do it’s function.”

Neti Pot Sinus Rinse Kit

saline drops for sleep apnea

You might be wondering, okay what if I don’t want to wear any masks, straps or devices in my mouth, what other options are there?

Then let me introduce you to nasal sinus rinses! This simple yet effective solution involves using saline water to wash your sinuses, removing any blockages and reducing inflammation as well. It’s also great for dealing with sinus congestion and mucus during times of illness, and it’s even safe enough for children over the age of 8.

This particular product is great if you’re looking for a cheap and portable option. It’s easy to clean, dishwasher-safe, and the angled nozzle minimizes the need to tilt your head during use, using atmospheric pressure to gently and comfortably guide water through your nasal passages without causing irritation.

Keep in mind though, that nasal rinsing won’t resolve your breathing problems if you have underlying structural issues with your nose or airway (such as a deviated septum). Consult your doctor about whether surgery is the right option for you.

Amazon Review: “I have been congested for weeks and I had enough so I decided to buy this product. OMG it worked. I can finally breathe through my nostrils.”

Navage Nasal Irrigation System

If you’ve tried neti-pots and squeeze bottles before and they didn’t work for you, this is a more effective (but pricier) option.

Naväge is the world’s only nose cleaner with powered suction to flush out allergens, mucus, dust and germs. Unlike neti pots and nasal squeeze bottles that push saline through your nose, Naväge pulls. It’s like the difference between a broom and a vacuum!  Safe and effective, fast and convenient, Naväge brings 21st century technology to a time-proven therapy.

Even better, if you irrigate regularly you will rely less on prescription drugs and decongestants like pseudo-ephedrine, make fewer doctor visits, breathe better through your nose, snore less, sleep deeper, and feel and be healthier!

Amazon Review: “It’s bit pricey but I believe it’s worth every penny! It came with three decently sized little bags filled with salt pods, all I did was watch a YouTube video on how to use it! The cool part is as well you can twist the nozzle around to change which nostril you want it to hit. Right away it cleared my nose! My favourite purchase lately!”

Anti-Snoring Nose Vents

Provent alternative to cpap

Nose vents, aka nasal dilators, are another cheap and easy to use option that can help some people with snoring. They don’t work for everyone, and the manufacturer says they should only be used for nose snoring, not for throat snoring.

Made of medical-grade soft silicone, nasal dilators gently widen the nostrils to maximize the airflow through your nose which helps eliminate loud nasal snores.

Amazon Review: “My snoring was starting to really affect my partner. I tried these and my snoring has been cut down by about 80%. For the first week or 10 days they didn’t seem to make a big difference but after that they did. Stick with them!

They seem awkward but they are soft to wear right from the start. For me, after a while, my nose seemed to adapt and they started to fit better and better – they went just a touch further in. I’ve been wearing them for 6 months and only twice have they ever come out. Highly recommended”


Surgery may be considered as a treatment option for sleep apnea when other conservative treatments, such as CPAP therapy or lifestyle modifications, have not been effective or are not suitable for the individual.

The goal of surgery for sleep apnea is typically to address the underlying anatomical issues contributing to airway obstruction during sleep. If you want to read about common surgical procedures for sleep apnea, there is a good summary here written by the University of Michigan Health.

You can also check out one of our in-depth articles on surgical options here.

It’s important to note that surgery for sleep apnea is typically considered a last resort and is usually reserved for cases of severe obstructive sleep apnea or when other treatments have failed. Additionally, surgery may not be suitable for everyone and carries risks and potential complications, so it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment approach for individual needs.

Myofunctional Therapy

Myofunctional therapy involves the use of exercise routines to help strengthen or relax the muscles in the mouth or throat. The oropharynx involves the mouth, upper throat, and tongue and aids in breathing, eating and talking. Sleep specialists often use throat and mouth exercises, also known as oropharyngeal or orofacial exercises, to help correct breathing difficulties. Even orthodontists and dentists use these exercises to toughen the muscles in the throat and the mouth and also to treat problems with jaw alignment. The benefit of these exercises is that they cost nothing, are drug-free, and non-invasive. Check out our in-depth article on myofunctional therapy here.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes can play a significant role in managing sleep apnea and improving sleep quality. These changes focus on reducing risk factors and promoting overall health. This can not only help ease symptoms, but also decrease the severity of sleep apnea. Some beneficial lifestyle changes include:

  1. Weight loss – Excess weight, especially around the neck, can contribute to airway obstruction and worsen sleep apnea. Losing weight through a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise can help reduce symptoms.
  2. Regular exercise – Physical activity can help improve muscle tone, including the muscles in the throat that support the airway. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
  3. Avoiding alcohol and sedatives – Alcohol and certain medications can relax the muscles in the throat, increasing the risk of airway obstruction during sleep. Limiting or avoiding alcohol and sedatives, especially close to bedtime, can help improve sleep quality.
  4. Quitting smoking – Smoking can worsen inflammation and fluid buildup in the airway, making sleep apnea symptoms more severe. Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of complications associated with sleep apnea.
  5. Sleeping position – Sleeping flat on your back can exacerbate symptoms by causing the tongue and soft tissues in the throat to collapse backward. Sleeping on your side, or with the head elevated, may help reduce the frequency and severity of episodes.
  6. Regular sleep schedule – Consistency is key for maintaining healthy sleep patterns. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends, can help regulate the body’s internal clock and improve sleep quality.

Remember, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized recommendations on managing your sleep apnea effectively.


CPAP is the standard treatment for OSA, but it is not the only treatment. If you have tried a CPAP device, and it did not work for you, ask your doctor for other options, such as oral devices or surgery. In addition to getting OSA treatment, try to maintain healthy lifestyle habits. Losing weight, exercising regularly, and managing stress can help you get a more restful sleep.

4 thoughts on “Alternatives to CPAP Therapy for Sleep Apnea”

  1. Can you use a nasal pillow or a hybrid mask? If you can’t, there are some CPAP pillows that can accommodate the mask.

  2. I tried an oral appliance that was made by a dental sleep specialist. Personally, I hated it and went back to CPAP. But everyone is different.

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