For those suffering from sleep apnea, who want to avoid medication and have rather full schedules, a sleep apnea chin strap might be the perfect thing for you, in order to regulate breathing and sleep comfortably.
What Is A Sleep Apnea Chin Strap?
Some people get very apprehensive about the term “chin strap” and envision bulky headgear. This is far from the case and in reality, they are comfortable and when used correctly can provide a very significant reduction in symptoms of sleep apnea.
A sleep apnea chin strap is a very lightweight and flexible strap – adjustable and easily fastened with Velcro that fits under the chin and behind the head. There are many models and colors, some with foam padding, and others with special holders for earphones so you can listen to music or audio books. It is a great CPAP alternative.
How Does Chin Strap Devices Help Combat Sleep Apnea?
To answer how the chin strap works, we must first get some background on the condition itself. Sleep apnea during your sleep.
As you sleep, your jaw muscles relax, and you switch to breathing through your mouth, instead of through your nose. In mild cases, this just results in heavy snoring.
However, because you also tend to swallow unconsciously, your tongue and the muscles in your throat get caught between the two actions, and you stop breathing for a short period of time.
Those with severe sleep apnea are prone to such things as memory loss, mood swings, the inability to focus, and even respiratory problems. The reason for this is because your brain is cut off from airflow during these bouts of sleep apnea.
The chin strap prevents your mouth from falling open while your sleep.
A sleep apnea chin strap is also so comfortable and lightweight that it will not prevent you from getting to sleep.
The straps themselves are adjustable, so you can make them as firm or as loose as you’d like. By keeping your mouth shut while you sleep, the chin strap ensures a constant and gentle flow of air as you breathe through your nostrils.
Clinical Studies With Sleep Apnea Chin Straps
Back in 2010, a clinical study was run to put a sleep apnea chin strap to the test in its effectiveness in decreasing bouts of obstructed breathing and increasing a regular flow of air during a period of sleep.
The study showed that in people suffering from sleep apnea, the chin strap opened airway passages to the lungs that would get cut off frequently during a regular sleep period. Since the results were published, the popularity of sleep apnea chin straps began to skyrocket, with many manufacturers making various ergonomic improvements over the original models.
What to Look For When Buying a Sleep Apnea Chin Strap
The very first thing you want to do before even looking at sleep apnea chin straps is take two measurements. The first measurement will be the circumference of your head around the temples, as if you were buying a hat.
The second measurement will be the circumference around your head from your scalp to underneath your chin. Depending on the configuration of the chin strap you want, you are going to need one or both of those measurements to make sure you are getting a chin strap that will fit you comfortably.
From there, you can decide on color, features – such as foam padding, built in noise reducers for your ears, headphone holders, etc. and brand name. Most importantly, you should always read customer reviews before purchasing a sleep apnea chin strap. Customer reviews will give you a good indication as to how effective certain chin straps are when compared to other sleep apnea chin straps.