Often, snoring and sleep apnea are more severe when the person is sleeping on their back, as in this position gravity is pulling the tongue and soft palette backwards into the airway, obstructing the airway more than when they are on their side or on their front. Our sleep studies include positional data and show any variation in snoring or OSA severity between sleeping on your back and on your side/front. In some cases, the solution to snoring or OSA can be as simple as using a positional device which ensures the patient remains on their side during the entirety of their sleep. Sometimes a combination of a MAS and a positional device is recommended, as sleep apnea may be severe while sleeping on the back but only moderate on the side.
Positional devices are available to buy from CPAP dealers or online, or home-made remedies can work for those on a more modest budget. A tennis ball strapped against the back, a backpack full of clothes or pillows propped up in such a way as to keep you off your back are all possible solutions. Anything that allows you to comfortably sleep on your side and discourages or, better still, disallows you to sleep on your back can help train your body to stay off the back during sleep so that in time the device is no longer required. You can think of positional devices as training wheels for sleeping in the correct position.