Sleep Improvement Programme for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

obstructive sleep apnoea management

What is the Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
Sleep Improvement Programme?

The Sleep Improvement Programme for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a process that helps improve the oxygen desaturation caused by OSA.The programme includes teaching you ways of both improving your oxygen levels through sleep training and exercise to improve the muscles of the face and neck.

It is based on BrainWorking Recursive Therapy processes. It's aim is to assist with the management of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). It has been developed by experienced therapist, and sleep apnoea sufferer, Terence Watts.

Terence researched and developed this programme after being diagnosed with severe OSA. He didn’t want to use a Continual Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, so Terence being Terence, started to research his options and developed this programme which is now available to other’s with the same condition.

Through following the process he developed, Terence managed to reduce his OSA from severe to mild. It is most likely to benefit those with mild to moderate OSA. It can also be followed by those who, like Terence, don’t want to use a CPAP machine.

IMPORTANT - this programme is not a cure for OSA. It may help to improve breathing and sleeping patterns of those with OSA and therefore have a positive impact on their overall health and well being.

The processes learned during this programme will need to be used throughout your life in order to maintain the improvement in your OSA. It is not a cure for OSA.  

Before following this programme your doctor will be contacted to ensure they are aware of the work you are doing in relation to your OSA. 

What does the Sleep Improvement Programme consist of?

 The programme consists of:

  • Ground work - recording your sleep sounds before we start the sessions.This is so you can hear what you sound like when you stop and start breathing again.
  • Specific exercises of the tongue and jaw to strengthen and firm up the surrounding tissue.
  • A short pre-sleep routine designed to increase responsiveness to the work of this programme.
  • Wearing a small device nightly on the finger or thumb that is set to vibrate a warning when the blood oxygen level drops below a pre-set amount which is determined by the user of the device, and which records the sleep patterns and drops. The recommended devices are shown at the end of the page. You will need to purchase this in order to undertake this programme.
  • Building the programme into your everyday life.

Like any new routine, it can take time to firm up the muscles and learn to respond to the blood oxygen monitor, whilst you sleep. You wouldn't go to the gym three or four times and expect to be able to lift the heaviest weights or run the fastest speed on the running machine. Specially if you were new to the exercises. And just like keeping fit, you need to exercise regularly to keep those muscles in good shape. That is why, even if it seems that your OSA has gone, you still need to keep doing the exercises.

Sleep Apnoea effects our breathing

What is Sleep Apnoea or Apnea ?

There are two types of Sleep Apnoea:

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
During sleep the muscles around the jaw and neck relax meaning that the tongue flops into the back of the throat, blocking the oesophagus so you can’t breathe. This most often happens when lying on your back. Eventually the drop in oxygen triggers the brain to respond by waking you up.
There are two sub-types of OSA
  • Apnoea – your throat muscles and tongue relax and collapse sufficiently to totally block the oesophagus for ten seconds or longer.
  • Hypopnoea – where the oesphagus is partially blocked. This leads to a reduction in airflow of ten seconds or longer
This programme is to help with the ongoing management of OSA.

Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA)
This is caused when the brainstem fails to send the correct signals to your diaphragm which help it to expand and contract. The diaphragm is a very important muscle if it doesn’t work you stop breathing. People diagnosed with CSA need medical intervention, including artificial stimulation of the phrenic nerve to trigger them to breathe naturally.

This programme is not suitable for those with CSA.

CPAP machines can help with both for both types.

Who is likely to have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea?

OSA is more prevalent than we realise. Studies have shown that approximately 20% of adults worldwide suffer from some form of sleep-disordered breathing, with OSA being the most common type. These numbers highlight the significance of this condition and emphasise the need for effective management strategies.

The causes of OSA can vary among individuals but often include factors such as:

Being male means you're more likely to have sleep apnoea
  • Obesity
  • Anatomical abnormalities in the upper airway
  • Age-related changes in muscle tone
  • Family history of OSA
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Being male, though women can also suffer from it, more so after menopause 🙁
  • Congestion of the nose - having trouble breathing through your nose
  • Medical conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma or hormonal disorder
You can find out more from these two sites.
Mayo Clinic 
NHS Inform Website

Cases of OSA often go undiagnosed – possibly by around 80%. When it is diagnosed it is often because:

(a) a bed partner has observed one or more of the ‘stopping breathing’ events and become concerned, triggering a visit to the doctor or a sleep clinic.

(b) when the individual presents to their doctor with extreme tiredness and a sleep test is carried out.

How does having Sleep Apnoea effect you?

lying on back makes sleep apnoea worse
These are some of the symptoms:  

  • Loud snoring – though not everybody who snores has OSA
  • Stopping breathing while sleeping
  • Waking up with a headache
  • Needing to get up to urinate several times a night
  • Waking up with a dry mouth Insomnia or difficulty staying asleep
  • Frequently falling asleep during the day, even while driving
  • Brain fog, problems with concentration, mood swings
If you think you have sleep apnoea you should consult your GP.

Wearable Device to monitor your Sleep Oxygen levels

Either of these devices is suitable to use. In order to undertake this programme a wearable device, such as shown below, need to be used. If you choose to use something else, the most important things to check for are that the readings are accurate and you can track your oxygen desaturation levels AND that it has some form of vibration/buzz feedback when your oxygen level drop below a set level.

oxygen desaturation monitor

The O2 Ring

It records pulse rate and oxygen levels, and easily transfers the data to the free app for both Apple and Android mobiles, where they are stored until you delete them.

The information it provides is very comprehensive as you’ll see shortly and makes it easy to keep track of progress, especially if you transfer the data to a spreadsheet.

Link to the Viatomtech page.

monitor for oxygen desaturation in sleep apnea

Checkme O2

It performs exactly the same function and allows the warning level to be adjusted in the same way as the O2 ring.

It transfers the same data to the same app and appears, from Terence's experience, to have the same level of accuracy.

It cannot be claimed that these are medical devices, though this one is apparently used in hospitals where there is a need to continually monitor patients levels.

Click here to go to the page.

Terence has checked both devices against two of the more familiar fingertip Oxygen monitors and the results are certainly within the claimed 2%.