The CPAP machine is basically a mask that blows air circulated from your room into your throat to keep the airway from closing. "It's the gold standard of treatment and works about 95% of the time... but the problem is only about 50% of people tolerate it," Breus says. Sure, wearing a big mask to sleep might sound annoying and uncomfortable but there's an adjustment period for everything, right? "Once people get used to the CPAP they can't sleep without it," Breus says.
Other obstructive sleep apnea treatments include "mandibular advancement devices," says Breus. These are retainer-like appliances that move the bottom jaw slightly forward to keep the airway open all night. Surgery is another option, says Breus, but unless there's a clear obstruction to fix or remove, the effectiveness of surgery is limited. Weight loss may be a part of sleep apnea treatment, but it's generally not the only fix — as obesity is a risk factor, not a direct cause.
"Treating the less common form, central sleep apnea, is very difficult because you essentially have to teach the brain how to breathe better," says Breus.