Man at a campsite, laying in a hammockSnoring and sleep apnea are caused by a partial or full collapse of your airway during sleep. We already know that this is to some extent influenced by your sleeping position. So what if you change your sleeping position even more by changing the way you sleep, such as switching to a hammock, which elevates your head and feet in an approximation of the semi-Fowler’s position. This position is recommended to help with breathing, and is even recommended for managing postoperative complications for sleep apnea patients.

If this works, it might be a great alternative for some people. Even if you don’t end up sleeping in a hammock at home, it might be a great option for camping and canoeing trips where a CPAP machine just isn’t practical. But will sleeping in a hammock really help your sleep apnea?

Retailers’ Claims and Anecdotal Evidence

The problem with this topic, as with many sleep apnea topics is that there just hasn’t been enough research done on the subject. In fact, it seems that nobody’s specifically studied the link between hammock sleeping and snoring or sleep apnea. But that doesn’t stop hammock retailers from making the claim, which you can see in this blog and hear in this video.

Surely some people have tried it, though, so what are their experiences? This forum collects experiences of hammock sleepers talking about snoring. It turns out that some people snore less, some people snore more, and others snore about the same. This makes sense, and matches the experience of people sleeping with their head elevated.

Will It Work for You?

The only way to find out how different sleeping situations affect your sleep apnea is to test them. Most sleep centers don’t have a hammock, but they do have adjustable beds so you can be tested sleeping with your head elevated. You might also try doing an at-home test with your own hammock, if you have one.

However, it’s unlikely that sleeping in a hammock will resolve your sleep apnea adequately so you can do without CPAP. The best solution for a portable sleep apnea treatment is an oral appliance, which is portable and requires no batteries. And they’re all-weather, unlike hammocks, which can get a little chilly in the winter.

If you want to learn more about oral appliances for sleep apnea, please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist.