Sleep apnea and caffeine: Any connection?

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Sleep apnea and caffeine: Any connection?

Question

My husband decided to stop drinking soda. Since then, his obstructive sleep apnea has improved. Is there research to support a connection between sleep apnea and caffeine?

Caryl
Canada

Answer

Researchers haven't implicated caffeine as a factor that causes or aggravates obstructive sleep apnea. In one study, however, caffeine seemed to improve mental alertness in people who have obstructive sleep apnea. In addition, caffeine is sometimes prescribed for premature infants to reduce episodes of interrupted breathing during sleep.

These lifestyle changes may help manage some cases of obstructive sleep apnea:

  • Lose excess weight.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Avoid medications that relax the muscles in the back of the throat.
  • Sleep on your side or stomach rather than on your back.

Often, however, devices are needed to keep the airway open. In other cases, surgery is recommended.

Last Updated: 2010-10-01
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