When people come in to treatment with me for insomnia, I also try to identify if they are at risk for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder where breathing is compromised during sleep.

Having heard about how hard it is to sleep with the facemask a CPAP (constant positive air pressure) machine requires, often a client’s first reaction is to shy away from treatment. Not seeing a doctor to fully evaluate your sleep apnea could lead to further health concerns. These include memory loss, heart trouble, high blood pressure, weight gain and other issues.

There are alternatives to CPAP devices for sleep apnea. A recently-developed one is the Philips NightBalance Lunoa system. If your sleep apnea occurs when you sleep on your back, you might ask your doctor about this device. Light and only a few inches long, a sleeper wears it on his chest using an elastic belt. The NightBalance senses when you’re sleeping on your back and gently vibrates without waking you up. People who have used it have told me it’s very effective for keeping them on their side while sleeping. It’s a prescription device so you’ll need a doctor’s approval for one.

Another device is called Provent. Worn in the nose, the device claims to make your breathing during sleep more effective. A physician told me about Provent, although I don’t yet know anyone who’s used it.

If using a CPAP machine is too onerous and you’re not experiencing restful sleep, you might want to consider one of these alternatives.

Disclaimer: I have no financial connection with the manufacturers of either the NightBalance or Provent devices. Only a doctor can prescribe them for you.