Central Sleep Apnea Treatment

Central sleep apnea (CSA) is when your breathing pauses or becomes very shallow while you sleep. Pauses in breathing can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may happen many times throughout the night. Central sleep apnea usually occurs when your brain doesn’t send the correct signals to control the muscles responsible for breathing.

CSA is different from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). With OSA, your breathing is interrupted by a blockage of your airway, usually when the muscles in the back of your throat fail to keep your airway open. But central sleep apnea occurs when your brain doesn’t send the correct signals to your muscles. Central sleep apnea is less common than OSA.

Central Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Central sleep apnea (CSA) is when your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Each pause in breathing, called an apnea, can last several seconds. Normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud gasp or snort. The main symptom of central sleep apnea is loud snoring. You may make choking or gasping noises as you try to breathe. Central sleep apnea can also cause insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Other Central Sleep Apnea Symptoms May Include:

  • Waking up with a headache
  • Waking up with a dry mouth
  • Waking up feeling confused or groggy
  • High blood pressure
  • Memory problems
  • Mood changes
  • Difficulty concentrating

If you have central sleep apnea, you may not be aware that you are stopping and starting your breathing during sleep. A family member or bed partner may notice the pauses in your breathing. If you think you may have central sleep apnea, please order a home sleep apnea test. We offer home sleep studies that allow you to undergo a sleep test from the comfort of your bed — you don’t have to spend a night at a sleep clinic.

Central Sleep Apnea Causes

Central sleep apnea occurs when your breathing pauses or becomes very shallow while you are asleep. This type of apnea is usually caused by problems with the way the brain signals the muscles that control your breathing. Central sleep apnea is often caused by underlying medical conditions that affect the brain or the nervous system, such as heart failure, stroke, brain tumors, and Parkinson’s disease. CSA can also be caused by certain medications that depress the central nervous system, such as sedatives and opioids.

Central Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

People who have central sleep apnea often find that the best treatment is oral appliance therapy. This therapy involves wearing a mouthpiece that helps keep the airway open during sleep. The mouthpiece is similar to a dental appliance and is custom-made for each patient. It is comfortable to wear and easy to care for. Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment for central sleep apnea and can be used alone or in combination with other treatments.

Treatments for Sleep Apnea Restless Sleep, Fatigue, and Mood Swings Are Signs of Sleep Apnea

Central Sleep Apnea Treatment FAQs

Central sleep apnea is a type of sleep apnea that occurs when your breathing regularly stops and starts during sleep. This can happen because the signals from your brain to your muscles that control your breathing are not working properly. Central sleep apnea differs from obstructive sleep apnea, which happens when your airway is blocked. Central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea. 


If you have central sleep apnea, you may snore, but you will not have the pauses in breathing that are common in obstructive sleep apnea. You may also have difficulty staying asleep. Central sleep apnea is often treated with oral appliances that open your airway. Oral appliance therapy involves wearing a custom-fit dental device that keeps your airway open, allowing you to breathe comfortably throughout the night.

There are many factors that can contribute to sleep apnea, but some groups of people are more at risk than others. People who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop sleep apnea, as are people who have close relatives with the condition. Other risk factors include smoking, drinking alcohol, and having a small airway. If you have any of these risk factors, you should talk to your doctor about your risk for sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea can have serious and even life-threatening consequences. Some of the possible long-term effects of sleep apnea include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Depression

There is no definitive answer to this question. Some sleep apnea may be related to weight, so losing weight may help. Other causes, such as allergies or a deviated septum, are more difficult to change. However, some lifestyle changes may help, such as avoiding alcohol before bed and sleeping on your side rather than your back. If you are concerned about sleep apnea, it is best to consult a doctor to discuss treatment options.

If you have sleep apnea, you may be worried about using a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. CPAP is the most common treatment for sleep apnea, but it isn’t the only option. There are oral appliances that can also be effective in treating sleep apnea. Here are some benefits of using an oral appliance for sleep apnea: 

  • Your partner will appreciate it. CPAP machines can be loud, and the masks can be bulky and uncomfortable. If you use an oral appliance, your partner can sleep better too.
  • You can take it with you when you travel because it’s small and easy to pack.
  • You will feel more comfortable using it. Some people find CPAP machines to be claustrophobic or uncomfortable. If you use an oral appliance, you don’t have to wear a mask.
  • It’s less expensive than CPAP. If you’re worried about the cost of a CPAP machine, an oral appliance may be a more affordable option.

Schedule Your Treatment for Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea Treatment is a group of state-of-the-art dental clinics specializing in sleep apnea treatment. We administer comprehensive home sleep studies that allow you to undergo a sleep apnea test from the comfort of your bed. Our dentists evaluate your test results to determine the type and severity of sleep apnea, based on which they curate a personalized treatment for central sleep apnea. Please schedule a consultation for your sleep apnea treatment in Houston.