Position Therapy for Treating Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Last updated: September 19th, 2023

What is Positional Therapy?

Positional therapy is a method used to help eliminate snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. This noninvasive technique is often overlooked by those who look for other treatments, such as the CPAP machine or oral appliances.

How does Positional Therapy Work?

Research shows that those with sleep apnea have more apneic events while sleeping in the supine position (on the back, facing up). Positional therapy addresses this by encouraging sleepers to sleep on their side, avoiding their back. Thus, positional therapy works by taking advantage of gravity, so that the tongue muscle along with any excessive fatty neck tissue shifts to the side, instead of backward, creating an opening in the airway and facilitating breathing.

How can I Remain on my Side While Sleeping?

There are various devices available to help people remain on their side while sleeping. One of the most inexpensive solutions is to create a homemade device by attaching a tennis ball within an old sock to the center back of a tight-fitting t-shirt or pajamas. When one tries to roll over in their sleep, the tennis ball will poke into their back, making rolling over an uncomfortable position. Another option is to use anti-snoring pillows, which have an outer shape that encourages people to sleep on their side.

There are also devices such as the Rem-A-Tee and Zzoma belt, which strap around one's chest and make rollover physically impossible. Finally, there is the Side Sleeper Pro, which is a wedge pillow design intended to encourage side sleeping in a comfortable position.


Positional therapy is a simple, effective, and inexpensive method of controlling the effects of OSA and snoring. Though it may not work for everyone, it can provide significant relief and can also be used in conjunction with popular treatments such as CPAP or Oral Appliance.

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