We sleep a lot. We spend around a third of their lives sleeping or trying to fall asleep. Most people derive the rest and recovery they need from the time they spend sleeping. People who live with sleep apnea, however, will never feel like they get enough sleep. 

Sleep apnea happens when the muscles in the throat relax, block the airway, and prevent the person from getting enough air. Traditionally, sleep apnea treatment includes a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. 

If you talk to anyone who lives with sleep apnea, they will likely complain about their CPAP device. It’s bulky and loud and can even push people not to get the help they need. This is not an option as there are severe health conditions –– like high blood pressure, heart problems or strokes –– associated with sleep apnea. 

Luckily, a new FDA-approved device reduces snoring and treats obstructive sleep apnea. And the best part is, it only has to be worn for 20 minutes during the day –– no more loud CPAPs devices or kinks in your tubes. This mouthpiece might just be a viable treatment alternative to traditional CPAP machines. 

Here’s What You Need To Know About The eXciteOSA Device

The FDA authorized the eXciteOSA in early February. The first of its kind, the eXciteOSA treats sleep apnea and snoring by improving the tongue muscle function. With sleep apnea, the tongue often relaxes and then collapses backward, blocking the airway. 

The device is a mouthpiece that delivers electrical stimulation to the tongue through four electrodes –– two above the tongue and two below. The electrical pulses and rest periods stimulate and strengthen the muscle. It only has to be worn for 20 minutes a day for six weeks.

Side effects reported with the eXciteOSA:

  • Pooling of saliva
  • Dental sensitivity 
  • Metallic taste
  • Gagging 
  • Tight jaw 

Does The eXciteOSA Actually Work? 

During a study of the device across 115 patients, eXciteOSA exceeded goals and achieved a 40% mean reduction in snoring time. So there’s a good chance that this device will help people with mild sleep apnea and snoring. Will it help every person living with sleep apnea? More research is needed, but that’s unlikely.  

It’s important to note that the eXciteOSA mouthpiece is only used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea or complex sleep apnea syndrome will likely not benefit from this form of treatment. Obstructive sleep apnea involves the muscles in the throat and the tongue. Central sleep apnea, on the other hand, deals with the brain not sending signals to control breathing. 

The device strengthens the tongue over time. Meaning it won’t provide immediate relief at night. You will still experience instances of breathing interruptions and feel the effects of sleep apnea. And you’ll likely still wake up tired through the six-week process. So it doesn’t provide immediate relief like a CPAP machine. 

Too Long, Didn’t Read?

The new eXciteOSA machine is a light at the end of the tunnel for people who live with sleep apnea. It works by strengthening the tongue with electrical impulses and ultimately keeping it from blocking the airway when someone falls asleep. That said, it’s only a viable treatment option for those with obstructive sleep apnea. Overall, more research is needed to determine the validity and the effectiveness of this treatment.