New ways to conquer sleep apnea compete for place in bedroom

It’s been two decades since doctors fully recognized the health consequences of sleep apnea, but there still isn’t a treatment that most people find easy to use.

People with sleep apnea stop breathing during sleep, then awake with loud gasping and snoring. They are more likely than others to have strokes, heart attacks and heart rhythm problems, and they’re more likely to die prematurely.

Airway pressure masks are the most common therapy, but many people won’t use them. About 5 million Americans have tried the masks, but up to a third gave up during the first several years because of discomfort and inconvenience.

Now, new remedies including mouthpieces and a surgical implant are vying for a place in the bedrooms of millions of people craving a good night’s sleep.