What Is Zzoma Positional Therapy Belt for Snoring and Sleep Apnea?

Device Keeps You Sleeping on Your Sides

The Zzoma positional therapy belt keeps you off your back to reduce snoring and sleep apnea. Brandon Peters, MD

For many people, snoring or sleep apnea may be worse when you lie on your back. To correct this situation, there are devices available that can help to keep you positioned on your side during sleep. One such option is the Zzoma Positional Therapy. What is the Zzoma positional therapy device and how might the prescription belt help you to sleep better by resolving snoring and sleep apnea?

What is Zzoma Positional Therapy?

Zzoma is a device manufactured by 2Z Medical for the treatment of mild to moderate positional sleep apnea.

It is available by prescription only and costs $189.95. The device is a large foam block covered with a washable outer fabric that is placed on the body with a Velcro strap. It’s outer surface is uneven with a large prominence that, when centered over the back, makes it uncomfortable to stay in that position. You will rock back and forth and the pressure may encourage you to turn onto your sides while you are asleep.

The device is meant to be fitted as high over your chest as possible, with the strap sitting right under your arms. It is not intended to be worn at the waist. It will stay in place best if you wear a more tightly fitted cotton shirt underneath it to sleep.

The outer fabric can be removed to be cleaned. It should be hand washed with cold water and mild detergent and be allowed to air dry.

Who Might Benefit from Zzoma?

This treatment is best for people who have sleep apnea that is clearly positional.

If you have had a diagnostic sleep study that demonstrates sleep apnea that only occurs when you are supine, or lying on your back, this may be an attractive option for you. It is not recommended for severe sleep apnea treatment. It will only work to reduce the time that you spend on your back, and if you still have significant sleep apnea when lying on your sides, it will not correct this.

It will also reduce the risk of snoring if this predominately occurs on your back.

Risks and Alternatives to Zzoma

It may not be the best treatment option if you suffer from back pain when you sleep on your sides. With the device secured in place, you will not be able to roll easily across your back, and instead you must roll on your stomach. If you have physical limitations or conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, your movements may be further limited with the device in place. Do not continue use if pain or discomfort results.

In general, it is recommended that you try the device for 2 weeks before judging whether it is effective for you. You may experience some insomnia during this adjustment period, especially if you frequently slept on your back previously. It may be necessary to assess its effectiveness with a sleep study.

An alternative to purchasing the Zzoma Positional Therapy is to sew a tennis ball into the back of an old t-shirt. You could also try wearing a backpack to bed. This will likewise be uncomfortable if you roll onto your back and will help you to sleep on your sides.

You may be able to improve positioning with the use of pillows. In addition, raising the head of the bed to 30 degrees may be helpful in reducing snoring and sleep apnea risk.

If your symptoms persist despite the use of Zzoma, you may require other treatments for sleep apnea such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or an oral appliance. These symptoms may include: persistent excessive daytime sleepiness, witnessed apnea, waking choking or gasping, or heavy snoring. Be in touch with your prescribing physician about the effectiveness of the treatment and to discuss other options available for you.

Sources:

Kribbs NB et al. "Objective measurement of patterns of nasal CPAP use by patients with obstructive sleep apnea." Am Rev Respir Dis 1993;147:887-95.

Mador MJ et al. "Prevalence of positional sleep apnea in patients undergoing polysomnography." Chest 2005;128:2130-2137.

Permut I et al. "Comparison of positional therapy to CPAP in patients with positional obstructive sleep apnea." J Clin Sleep Med 2010;6(3):238-243.

"Zzoma Positional Therapy." 2Z Medical. Last accessed: December 29, 2013.

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