This article reviews a recent study showing that compression stockings may improve obstructive sleep apnea. I discussed this more during a previous post.
This is the theory behind why the stockings may help. Fluid can accumulate in the lower legs during the day because for much of the day, the legs are lower than the heart, and gravity pulls the fluid down into the legs. This fluid usually gets resorbed back into the blood stream when the patient lays down at night, as the legs are at the level of the heart. But this fluid expands the blood volume and it can leak out at other locations, such as the back of the throat. This causes swelling and worsens the narrowing seen in OSA. The stockings can prevent the fluid accumulation in the legs to begin with, thus limiting swelling in the back of the throat when the patient lays down.