Snoring is not only challenging for the person who suffers from it but also for their bed partners, roommates, and family members. But, how to reduce snoring? Luckily, several mouth and throat exercises can help people with mild snoring, as well as those who suffer from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). All you need to do is learn to perform the exercises correctly and be persistent.
How Can Exercises Relieve Snoring and Sleep Apnea?
The truth is, both snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are a result of relaxed or flabby airway muscles, poor tongue posture, and breathing through the mouth while sleeping. And, doing mouth and throat exercises, medically referred to as oropharyngeal exercises or myofunctional therapy, can strengthen and tone up those muscles and promote nose breathing. As a result, they relieve snoring and sleep apnea if done for at least 10 minutes a day for three consecutive months.
Mouth Exercises for Relieving Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Several types of exercises can be performed to strengthen the tongue, throat, and airway muscles through special training techniques. Some of the most beneficial include:
To strengthen your throat muscles and tongue you can try the Tongue Slide. Just put the tip of your tongue against the back of your top front teeth and slide it slowly backward while your tongue tip touches the roof of your mouth. Do five to ten repetitions.
Or, you could try the Tongue Stretch to boost tongue strength. Start by looking at the ceiling and try to touch your chin with your tongue by stretching it outwards. Hold for 10 seconds and then repeat five times. Increase the duration every day for a couple of more seconds.
Another alternative is the Tongue Push Up. To do this exercise you should place and press your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Hold for 10 seconds and then repeat five times. This exercise won’t only help you increase tongue strength but also soft palate tone.
The last tongue exercise for relieving snoring and sleep apnea is the Tongue Push Down. You should place the tip of your tongue against your lower front teeth while pushing the back of your tongue against the floor of your mouth. Hold for 10 seconds and do 5 repetitions.
There are also some mouth exercises that can help you engage facial muscles which when done daily can help reduce snoring.
For the first exercise called Cheek Hook, you should lightly pull your cheeks outward with a hooked finger and then pull them inward by using your facial muscles. Do the exercise on one side at a time and repeat ten times on each side. The Cheek Hook is beneficial for mouth closure while breathing.
The second mouth exercise, Pursed Lips, is for improving the tone and strength of the jaw and both facial and throat muscles. To perform this exercise you should purse your lips to tightly close your mouth. Then, open your mouth and relax your jaw and lips. Do ten repetitions.
Claire Dunkley from Cluzie Clinic recommends an ANF disc: a medical disc that looks like a 20c piece sticker. When stuck on the bottom of the jaw, it energises the muscle that slackens during sleep and is sometimes the cause of snoring.
Pronouncing Vowel Sounds
Finally, repeating vowel sounds (a, e, i, o, u) can help you tone throat muscles because in order to pronounce vowel sounds you have to engage your throat muscles. So, begin by saying each of them normally like you always do. Next, change how much you stretch out each sound or how fast you say each vowel. Do ten to twenty repetitions of the same sound in a row, before continuing to the next one.
As an alternative, you could also try singing because it engages various throat and mouth muscles to pronounce different sounds, including vowels.