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Mouth And Throat Exercises that Cure Sleep Apnea

The diagnosis of sleep apnea can be scary. It’s alarming to discover you stop breathing hundreds of times while you sleep and that puts you at risk for additional problems. The traditional treatment for apnea is a CPAP machine, which uses forced air to keep your airway open.

Sleep apnea has real health consequences like high blood pressure and cardiac failure. Many, however, dislike using the loud, annoying, uncomfortable, and expensive CPAP machine.

Luckily, there is a non-invasive exercise treatment that holds a lot of promise for sufferers who are tired of dealing with CPAP or dental devices, and who don’t want to undergo surgery.

Non-Invasive Treatment

Scientifically proven exercises exist that will cure, or significantly reduce, sleep apnea. Oropharyngeal, or mouth and tongue, exercises were shown to reduce the frequency of snoring by 36 percent. Saying the word oropharyngeal is an exercise, but believe it or not, these simple exercises derived from speech and swallowing therapy can help you to get a good night’s rest. Performed correctly, you will see a decrease in apnea symptoms like daytime sleepiness as well.

These exercises aren’t a substitute for following your doctor’s instructions, but they can help decrease symptoms. Just like with any exercise, if you don’t keep up with it regularly, you won’t see the benefits.

Use it or lose it

The main goal of exercising the throat, tongue, soft palate and jaw is to tone and strengthen the muscles that block your air passage. Actively toning the muscles that keep your airway open will strengthen throat muscles that collapse during sleep. Focusing on tongue exercises will help you if your tongue falls back into your throat when you sleep.

 

Throat Exercise – Roar

In this exercise, you will mimic a tiger about to roar, strengthening the muscles at the back of your throat. Making noise isn’t required for the exercise. Use a mirror to ensure the technique is performed properly.

  1. Open your mouth wide, stick your tongue out and down like you’re seeing the doctor.
  2. Lift your soft palate and uvula, checking for movement with the mirror.
  3. Hold the lifted uvula position for 5 seconds and then relax.
  4. Repeat ten times.

Tongue Exercise – Slide

Exercising the tongue regularly can reduce neck circumference, decrease snoring, and improve apnea symptoms. They’ll also help strengthen jaw muscles.

  1. Raise your chin, so you are looking straight ahead.
  2. Place the tip of your tongue against the back of your upper teeth.
  3. Slowly slide your tongue backward as far as it will go along the roof of your mouth.
  4. Hold for five seconds.
  5. Press the entire tongue against the roof of the mouth before relaxing.
  6. Repeat ten times.

Soft Palate Exercise – Blow

If you’ve been diagnosed with a weak, soft palate, it likely collapses and obstructs your airway while you sleep. This exercise will strengthen the palate and uvula, keeping them up and out of the way during sleep. Your throat will expand, and you’ll breathe easier from soft palate exercises.

  1. Close your mouth and inhale gently through your nose.
  2. Press your lips firmly together.
  3. Blow air forcefully out from your mouth for five seconds.
  4. Repeat ten times.

Jaw Exercise – Clench

Making your jaw stronger without harming your teeth is challenging. The idea behind this exercise is to hold your jaw muscles in a slightly clenched bite without clamping down. This slight clench will encourage muscle tone in your jaw.

  1. Open your mouth slightly.
  2. Place a pencil between your teeth.
  3. Keep it in position without biting into the soft wood.
  4. Hold for ten minutes, then relax.

Mouth Exercise – Swallow

Challenging yourself to swallow with an open mouth will develop the muscles throughout your jaw, soft palate, and throat, giving you a complete workout.

  1. Open your mouth slightly.
  2. Place your tongue between your teeth and swallow.
  3. Repeat five times.

Cheek Exercise – Stretch

This exercise involves your cheek muscles. Providing resistance to the muscle and forcibly returning it to position will make these muscles stronger.

  1. Place your index finger between your cheek and teeth.
  2. Press your cheek muscle away from your teeth.
  3. Repeat ten times on each side.

A simple and enjoyable way to train the muscles in your mouth and throat is to chew gum. Alternate chewing on both sides to equally target all muscles. Practice blowing bubbles.

Final Thoughts

Choose the exercises that are most closely related to your diagnosis. Focus on throat muscles if your doctor has diagnosed this as the cause of your condition. If your doctor believes your tongue falling back into your throat is the likely cause of your apnea, target those exercises.

Eight minutes of exercise, three times a day can reduce your symptoms by as much as a third.

 

About the Author Robert J. Hudson

Chief editor here at Snore Nation and a proud father of two cool boys. I am a reformed snorer, a reformed smoker, a reformed overeater, a reformed city dweller and a reformed workaholic stress monster on the mission to share my insider tips to restore that quality sleep for you and your partner!

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