Finding an Alternative Approach to Relieve Sleep Apnea
Finding relief for sleep apnea can be frustrating, which is why Dr. Ura offers an alternative approach that can help manage your condition. Practicing mouth and throat exercises while using CPAP or oral appliances can reduce long-term effects of sleep apnea
A 2009 study revealed that patients who practice daily breathing exercises experienced a 39% regression in their symptoms. Additionally, these exercises can help with secondary symptoms such as headaches, heartburn, and TMJ pain.
How can mouth exercises help stop snoring and sleep apnea?
Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs due to floppy airway muscles, poor tongue positioning, and breathing through the mouth during sleep. Mouth and throat exercises can tone up the airway and tongue muscles while promoting breathing through the nose. Regular throat and mouth exercises will add strength to your mouth and airway muscles.
Exercises for Sleep Apnea & Snoring
Sleep apnea occurs when your airway becomes obstructed, causing you to stop breathing and wake up suddenly throughout the night. This happens when the throat muscles collapse or the tongue falls to the back of your throat while you’re sleeping.
Practicing mouth and throat exercises, or myofunctional therapy, can strengthen these muscles and reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. If paired with additional treatment, your results may be even more effective.
Discover which exercises can strengthen your muscles and help you get a better night’s rest.
Can sleep apnea be cured by exercising?
For adults with sleep apnea, a condition that stresses the heart and repeatedly interrupts sleep when breathing briefly slows or stops, an exercise program can be beneficial in reducing the patient’s sleep apnea symptoms. While incorporating exercise into your daily life is beneficial to both your sleep apnea symptoms and overall health, it’s not a cure. Most cases of sleep apnea can be managed with proper treatment combined with lifestyle changes.
How often do you need to do mouth exercises for sleep apnea?
Based on existing research, the best amount of time to do mouth exercises is for at least 10 minutes per day for three months in order to notice a difference in your sleep apnea symptoms. Most patients perform these exercises two to three times a day for maximum efficiency.
As with any exercise regime, it takes time to build your muscles. The good thing about these exercises is that they can be done almost anywhere.
For this exercise, open your mouth as wide as possible, similar to a tiger roaring. Rather than yelling, stick your tongue out as far as you can until it’s close to your chin.
Hold this position for five minutes, or as long as you can, to strengthen the muscles in the back of your throat.
Touch Nose & Chin
Here are two simple exercises — first, stick your tongue out and try to touch your nose. It’s likely you won’t be able to touch your nose with your tongue, but the exercise strengthens your jaw.
Next, try touching your chin with your tongue. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
Soft Palate Stretches
Your soft palate, or roof of your mouth, also plays a role in sleep apnea symptoms. In fact, some patients require soft palate surgery to treat their sleep apnea if their condition has become severe.
Begin this exercise by closing your mouth and breathing in through your nose. Keeping your mouth closed, exhale and push the air through your lips. This will cause your throat to push back and you’ll feel resistance.
An alternative stretch is to open your mouth as if you were saying “ah” and hold this position for 15 seconds. Repeat this for 10 sets, resting between each set.
Relieving Jaw Tension
Try this exercise to help relieve tension in your jaw. Keeping your mouth closed, touch the tip of your tongue to the roof and slide it back as far as you can.
Make sure your tongue is relaxed and slowly open your mouth while keeping your tongue on the roof. This will make it harder to hold your tongue, which will strengthen your muscles. Hold this position for five seconds and repeat for five sets.
Dr. Ura Can Help Relieve Your Sleep Apnea
If you’re suffering from sleep apnea, these effective exercises can be beneficial when paired with treatment. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Ura, call us at 603-237-1124 or simply fill out our online contact form. Don’t wait another day, improve your quality of sleep and your life today.