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Tongue & Throat Exercises to Help Stop Snoring & Sleep Apnea

One recent study found that oropharyngeal exercises significantly reduced the severity of sleep apnea, leading to improved sleep quality and reductions in snoring and daytime sleepiness.

The study was conducted on subjects with moderate OSA where they undertook a consistent and regimented set of exercises in a controlled study group over three months. The result was a 39 percent reduction in events.

There appear to be no other definitive studies in the last few years that dealt with a broader group or those with severe OSA. Ultimately, the results are good news for everyone with OSA. However, the percentage of people that have been able to eliminate their CPAP machine is inconclusive other than anecdotally.

What Causes Snoring and Sleep Apnea?

While snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, it does not necessarily mean you have the sleep disorder.  Snoring is caused by air flow over the relaxed tissues in your throat. However, when your throat muscles relax so much that they close up periodically during the night, then you may have sleep apnea.

Can Mouth Exercises Help Prevent Snoring & Sleep Apnea?

According to the most recent World Health Organization Report on chronic respiratory diseases, approximately 100 million people worldwide have OSA.

As with weight loss, sleep position training, and other widely used methods to treat OSA, each can profoundly reduce apnea events and in some cases eliminate them.

Who Can Benefit from Tongue Exercises?

Tongue exercises can benefit both a chronic snoring condition as well as sleep apnea. Tongue exercises help tone the throat muscles, which can reduce episodes of snoring. These exercises can also help reduce the frequency of apneas among patients with mild OSA.

How Often Do You Need to Do Tongue Exercises for Sleep Apnea?

Try doing tongue exercises about 10 minutes a day for 3 months. If you are already treating sleep apnea with CPAP therapy, you may notice less frequent apneas due to the exercises.

What Are the Side Effects of Tongue Exercises?

There are no known side effects of tongue exercises. However, if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, tongue exercises alone may not be enough to remedy the problem. You may still need CPAP therapy.

What Are the Tongue and Throat Exercises for Sleep Apnea?

Try these 4 tongue exercises to strengthen both your tongue and your throat to minimize relaxing throat muscles at night.

Tongue Exercises for Sleep Apnea

  • Tongue Slide
    • Place the tip of your tongue against the back of your top front teeth. Slowly slide your tongue backward with the tip moving along the roof of your mouth. Repeat 5-10 times.
  • Tongue Stretch
    • Stick out your tongue as far as you can. Try to touch your chin with your tongue while looking at the ceiling. Hold for 10 – 15 seconds and increase the duration gradually. Repeat 5 times.
  • Tongue Push Up
    • Stick your tongue upward against the roof of your mouth and press your entire tongue against it. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
  • Tongue Push Down
    • Put the tip of your tongue against your lower front teeth and then push the back of your tongue flat against the floor of your mouth. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

Throat Exercises for Snoring

If snoring is a problem and is unrelated to sleep apnea, try these exercises for a more peaceful sleep for your bed partner.

  • Practice breathing through your nose. Nasal breathing reduces snoring.
  • Pronounce vowel sounds. Repeating vowel sounds helps tone throat muscles so they are not as relaxed when you sleep, which can mean reduced or quieter snoring.
  • Sing! Singing is actually a form of exercise that keeps your throat muscles tight and toned. Sing to your heart’s content and snore less.

When to See a Doctor for Snoring 

When snoring is waking you up at night, it may be a symptom of OSA. It’s time to see a doctor when you find yourself snoring so badly that you wake up gasping for air. Here are a few things you can ask your doctor during the visit.

Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea and CPAP Therapy

The CPAP machine keeps the airway open to maintain breathing while the person sleeps by pumping a continuous stream of filtered and slightly humidified air into the breathing passages.

When used properly and consistently, CPAP machines virtually eliminate apnea and hypopnea events to provide the person with more restful sleep. The CPAP machine also prevents apneas from causing long-term side effects, such as hypertension and cardiovascular problems.

CPAP therapy, if practiced consistently, can reduce the number of sleep apnea episodes at night. How can you tell? You may find yourself feeling more rested during the day and more alert. Your mood may improve as well as your concentration and memory.

Your bed partner may also notice a reduction in snoring. Your sleep apnea treatment will also reduce the number of times you wake at night, which means you are sleeping better. Some CPAP machines will also track your sleep data, so that you can actually see a reduction in sleep apnea frequency.

Over the long term, this means better sleep and better health. CPAP compliance also means getting used to the equipment. Wearing a mask at night and breathing pressurized air are not natural. You may also experience some side effects such as a sore throat or dry nose from the CPAP machine. With time and the proper equipment, you can eventually become used to the therapy. The results are well worth the effort.

Where Can I Buy the Best CPAP Machines for Sleep Apnea Treatment?

You can find a machine that fits your prescription from leading manufacturers at The CPAP Shop. Our staff is ready to assist you with your online purchase. We provide free shipping on orders over $99. Give us a call at 866-414-9700.

Chris Vasta

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.