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Exercises for snoring and sleep apnea

Your neck, throat and jaw muscles need exercise too

big cat open mouthSnoring and sleep apnea can both be a result of your throat getting blocked while you sleep because your muscles sag and your throat closes when you sleep. By strengthening the muscles in your neck, throat, and jaw, it is possible to enable your muscles to remain toned, so they don’t sag and block your airway. Exercise your neck and throat by spending a few minutes every day performing exercises designed to strengthen the tongue, jaw and neck area. Strengthening these muscles can increase your throat strength and decrease the chance that it will go slack while you are sleeping.

Exercise your mouth and throat

Throat exercise will strengthen the muscles in your throat, keeping them from collapsing during the night. Try pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then hold it there for two or three minutes. You can also use a balloon. First take a deep breath through your nasal passages, then inflate the balloon as much as possible. Repeat this five times. These exercises will strengthen your airway muscles. Another simple exercise that you can do to help prevent snoring is to say your vowels. Take a few minutes a few times a day to say a, e, i, o and u. Say each letter loudly and draw out the sound to last 5-10 seconds each. This will help strengthen throat muscles that are lax and may help eliminate snoring and sleep apnea. You can also give singing a try. Singing is a natural form of exercise for the muscles in the throat and soft palate. Since snoring is sometimes caused by lax muscles in these areas, strengthening them can help. So go ahead and belt out your favorite tune every day, it might give you a quieter and more peaceful night’s sleep and help you stop snoring!

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Exercise your tongue

Tongue exercises can also be beneficial because a lot of snoring arises when your tongue falls back and blocks your airway while sleeping on your back. The best exercise consists of sticking your tongue out as far as possible and keeping it straight and then moving it from the right to the left and then up and down. Try to do this roughly 15 times a day.

Exercise your body

Add regular exercise into your routine. Exercise not only tires out the body, it helps relax your mind as well. With a good exercise routine, you may find that a more normal sleep is possible. It may keep the snoring or sleep apnea symptoms from being as severe or even not appearing at all.

If exercise is not for you….

If the mouth and throat exercises don’t help, then a great way to ensure that you do not sleep on your back and cause snoring or sleep apnea to occur is to use a tennis ball to prevent rolling onto your back. You can place one in a pillow behind your back and when you roll over in your sleep, the tennis ball will make you roll back on your side. You could also sew the tennis ball into a pocket on the back of your night clothes. If a tennis ball is too large, you could try a table tennis ball instead.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring and Sleep Apnea – Is There a Link?

What is Sleep Apnea?

sleeping koalaSleep apnea is a sleep disorder, which is potentially serious, in which a sleeper’s breathing stops and starts continually. It is defined as “breathing stopping entirely for 10 seconds or more” and this breath stoppage can last up to 30 seconds! It may or may not include snoring, however, the most characteristic form is where the sleeper exhibits loud snoring, which is then followed by a period or periods of silence when breathing stops or nearly stops. Naturally, this then wakes the sleeper – known as arousal – although the length of time the sufferer is awake may be tiny and they may not become consciously aware that they have woken. Their quality of sleep, though, is affected.

Problems Caused by Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea does not mean that you have problems with going to, or staying asleep (this is insomnia), it is about problems when you’re asleep and it can affect anyone of any age, including childen. Due to the stoppage in the breathing, your body gets less oxygen than it needs and that reduction in oxygen levels is connected to serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, fatigue, general irritability, memory difficulties, weight gain, impotency, headaches, deterioration in your job ability and falling asleep in the day, leading to driving accidents. It has also been linked to symptoms of depression. It becomes significant when the length of time not breathing is longer than 20 seconds or it happens more than 5 times an hour, and anyone who thinks they have it should see their medical adviser.

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It can be a dangerous condition because of the health risks, and affects millions of people. Snoring may often be the first sign of this problem, which has led to it being termed the snoring disease because this is one of the symptoms. Snoring is due to a reduced airflow, whereas sleep apnea is a complete, though temporary, obstruction of breathing due to airway blockage. This is obviously more more serious.

Who Gets it?

This problem can affect anyone but there are certain factors that could increase the risk of developing it. It is more common in men than women and in middle-aged and overweight people. This is because men may be more likely to have narrower air passages than women, and an increase in weight can also lead to narrower air passages. As people get older, their muscles may lose tone (become more floppy) which can lead to blockages in the airway. It can be made worse by smoking and alcohol intake and also by taking sleeping tablets.

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How Do I Know I have It?

If you snore and you also find that you are excessively tired during the day, maybe falling asleep at work, or while talking to someone, or find it hard to stay awake while driving, then you should consider getting investigated for sleep apnea. Some other symptoms include not waking up refreshed after your night’s sleep, or being woken up by choking spells during the night, or because you are gasping for air. Sometimes it is a sleeping partner who notices this, as the sufferer may not remember this in the morning.


Sleep apnea is treatable but must first be diagnosed. Many hospitals now have sleep apnea clinics, to which your doctor can refer you. There are two types of sleep apnea. The first, which is called central sleep apnea, is fairly rare and is caused by a problem in the brain. This is less likely to be accompanied by snoring. The second, termed obstructive sleep apnea, as its name suggests, is caused by an obstruction. This is more likely to also cause snoring. It is possible to suffer from both.

Some simple remedies that may help you stop snoring and reduce the problem of sleep apnea are to lose weight, reduce or stop alcohol intake, sleep on your side and sleep with the head raised a bit more than usual (maybe another pillow). Stopping smoking, while not simple, may also help.