Snoring occurs because of restrictions to the passage of air through the upper respiratory tract when you sleep. The vibration of the soft palate and relaxed throat create the snoring sound. Narrowing of your airways because of incorrect sleeping posture or soft tissue abnormalities, loss of muscle tone due to aging, excess weight, sinus and nasal problems, medications, alcohol and smoking can cause snoring. In some cases, snoring may be due to an underlying health condition. Correcting your sleeping posture and incorporating certain lifestyle changes may help reduce your snoring problem. Exercising your throat, jaw and facial muscles can also help to a great extent. In this article, some exercises to stop snoring that you can practice are discussed.
You may snore if your jaw position is incorrect during sleep. A couple of exercises that will help you to keep your jaw in the correct position to enable proper breathing during sleep are as follows:
- Chewing action exercises your jaw, tongue and mouth at the same time. Pretend you are chewing gum for approximately a minute. Repeat the exercise five to six times.
- Push your lower jaw over the upper jaw so that your teeth can be seen. Hold your lower jaw in this position for about ten seconds and then relax your jaw. Repeat the exercise several times a day.
- Yawning is a good exercise for your jaw as well as throat. You can mimic yawning, hold the position for a few seconds and then relax. Repeat the exercise several times in a day.
If you practice these exercises regularly, it may be beneficial in reducing or eliminating snoring over a period of time.
Exercises that strengthen the entire neck and mouth area may also be of help to you in reducing snoring as they serve to improve the muscle tone. A few exercises that you can practice are:
- Make a puckering motion as though you are giving a big kiss to someone. Hold your face in that position for a few seconds, relax and repeat the exercise a few times.
- Purse your lips as though you are going to take a sip of water. Hold the position for a few second, relax and repeat the exercise a few times.
- Pushing your tongue out as much as you can, holding it for several seconds and then relaxing is also a good exercise.
- Next, try to touch your chin with your tongue and relax. In the third step, try to touch the tip of your nose with your tongue.
- The final step is to hold the face in a big smile for 10 seconds. Repeat the set of exercise between ten and twenty times before going to bed.
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A strong throat helps to keep your airways open during sleep. You can take a cue from professional singers and practice vocal exercises. At the top of your voice, sing “la-la-la-la”, holding a “la” for 3 seconds. Repeat five times. The same exercise can be performed with “ka’s” as well as “ma’s”, focusing on your throat and neck muscles. This exercise will give your throat a good workout. You’ll find more details of these exercises here.
Chin press is another exercise that helps to strengthen throat muscles in the elderly and overweight people, according to the UK Health Center. With one finger gently press your chin back and down so that it is slightly tucked. When you do this, you will feel your neck muscles on either side getting tensed. Hold the muscles tight for several seconds and relax. You can repeat the exercise ten to twenty times just before going to the bed.
Study on Effectiveness of Exercises to Stop Snoring
A study involving a group of people with sleep apnea published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine revealed that people who were trained to do throat exercises for 30 minutes a day slept better, snored less and showed a 39% reduction in the severity of the condition when they were reviewed after three months. The neck circumference, a risk factor for apnea, also decreased. The exercises included chewing and swallowing motions, pronouncing some vowels quickly and continuously, etc. On the other hand, the control group did not register any improvement.
Other randomized studies on the beneficial effects of throat exercises have found similar results. One study even showed that playing an instrument such as the didgeridoo strengthens the airways and reduces sleep apnea.
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