Myofunctional Therapy Exercises… yes, those.
[14 convenient exercises to improve your chronic snoring and/or sleep apnea]
February is heart health month…
So we are here to talk about snoring.
Not what you expected? Well…Did you know chronic snoring can lead to a heightened risk of heart disease?
That’s right, the ever-so-typical bedroom nuisance could be more troublesome than you’d expect.
Medical research shows that an estimated 20 million Americans suffer from OSA and chronic snoring, which is marked by constant wakefulness throughout the night and feelings of exhaustion during the day. Many of these patients go undiagnosed and therefore go untreated. This could cause the condition to worsen over time and lead to additional health risks.
There are various treatments for chronic snoring and sleep apnea in adults, however, most are merely temporary and may not be suitable for your lifestyle.
Take CPAP machines, for instance. Not only are they bulky and uncomfortable, but they are also hard to fit into one’s nightly routine. Additionally, new investigative reporting has revealed that medical insurance providers are secretly using information gathered by patients’ CPAP machines [without their knowledge] in order to curtail the cost of their therapy, thus pricing it out of reach for many.
If you’re aware of this medical insurance gambit and recently ditched your CPAP machine due to these hidden surcharges then you may be in need of alternative therapy for your OSA and chronic snoring.
Below, we compiled a list of 14 non-invasive natural therapies that can help alleviate discomfort caused by chronic snoring and sleep apnea.
Dr. Mandel recommends performing these exercises while you seek a more permanent treatment to your condition.
Have you ever heard of Myofunctional Therapy?
Myofunctional Therapy is the neuromuscular re-education of oral and facial muscles. These exercises target muscles used to chew and swallow, and are designed to teach you to breathe through your nose and reinforce the proper position of your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
Myofunctional Therapy corrects muscle weakness in the tongue, mouth, or upper throat—key areas that may be causers for your obstructive sleep apnea and/or chronic snoring. The strengthening and repetition of oropharyngeal muscles and their use can improve sleeping, eating, snoring, chewing, swallowing and talking. Furthermore, Myofunctional Therapy is beneficial for treating discomforts beyond sleep apnea and chronic snoring, substantially helping those who suffer from headaches, neck pain and/or poor digestion.
Though Myofunctional Therapy can only treat mild to moderate OSA it can provide much-needed relief while you seek a more permanent solution with Dr. Mandel.
Before we explain the types of exercise used to strengthen oropharyngeal muscles, let’s talk about why you are snoring.
How you snore reveals why you snore. This is an important first step in deciding which exercises are right for you.
- Open-mouth snoring is related to weak tissue in the throat. During sleep, your muscles relax, therefore obstructing your airways. [Start your Myofunctional Therapy at Exercise 1]
- Closed-mouth snoring is related to the tongue. During sleep, your tongue may fall back into your throat and obstruct airways. [Start your Myofunctional Therapy at Exercise 7]
- Snoring when sleeping on your back is regarded as mild snoring, which can be improved with certain lifestyle changes and/or sleeping habits. Obesity and regular drinking can put you at a heightened risk for this type of snoring. [Start your Myofunctional Therapy at any exercise]
IMPORTANT: Snoring in all sleep positions may be the sign of a more severe sleeping condition and may require more comprehensive treatment. A home sleep testing kit provided by South Florida Snoring and Sleep Center is the best first step in concluding the underlying causes of your condition.
14 Exercises for a better nights sleep.
For effective results, you should make these a part of your everyday routine. You can easily perform any of these exercises while you clean the house, watch Netflix, take the pup for a walk, pick the kids up from school, sing in the shower… you get the point.
Repeat each vowel [a, e, i, o, u] out loud for 3 minutes a few times a day.
Place the tip of your tongue behind your top front teeth then slide your tongue backward for 3 minutes.
Make a loud clicking sound with the tongue against the roof of the mouth. Click the tongue for 15 seconds and then repeat 10 times
With your mouth open, contract the muscle at the back of your throat repeatedly for 30 seconds. [TIP: look in a mirror to see the uvula move up and down]
With your mouth open, move your jaw to the right and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the left side.
For a more exciting exercise, spend time singing. Singing can increase muscle control in the throat and soft palate, reducing snoring caused by lax muscles.
Place the tip of the tongue against the hard palate on the roof of the mouth, just behind the top teeth, and push upwards and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Roll your tongue by folding the edges toward the middle lengthwise, so it looks like the end of a taco shell. Stick it out as far as you can while keeping it folded and hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times.
Stick your tongue out and try to touch the tip of your nose. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times.
Stick out your tongue and try to lick the bottom of your chin. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times.
Stick out your tongue and move it as far as you can to the left. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times.
Stick out your tongue and move it as far as you can to the right. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times.
Close your mouth and purse your lips. Hold for 30 seconds.
Push the tip of your tongue firmly against a spoon held in front of your lips for 10 seconds. Keep the tongue straight and don’t let it point downwards. Repeat 10 times