Snoring is a frustrating problem that affects millions of people. It can reduce the quality of your sleep, leading to extreme tiredness during the day, difficulty concentrating, headaches, and irritability. If the noise is loud enough to wake up your partner, it can also cause tension in your relationship.
There are many ways to stop or lessen snoring. Some people wear oral appliances at night that position the mouth and jaw in a way that prevents breathing problems. Some people sleep on their side instead of on their back. However, if these types of treatments seem uncomfortable to you, you can also try a variety of exercises to fix the problem.
One of the most common causes of snoring is loss of muscle tone in the throat. When the muscles aren’t strong enough, they relax excessively during sleep. This causes the tongue and soft palate to obstruct the airway and produce loud vibrations as you breathe. Building up the muscle can prevent this from happening.
To strengthen the muscles in your throat, mouth, and face, try out these exercises:
The tongue slide exercise is one of the most effective ways to stop sleep-disordered breathing. Press the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth just behind your teeth. Then, slide your tongue backward until you reach your soft palate. Repeat this 15-20 times.
Another helpful exercise involves pressing your entire tongue flat against the roof of your mouth. Hold it for a few seconds, then repeat the motion about 20 times.
Tongue extenders can be effective, too. Stick out your tongue as far as you can. Try to touch your tongue to your chin and your nose, and move it left to right, stretching it as far as it will go. Repeat this 10 to 20 times per day.
Strengthening your throat is essential if you snore. Try contracting the muscles in the back of your throat while keeping your mouth open. This might feel strange at first, but if you look in the mirror and see the uvula move up and down, you’re doing it right. Keep this up for about a minute.
You can also exercise your throat muscles by closing your mouth and pushing your chin down toward your chest with your index finger. This should cause the muscles on either side of your neck to tense up. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then relax. This exercise is most effective when repeated a few times right before you go to sleep.
The tongue is attached to the jaw bone, so any issues or misalignment with the jaw can result in sleep-disordered breathing. To exercise your jaw, open your mouth and move your jaw to one side. Hold this for about 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side. Then, smile as widely as you can, and hold the facial expression for about 30 seconds. Repeat this whole process a few times per day.
For another jaw exercise, move your jaws as if you were chewing food, making sure that your mouth stays shut. Make a humming sound in your throat as you move your jaws apart and together. Keep this up for a minute or two or until your jaw starts to hurt.
If your cheeks have lost some elasticity, they may start to sink into the oral cavity, which narrows the airway and increases the likelihood that you’ll snore. To prevent this, alternate between opening your mouth as wide as you can and puckering your lips. Repeat this 10 to 20 times before you go to sleep.
Another helpful exercise is to insert your index finger into your mouth and push your cheek away from your teeth on either side. However, make sure your hands are clean before you do this.
Singing is a great way to strengthen the muscles in your throat and mouth. You can practice basic vocal exercises like singing up and down a scale with “la la la” or “ma ma ma” a few times a day.
Once you become comfortable with this, try singing a scale with an “ung-gah” sound. The “ung” sound brings your soft palate down to the back of your tongue, and the “gah” sound brings it back up. This will strengthen the muscles in the back of your mouth over time, preventing them from collapsing while you sleep.