A Holistic Approach to Sleep Apnea Relief
Dr. Sal Aragona provides expert care to treat sleep apnea. We feature a number of effective treatments including our easy-to-use alternatives to CPAP. There are also exercises that you can perform to help alleviate your sleep apnea symptoms. It’s a natural way to increase your resistance to this serious medical condition.
How Throat and Mouth Exercises Work
Certain exercises target the muscles that are affected by obstructive sleep apnea, (OSA). Learning how sleep apnea works will help you successfully perform them. OSA occurs when there’s a blockage in the airway that causes you to completely stop breathing several times every night.
OSA often results when the muscles at the back of the throat relax, causing the tongue to fall back into the airway, blocking the flow of oxygen to the lungs. By strengthening your throat muscles, you can reduce their tendency to relax. If you suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea, these exercises have the potential to alleviate your symptoms.
Just 30 Minutes a Day for Healthier Sleep
Dedicate just half an hour a day to doing these exercises, and you’ll be on your way to a more refreshing sleep and energy for each new day.
1. The Tiger Yell
This is a noiseless exercise, despite the name. As best as you can, impersonate a tiger roar by opening your mouth as wide as possible. Stick your tongue out past your teeth, as if you were trying to reach your chin, and hold the position for five seconds.
This exercise lifts your uvula, which strengthens the muscles in your throat’s back wall. Complete a set of 10.
2. Tongue Slide
This one might even be fun to do with a friend. Try to see who can touch their nose with their tongue — if neither of you can, don’t worry — just see how close you can get. This exercise is very effective in strengthening the tongue muscles. Try to hold on at least five seconds and do a set of 10.
According to a 2009 study, the tongue plays a role in 39 percent of OSA’s symptoms — so it’s an important muscle to pay attention to. Strengthening your tongue can really help relieve your sleep apnea symptoms.
3. Soft Palate Stretches and Breathing
The soft palate, or the roof of your mouth, is also a large component in OSA. When OSA treatment does require surgery, the soft palate is often the area the surgeon will concentrate on. Here are two exercises that will help firm up the soft palate.
- Open your mouth as wide as possible and say “ah” for 20 seconds. Close your mouth and relax, and then repeat for a set of 10.
- Take a deep breath through your nose, close the mouth, and slowly exhale through your lips. This should result in a pushback from your throat, strengthening the soft palate.
4. Relieving Tension in the Jaw
Sleep apnea and jaw pain often go hand in hand. A poorly-aligned jaw can contribute to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea episodes can also aggravate the muscles in your jaw. This exercise targets the jawbone and muscles, stretching them so they can relax.
Start by closing your mouth and fully resting your tongue. Then, reach the tongue up to the roof of your mouth, sliding the tip as far back in
the throat as you can. You’ll feel your soft palate as you move back. When you’ve moved it as far as you can, open your mouth until you can no longer hold your tongue in position — then hold for five to 10 seconds.
Repeat this exercise for five minutes.
Wake Up Feeling Energized Every Morning
Dr. Sal Aragona is an experienced sleep dentist. In fact, he earned Diplomate status from the American Board of Sleep and Breathing. We’ll help you rediscover refreshing sleep every night.
With the latest technology and incomparable knowledge, Dr. Aragona will provide the care you need to wake up feeling your best. To learn more, call (586) 221-3023 or fill out our quick and easy form today. If you want, we’ll be happy to schedule a consultation with Dr. Aragona.