Our Top Tips and Exercises to Stop Snoring
Snoring isn’t just a nightly annoyance — it’s a wake-up call, often signaling underlying issues like obstructive sleep apnea that you can’t afford to ignore. But don’t fret. There’s a way to silence the snore and improve your health.
Let’s talk about solutions that can help you snore less and sleep better, improving your overall health.
What Causes Snoring?
Generally speaking, your body relaxes during sleep, causing the muscles in your throat and mouth to lengthen or obstruct your airflow. When air cannot freely move through these areas, the surrounding tissues vibrate, creating the disruptive noise you recognize as snoring.
But that’s not the only reason. Let’s check out a few more:
1. Clogged Airways
Snoring can occur when the airway to the throat and nose is partially closed. Numerous conditions can contribute to this obstruction, including allergies, colds, nasal congestion, a deviated septum, swollen tonsils, and adenoids.
2. Muscle Tone Issues
When you sleep, your airway may become restricted because the weak muscles in your tongue and throat may relax too much.
Aging, drinking alcohol, using sleeping pills, and certain medical disorders can cause muscle weakness.
Overweight people are more likely to snore. That’s because their airway may get constricted due to the extra fatty tissues around their throat and neck.
4. Sleeping Position
The base of your tongue and soft palate may press up against the back of the throat when you sleep on your back,hence, obstructing your airflow.
How Snoring Affects Your Life
Snoring can have a wide range of effects on your life, including ones you might not initially anticipate. Let’s Look at a few:
1. Quality of sleep
Your sleep cycle may be interrupted by snoring, which will result in poor sleep. This may lead to daytime weariness, irritation, and a diminished capacity for concentration.
2. Health Issues
Chronic snoring has been linked to cardiovascular illnesses, hypertension, and even strokes. It may also be an indication of sleep disorders like sleep apnea.
3. Strained Relationships
If you share a bed with someone, your snoring may interfere with their ability to sleep, which may put a strain on your relationship.
4. Daytime Capability
Your daytime alertness, focus, and productivity may suffer as a result of the poor sleep quality caused by snoring. This may reduce your productivity at work and home.
Exercises to Reduce Snoring
Mouth and throat exercises can help you combat snoring. It will also help you gain better control over the muscles involved in breathing and air passage and ensure quieter and more restful nights.
Let’s look at a few you could try:
1. Tongue Exercises
Regularly performing the tongue stretch exercise can help you improve muscle control and may prevent snoring. Here’s how to perform this exercise:
- Stretch your tongue forward and try to touch the tip of your upper front teeth.
- Hold this pose for a few seconds before relaxing.
- Repeat these steps three or four times for best results.
2. Throat Exercises
The tongue push exercise focuses on strengthening the entire tongue and the muscles at the roof of your mouth. Here’s how to perform this exercise:
- Press your tongue firmly against the roof of your mouth.
- Slowly slide your tongue backward as far as you can.
- Repeat the above steps three to five times.
3. Breathing Exercises
People who frequently breathe through their mouths snore more often. However, nasal breathing exercises can strengthen the mouth and throat muscles, which helps keep the airway open while you sleep.
Here are some nasal breathing exercises you could try for some quality shut-eye:
- Keep your lips tightly pressed.
- With your index finger or knuckle, squeeze your right nostril shut.
- Take a deep breath in using your left nostril.
- With your index finger or nostril, squeeze your left nostril shut.
- Use your right nostril to exhale.
- Perform the exercise five more times for best results.
4. Soft Palate Lift
Strengthening the soft palate is essential if you want to reduce the vibrations that cause snoring. Let’s look at one way you could do that:
- Inhale deeply but not too deep.
- Forcefully articulate the vowels “A, E, I, O, U."
- Repeat the articulation three times.
This exercise can tighten the soft palate and surrounding throat muscles and may help to keep the airway open during sleep.
How Snoring Leads to Sleep Apnea?
When a person has obstructive sleep apnea, their breathing repeatedly stops and resumes while asleep. This is because the upper airway becomes blocked when the soft tissues of the mouth, nose, and throat collapse into it.
Tips for Curbing Sleep Apnea
While mouth and throat exercises offer a natural and effective way to combat mild, moderate snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, there are other ways you can use to curb sleep apnea.
Let’s check them out below:
1. CPAP Machine
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines are often the go-to treatment for severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea. They work by continuously pumping air into your respiratory passages, effectively keeping the upper airway open and facilitating unhindered breathing.
However, if you’re experiencing mild to moderate sleep apnea or snoring, start with targeted mouth and throat exercises. They may help you improve muscle tone and airway stability without the need for mechanical intervention.
2. Check for Nasal Congestion
Nasal congestion can cause you to snore by increasing airway resistance, which makes it harder for you to breathe. So, clear nasal passages are crucial for facilitating better breathing and reducing the incidence of snoring.
You can use over the counter (OTC) nasal sprays or saline solutions to get immediate — although temporary — relief from congestion. However, if you experience chronic congestion, consulting with a healthcare provider for a long-term solution is better.
3. Lifestyle Changes
Making small changes in your daily life, like reducing alcohol consumption and exercising, has a direct impact on the severity of snoring and sleep apnea symptoms.
For instance, drinking alcohol relaxes the throat muscles, which causes them to restrict your airway. So, if you avoid drinking alcohol, especially before bedtime, you may notice significant improvements.
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