Is it possible to use certain types of throat exercises for sleep apnea? Do at-home sleep apnea exercises help with snoring, airway blockage, or sleeping disorders?
Yes, Exercise is Important
With sleep apnea, physical exercise plays an important role. How? Because issues like weight gain can lead to an enlarged neck circumference, which means restriction of your upper airway. When you have sleep apnea, physical exercise helps lower your BMI to reduce thicker tissue in the back of your mouth and throat. As you lose weight, you’ll find that you should start to sleep better too.
Plus, physical exercise helps your body fall asleep better at night. Whether you prefer to work out in the morning, afternoon, or evening may be a personal preference.
Why Throat Exercises for Sleep Apnea?
When enlarged tissues around the mouth and throat restrict your airway, they can contribute to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Exercising them can help to re-train your jaw and tongue to position themselves correctly, where the tissues are less likely to collapse against each other in the back of your throat.
Special Mouth or Throat Exercises for Sleep Apnea
Some people prefer to take an alternative approach to managing sleep problems. One of those is DIY sleep apnea exercises that are supposed to tone their throat, mouth muscles, and airway.
According to certain experts, there are special exercises you can do to help tone and tighten oral tissues, reducing the chances of them sagging and blocking air when you sleep. Since airway blockage and snoring are often the result of loose tissues, throat exercises can potentially help with that.
Dental providers may recommend certain types of myofunctional therapy to train your tongue, jaw, and oral muscles to position themselves in the correct location whenever you rest. These special exercises then allow you to breath more effectively at night. However, not all exercises are appropriate for everyone. And they should always be overseen by a dental professional to prevent self-induced TMJ complications.
Certain tongue positioning and breathing exercises may start to help after a few months of practice. But they won’t “out-do” other risk factors like alcohol consumption, swollen lymph nodes, or a larger BMI.
Unfortunately, if oral exercises for sleep apnea are done incorrectly, they can cause TMJ pain, headaches, and even worn teeth.
When to Talk to a Professional
Not all sleeping disorders are the same. With the assistance of a professional, you can pinpoint the source of your sleep apnea and determine the appropriate steps to take. If oral exercises will be effective, your sleep dentistry team can tell you which ones to use, how to use them, and how often they need to be repeated.
Just like physical therapy, oral exercises for sleep apnea-done incorrectly-could lead to more harm than good.
Alternative Sleep Apnea Treatments
One of the reasons why so many people find oral exercises for sleep apnea appealing, is because they’re all natural. There is no medication or CPAP machine involved.
Fortunately, there are other proven and effective options out there as well. Such as mandibular advancement appliances, or dental sleep mouthguards. These oral appliances treat obstructive sleep apnea at its source: the back of your mouth and throat. They can be used alone or alongside your oral exercise routine for optimal results. And best of all, they usually produce faster results than exercise by itself. Especially if you have a type of sleeping disorder that exercise cannot correct.
Sleep Apnea Treatment San Diego
At SD Sleep Center, we offer professional sleep apnea treatment for people who struggle to get a good night’s rest. If you have a physical airway blockage or anatomical reason why you’re not sleeping, no amount of sleep apnea exercises will correct the issue. You’ll want to get the opinion of a team of professionals.