A lot of people think of snoring as little more than a common annoyance. But in truth, it’s usually actually a much bigger problem. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably done some research to figure out how to fix the problem. If so, you’ve probably come across some information about mouth exercises to stop snoring. But do they really work?
If you’ve ever had a family member or partner who snored, you probably know how difficult it can be to sleep in the same vicinity. Snoring is a lot louder than a lot of people realize. In fact, mean peak levels for snoring have been recorded to be between 50 and 65 decibels. And in some cases, they can even be as loud as 80 to 90 decibels.
That’s as loud as a vacuum cleaner!
With these facts in mind, it’s pretty easy to see how snoring could disrupt sleep for those within earshot. But it can also disrupt sleep for the person snoring.
So here’s the real question. Do mouth exercises stop snoring?
As it turns out, the answer may be a ‘yes.’ Here’s what you need to know.
Why Do I Snore So Bad at Night?
Snoring can be caused by a number of different factors. But generally, it’s caused by air rushing through the soft palate, in the upper airway. This air vibrates the loose tissues of the airway, which causes the ‘vibrating’ sound we recognize as ‘snoring.’
Almost everyone snores at some point in their life. About 45% of adults snore ‘occasionally,’ while about 25% tend to snore ‘regularly.’
Beware of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Snoring itself, aside from the noise it makes, isn’t usually dangerous. The real problem is that snoring is often associated with a more dangerous sleep disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
This sleep disorder is characterized by loud snoring, followed by pauses in breathing. After these pauses, the sleeping individual will seem to ‘gasp,’ and may even appear to wake up a little bit, before drifting back to sleep.
OSA is dangerous because it actually deprives the body of oxygen. It occurs when the loose tissues of the soft palate and/or the tongue completely block the airway, causing a ‘pause’ in breathing.
When the body detects that a pause in breathing has occurred, it will rouse the individual from sleep; which is usually followed by a ‘gasp’ as they inhale the oxygen their body was missing.
This kicks them out of REM sleep, and therein lies the danger. OSA sufferers are usually sleep-deprived, which puts them at an increased risk for a whole host of different diseases and conditions.
Bottom line: if you think that you may be suffering from OSA, it’s imperative that you talk to your doctor right away.
How Can I Stop Snoring Naturally Tonight?
Thankfully, there are a few different natural remedies for snoring. And there are more than a few mouth exercises to stop snoring. And yes, these exercises actually work pretty well.
There is even scientific research to back this up. For example; a number of studies have shown that “a clearly defined set of exercises, repeated over time” can factor positively into snoring reduction.
How Do Mouth Exercises Help to Reduce Snoring?
Mouth exercises engage the muscles of the mouth, tongue, upper airway, and throat to tighten and tone the tissue; resulting in a firmer, stronger airway that won’t be as likely to collapse-in on itself as you sleep.
For the most part, muscles in the mouth, tongue, and airway are like every other muscle in the body. When you exercise them, they grow. And as they grow stronger, they get better at keeping the airway open.
What Exercises Reduce Snoring?
Let’s talk about which exercises, in particular, can help to reduce your snoring risk.
17 Mouth Exercises to Stop Snoring
1. Tongue Slide
This exercise is simple. Start by pressing the tip of your tongue against the back of your top front teeth. Now, slide your tongue back across the roof of your mouth, and then slide it forward again. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.
2. Tongue Push Up
Press as much of your tongue as possible against the roof of your mouth. Push upward with your tongue, and hold that pressure for 10 seconds. Repeat this 5 times.
3. Lower Tongue Stretch
For this exercise, stick your tongue out as far as it will go, and curve it downward; as if trying to touch your chin. Hold this position for 10 seconds, and increase the duration slightly with each rep. Repeat this 5 times.
4. Tongue Push Down
Place the tip of your tongue against the back of your bottom front teeth. Then, place the rest of your tongue along the floor of your mouth. Apply pressure, and hold the position for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 5 times.
5. Pronounce Your Vowels
Repeat the vowel sounds; a – e – i – o – u. Start off by saying them normally. Then, hold out the sounds longer. Then, say them quickly. Find multiple different ways to say them so that you exercise different parts of your throat. Repeat the exercise 10 to 20 times.
Singing has shown promise for snoring reduction. Try to sing songs that require you to repeat sounds, and pay attention to how different types of songs are exercising your throat muscles. For best results, sing a variety of songs that work the different parts of your throat. Try to sing for at least 15-20 minutes per day.
7. Tongue Clicking
Make loud clicking sounds with your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Create as many clicks as possible in the span of 15 seconds, rest, and repeat. Do this 10 times.
8. Throat Contractions
Open your mouth and contract the muscles at the back of your throat. If you’re doing this properly, you should see your uvula move up and down while watching yourself in the mirror. Contract, hold for a second, and then release. Repeat this 30 times.
9. Jaw Rotations
Open your mouth and slide your lower jaw to one side. Hold for 30 seconds, then move it to the other side. Repeat this exercise 3 times for each side.
10. Tongue Roll
Roll up your tongue so that it looks like a taco, then stick it out as far as you can; while still keeping it folded. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then release and relax. Repeat this 10 times.
11. Upper Tongue Stretch
Stick out your tongue as far as possible, and move it upwards; as if trying to lick the tip of your nose. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
12. Tongue Side-to-Sides
Stick out your tongue as far as possible, and move it as far to the left as you can. Hold this position for 10 seconds, relax, then move to the opposite side. Repeat each side 3 times.
13. Lip Crunches
Close your mouth. Now, purse your lips and hold that position for 30 seconds. Repeat this 3 times.
14. Tongue Plank
Hold a spoon in front of your lips. Now, push your tongue against the spoon, and hold the pressure without letting your tongue drift downward. Hold the pressure for 10 seconds, relax, and then repeat. Do this 10 times.
15. Spoon Hold
Place the handle of a spoon between your lips. Squeeze it and hold it in place, but don’t use your teeth. You should feel the strain of holding the spoon up. Hold it up for 10 seconds, then rest. Repeat 10 times. If it gets too easy, place something (like a sugar cube) into the spoon to make it heavier.
16. Button Pull
For this exercise, tie a string to a button. Now, place the button in your mouth (watch out, don’t swallow it or choke on it). Purse your lips to hold the button in your mouth, and pull the string to exert pressure. Apply pressure for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat this 10 times.
17. The Cheek Push
After thoroughly washing your hands, insert your index finger into your mouth, and press against the inside of your cheek. Flex your cheek muscle to resist this pressure. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times on both sides.
Do Exercises to Stop Snoring Really Work?
While it might not seem like something that would work, mouth exercises actually do tend to help with snoring to a certain degree. But as with most types of exercises, their success depends on you remaining consistent and continuing to do them every day over long periods of time.
This is probably the biggest downside to mouth exercising to stop snoring.
If you only do them once or twice, you probably won’t see a benefit. It takes time and commitment to get exercises to pay off.
How Long Will It Take to See Results From Mouth Exercises for Snoring?
For best results, you need to do the exercises consistently for 20 to 30 minutes per day, for about three to four weeks. If you stick with it for this length of time, you’ll likely start to notice some benefits.
The first couple of days, don’t be surprised if your tongue, throat, and mouth muscles are tired and sore. But this is a good sign. This means that you’re breaking down the muscle tissue and rebuilding it to be stronger. Keep it up, and your muscles will increase. Keep it up long enough, and it should eventually have a positive impact on your quality of sleep.
Fast-Track Your Results With Other Healthy Sleeping Habits
While mouth exercises help, it doesn’t hurt to crank up your efforts with some additional habits.
Get plenty of whole-body exercises. The more in-shape you are, and the healthier you are, the less fatty tissue there will be around your neck to constrict the airway.
Stop smoking. Smoking contributes to your snoring risk in numerous ways. And giving it up will give you your best shot at stopping your snoring problems.
Stop drinking before going to bed. Drinking alcohol contributes to your snoring risk as well; especially if you do it right before going to bed. Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it will relax your muscles. This makes it even easier for your soft palate to collapse-in on your airway while you’re trying to sleep.
Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your side is actually one of the quickest, easiest ways to potentially cut down your snoring risk. When you sleep on your back, gravity is going to pull the soft tissues of the inner airway downward to inhibit your breathing. But when you sleep on your side, gravity doesn’t work against you nearly as much. Sometimes, this is an effective way to cut back on snoring.
Use a stop snoring device. A stop snoring device may be more invasive than mouth exercises, and it may not be a permanent solution. But while you’re waiting for your mouth exercises and other lifestyle choices to start working, anti-snoring devices can be a great way to keep your snoring problems at bay. Consider trying one of the following…
- Mandibular advancement device
- Tongue stabilization device
- Nasal strips
- Nasal dilators
- A snoring chin strap
- A ‘smart’ snoring device like the Smart Nora
Any of these products has the potential to help you get a better night’s sleep.
Take Action Today to Stop Your Snoring Problem
As stated earlier, snoring isn’t always a huge problem.
But it can be.
Your quality of sleep is far too important to leave at risk.
At the end of the day, the most important thing that you can do for your sleep quality is to take action to stop your snoring issue. That may mean lifestyle changes, buying a stop snoring device, and using mouth exercises to stop snoring.
Keep it up and get the rest you need! And once again, if you think you may have OSA, make sure to talk to your doctor about it.