Sleep apnea is one of the leading causes of snoring. Besides giving you sleepless nights, it leads to many other problems as well. Among the many reasons for sleep apnea or snoring is the loose soft palate. It is therefore natural to look for solutions on how do you strengthen your soft palate.
There are many techniques which inform how do you strengthen your soft palate. Oropharyngeal exercises or the mouth exercises are one such method, They are ideal to strengthen the muscles, and the soft tissues in the throat as well as the nasal canal.
Regular mouth exercises can help in cases of snoring and sleep apnea. Not only that, but they also make other forms of therapy, such as CPAP more effective.
Mouth exercises have many benefits in improving the overall health of your throat and mouth region. Therefore it is essential to learn and do them regularly. However, it is more important is to know how to do it correctly, so that you can target the specific areas and get the desired results.
Meaning of Oropharyngeal
The word “Oropharyngeal” relates to the region of the throat and the inner part of the mouth. It includes your tongue, palatine uvula, tonsils, adenoids, and the soft palate. When we say soft palate, it applies to the inner rear part of the roof of the mouth, towards your throat.
Importance of the soft palate
As the name indicates it is the soft part of the roof of your mouth towards the throat. It has an important role to play In controlling the movement of the food as you swallow it and also so in speaking correctly.
It also coordinates the opening and closing of the ear cavity between swallowing and breathing. when you swallow it moves upwards and shuts down the nasal passage momentarily.
The involuntary function of the soft palate ensures that there is no choking while breathing. It is crucial during activities like blowing and sucking.
Not only that, it assists in the correct production of sound during the speech.
Impaired movement of the soft palate due to any reason gives your speech an abnormal, nasal quality. Similarly, when the loose palate relaxes during your sleep, it can also obstruct breathing and cause snoring.
Why should you do Soft Palate Exercises?
As brought out earlier, the action of the soft palate plays an important function. It helps not only in breathing but also in swallowing as well as in the quality of your speech.
Breathing impairment can arise during sleep and cause snoring as well as sleep apnea. Strengthening the soft palate is one of the easiest and the most effective ways to control snoring during your sleep.
Some of the highlights of doing soft palate exercises are-
Mouth exercises– They tone up the muscles and are done by repeatedly raising and lowering is soft palate. This increases the thickness of your palate and prevents it from becoming loose while you sleep.
Tongue exercises – They strengthen the muscles and reduce the chances of its collapse as you sleep, thereby ensuring that the air passage is free, and there is no obstruction.
How Do You Strengthen Your Soft Palate –
Yawn forcefully a few times
Every time you yawn, your soft palate is forced to arch upward. To make it more beneficial, you can yawn and loudly say “ah”.
Sucking and Blowing Action
The soft palate shifts naturally whenever you suck anything, swallow or blow. The more deliberate action you do, the more it exercises the palate.
Do everyday activities that include sucking action using a curly or straight straw. Use it while having a milkshake or smoothie, blowing bubbles using a straw, blowing a horn and blowing out candles using a straw.
Practice this regularly –
- Close your mouth and fill in your cheeks with air. Keep them puffed and breathe from your nose without deflating the cheeks.
- Blow out into a straw while keeping the other end blocked. This will increase the pressure on your cheeks.
- Suck a small quantity of fluid into a straw, and carry it to different
- container, without dropping any of it.
How do you strengthen your soft palate by simple Exercises
This is one of the easiest exercises that you can do without much supervision.
- Do a deep inhalation through your nose. Hold it for a few seconds, and exhale through the mouth.
- While exhaling, keep your lips pressed, making a very small opening so that it gives a resistance to flow.
- Try to achieve the inhalation and exhalation cycle of 10 seconds, and repeat it 10 to 15 times, at least 4 to 5 times a day.
- Another method for doing this is to use a balloon.
- Inflating the balloon causes resistance in your cheeks, and strengthen the muscles of your mouth. This has a positive effect on the soft palate.
- This would also train your respiratory system as it modifies the normal breathing action from involuntary to voluntary.
Effect – This activity raises the uvula as well as the soft palate. It also stretches the pharynx and exercises the respiratory system.
Practice pronouncing the vowels loudly in front of the mirror.
While doing so, observe the way you form your words. Ensure that you speak loudly by exaggerating every syllable. At the same time, check the movement of your mouth.
Repeat all the vowels sequentially at least 5 times. Do this regularly, in continuation with the other mouth exercises.
Stretching the mouth and throat muscles ensures toning up and strengthening of your soft palate.
Remember that the soft palate consists of delicate muscle fibers enclosed in a thin mucous layer. It needs exercises, like any other body part, to function properly,
Its proper movement is essential to close the nasal passages while swallowing while eating or drinking and prevent choking. Exercising regularly decreases the instances of snoring and sleep apnea remarkably and helps you in overcoming all the problems associated with sleeplessness.