Myofunctional Therapy Exercises For Sleep Apnoea

Is loud snoring leaving you feeling tired during your working day? Are you dragging yourself to work each day, in a zombie like state?  Perhaps you may be suffering from sleep apnoea? So, what can you do to help yourself?

Bear in mind, not everyone who snores has sleep apnoea, and not everyone who has sleep apnoea snores. That is an interesting fact.  So how do you tell the difference between normal snoring and the more serious affliction of sleep apnoea?

The biggest indicator is how you feel during the day.  Snoring doesn’t always interfere with the quality of your sleep as much as sleep apnoea would do.  So, you’re less likely to suffer from extreme tiredness during the day.

Oropharyngeal exercises for sleep apnoea

What exercises can you do if you have sleep apnoea?

Firstly, “Oropharyngeal” refers to the area of the throat at the back of the mouth. This area includes the back of your tongue, adenoids, tonsils and the soft palate, the back part at the top of your throat.

So, an “oropharyngeal exercise” is an exercise that you do to strengthen the muscles in and around the throat.  According to a recent report, eight minutes of oropharyngeal exercises performed three times a day significantly reduced snoring.

Two groups of volunteers were tested.  At 3 months, the total snore index dropped significantly for the exercise group but not for the non-exercise group.  The exercises improved snoring symptoms among primary snorers as well as patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnoea.  So, which exercises help?

Breathing exercises for sleep apnoea

There is a breathing exercise that reduces sleep apnoea and lowers blood pressure!

Another fascinating study was done by a group in Colorado and they have discovered a breathing exercise regimen which appears to help sleep apnoea and lower blood pressure.

Developed in the 1980s as a way to get critically ill people off ventilators, the method involves breathing in vigorously through a hand-held device, an inspiratory muscle trainer, which provides resistance.   Just like sucking hard against a one-way valve.

During early use, it was noticed in patients with lung diseases, that when they performed a 30-minute, low-resistance exercise daily, it boosted their lung capacity.

But in 2016, University of Arizona researchers published results from a trial to see if just 30 inhalations per day would work.  It did!  Using a much greater resistance than before, the method went on to help sufferers of obstructive sleep apnoea, improving and strengthening their weak breathing muscles allowing them to rest better.

In addition to more restful sleep and developing a stronger diaphragm and other related muscles, subjects showed an unexpected side effect after six weeks.  Their systolic blood pressure also dropped.

Exercises for sleep apnoea men’s health

Here is something that you can do to strengthen the muscles around the airways.  This is achieved by doing mouth exercises.  When performed for 30 minutes a day, these simple exercises, which involve chewing and swallowing motions as well as specific movements of the tongue, have been found to reduce the severity of sleep apnoea.  Also, improving sleep and easing the tendency to snore.

If snoring or sleep apnoea is interfering with your sleep, talk with your physician about your condition and whether oral exercises may be right for you.  Get started with these suggestions:

  • Push the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth and slide the tongue backward. Repeat 20 times.
  • Suck your tongue upward so that the entire tongue lies against the roof of your mouth. Repeat 20 times.
  • Force the back of your tongue downward against the floor of your mouth while keeping the tip of your tongue in contact with your bottom front teeth.

Yoga for sleep apnoea

Yoga teaches you how to breathe fully and into your diaphragm.  Many of us breathe only into our chests. Regular practice means this deeper, more quality breath becomes second nature and carries over into our sleep routine.

Yoga for sleep apnoeaCertain yoga poses also help alleviate regular stiffness of the neck, shoulders and back that sometimes lead to compression of the airway as you sleep.  Stretching everything out creates a more open sleep pattern, which then comes naturally, alleviating sleep apnoea.

The exercise is a slow, smooth process and is very relaxing and is wonderful for insomnia, anxiety and stress too. It is called Three Part Breathing.  It calms the mind and soothes the muscles.

Start by placing one hand on your upper chest and the other on your navel. Inhale into your chest then your upper abdomen, and finally puff your belly out like a balloon. Slowly release the breath in the same way, smoothly exhaling the air from your belly, then your upper abdomen, then your chest.

Incorporating a few key yoga breathing exercises into your life, can help you sleep better.

If you struggle with sleep, you already know how detrimental a poor night’s sleep can be to your mental, emotional and physical health. Incorporating these yoga breathing techniques is a safe, natural way to help you get a better night’s sleep and all of the restorative benefits a solid night of sleep provide.

Wind instrument use with sleep apnoea

Even playing wind instruments can strengthen the airways, this method has been found to help treat sleep apnoea.  Playing the oboe, may actually be good for you!

That’s the conclusion reached by the findings, presented at the Sleep and Breathing Conference in 2015, who found that musicians who play double-reed woodwind instruments including oboes, bassoons and English horns, appear to have a significantly lower risk of obstructive sleep apnoea than people who didn’t play wind instruments.

It was just one of a number of studies, all of them intended to point toward possible exercise treatments for sleep apnoea.  Removing the need for the use of continuous positive airway pressure machines long-term.  The researchers said they believe this is due to the increased muscle tone in the upper airways, which wind instrument players definitely have.

Now where did I put my saxophone?

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