How To Stop Snoring, The Scientific Way: Five Mouth Exercises That Will Keep Your Snooze Noises To A Minimum
There are countless movie scenes where, "the morning after," one half of the couple wakes up first, and watches their significant other sleeping like a beautiful, silent angel. If you're one of 90 million Americans who snore, this moment might be a little um... louder. And slightly more embarrassing. So how do you stop snoring? A new study published in CHEST medical journal suggests your days (er, nights) of snorting and snuffling may well be behind you with a few simple tongue exercises.
The study, which tested people diagnosed with primary snoring and mild sleep apnea, found that participants experienced a 36 percent reduced rate in snoring and a 69 percent decline in snore power after three months of "oropharyngeal" (mouth and tongue) exercises. The study also compared those completing oropharyngeal exercises to another group using nasal dilator strips and respiratory exercises, with the focus on whether therapy (oropharyngeal) or control (nasal strips) approaches were more successful.
So what causes snoring, anyway? According to the National Sleep Foundation, when we snooze, our muscles relax and our throats become "floppy" and narrow. Breathing in causes the walls of the throat to vibrate, hence that very idiosyncratic and very irritating snoring sound. Snoring affects all demographics, but increased age and obesity can definitely irritate the problem.
"Floppy" throats sound super gross, and snoring can mean that both you and your bedfellow(s) are not receiving an adequate amount of sleep, which can lead to a whole host of health problems. Here are five easy exercise to help you sleep better (and more quietly); head on over to Medical Daily to see a diagram of them in action.
1. Push the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth and slide the tongue backward.
The key here is the "backwards" part — just like this GIF of a snowboarder running in reverse.
2. Suck the tongue upward against the roof of the mouth, and press the entire tongue against the roof of the mouth.
No, not that kind of roof, Dwight and Michael.
3. Force the back of the tongue against the floor of the mouth while keeping the tip of the tongue in contact with the bottom, front teeth.
Let your tongue scuttle along the bottom of your mouth, just like this strange cephalopod does across the ocean floor.
4. Elevate the back of the roof of the mouth and uvula while saying the vowel "A."
Just, you know... without the whole Scarlet Letter thing.