Last updated October 29th, 2018
Sleep Apnea? What does it really mean? How can one treat sleep apnea? Read more to find out along with sleep apnea exercises to help you treat it.
Well, sleep apnea refers to a sleeping disorder in which the person suffering from it has trouble breathing during deep sleep, causing the person to snore loudly. The breathing patterns are irregular, which means that the breathing starts and stop continuously. Another major problem faced by the person suffering from sleep apnea is that he/she feels restless even if they have slept the whole night, pulled muscles are very normal in this condition. Here we will discuss a few sleep apnea exercises so that you can enjoy a sound sleep.
Sleep apnea has mainly three types; the first one is Obstructive sleep apnea; this is a very common type which takes place while our muscles relax. The second one is Central sleep apnea which is experienced when our brain fails to send the correct signals to our muscles which results in them being unable to control the breathing patterns. The third and the final one is Complex sleep apnea syndrome; this is a form in which a person suffers from a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Exercises For Sleep apnea
The muscles which play a key role in all the exercises related to sleep apnea are tongue, jaw, throat, soft palate and face. Out of the above-stated muscles, the tongue is generally given the most importance in the exercises for sleep apnea. Like all other muscles, the tongue also relaxes while we sleep provided that the person has a normal sized tongue. If not, then there is a very high possibility that during your sleep, a largely sized tongue can fall backward into your throat posing a threat to your life. In order to avoid sleep apnea, the following exercises need to be taken seriously, and they will definitely have a great impact on your health:
1. Tongue exercises
- Say the word “door” multiple times placing your tongue on the upper bridge of your mouth and leaving it there for almost 5 seconds and then repeating the process.
- Place your tongue in the same position as stated above while making sounds of tsk tsk.
- Chewing gum before going to sleep is another effective exercise for the treatment of sleep apnea.
- Grab a pen or something of that sort and place it between your teeth. Maintain this position for about a good 10 minutes; practice this exercise daily before going to sleep, and it will help in strengthening your jaws.
- Open your mouth as hard as you can and then stick your tongue out with its tip facing downwards and hold that position for as long as you can. Sticking your tongue out at a good distance would be helpful.
2. Throat exercises
When it comes to exercises related to the throat for the treatment of sleep apnea, then silent yelling plays a key role in this. Silent yelling does not refer to actual yelling, in fact, it is an act which requires a person to open their mouth as wide as possible as if a person is about to yell.
This exercise targets at making your throat muscles more strong, so make sure to maintain that position for a good 6 minutes.
3. Soft palate exercises
When a person is sleeping, there is a very high possibility that a soft palate can move into your throat causing sleep apnea. In order to avoid this possibility, you need to practice some exercises. This exercise shall target your palate. What you need to do is close your mouth and slowly breathe through your nose, then bring your lips closer to each other and press them; this will create resistance, then breathe outwards from your mouth. The exhaling action shall last at least five seconds. It is generally advised to carry out this exercise at least four times in a day.
4. Jaw exercises
Exercises involving your jaw for treating sleep apnea require a person to move their jaw upwards and then downwards; this relaxes your muscles. Close your mouth in such a way that your teeth are very much in contact with each other. Place your tongue against your upper teeth, and then curve your tongue against the roof of your tongue, slide the tip along as far as it is possible for you. Hold your tongue in that position and then open your mouth slowly and gradually until you get to the point where your tongue does not touch the roof anymore. Daily practice of this exercise will help achieve better results.
5. Yoga exercises
Yoga is something which has a profound effect on your health and life. Its effect is long lasting. Yoga is not restricted to any certain age and can be practiced by anyone be it a child, an adult or an old person. Yoga helps in the treatment of sleep apnea as well. There are several breathing and relaxation techniques involved in yoga which solves the snoring problem as well as sleep apnea itself. The most popular exercise in yoga related to the promotion of sleep is known as Yoga Nidra which means sleep. Then there is a breathing exercise which is called Pranayama which focuses on increasing the lung capacity in a human body resulting in an increased oxygen level. Increase in the oxygen level causes the metabolic rates to increase as well as digestion and elimination. Therefore the rest of the body muscles and tissues feel relaxed. This helps treat sleep apnea.
6. Playing didgeridoo
This exercise is another effective one. A person who plays didgeridoo regularly, experiences that he/she are better able to control sleep apnea. This exercise largely targets people suffering from the obstructive form of sleep apnea. It helps to avoid daytime sleeping, loud snoring and improves the sleep quality of partners. Playing didgeridoo helps reduce severe sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a very serious medical problem, which is given due importance. Sleep apnea can affect anyone whether it is a child or an adult or an old person. If in a case, sleep apnea goes unnoticed or if a person intentionally ignores it due to the lack of awareness or laziness, then this condition gets even worse and has direct effects on your health and life, it can even result in the death of the person suffering from it. Excess weight, old age, narrowed airway, liver problems; metabolic syndrome and diabetes are some of the major problems which are faced among people suffering from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is treatable; it’s just that people need to take it more seriously in order to avoid any other complications. The treatment of any medical condition requires strong determination, steady and continuous practice to see improved results. The sleep apnea exercises mentioned above will surely help you get through with sleep apnea in an effective manner.