Mouth exercises to stop snoring are among the simplest solutions you can have to stop snoring. Mouth and throat exercises are convenient in that you can do them almost anywhere; before bed, in the morning, while driving to and from work, or any other time of the day. Many mouth, tongue, and throat exercise therapies claim that they can effectively treat or cure snoring and limit mouth breathing while sleeping.
Snoring is related to many other health issues including sleep apnea, high blood pressure, being overweight, and even stress and anxiety.
What Are Snoring Mouth Exercises?
The idea of mouth exercises is to strengthen the muscles of your mouth so you have less chance of having a relaxed throat during sleep. Snoring mouth exercises are usually carried out at home without any medical supervision.
There are several mouth workouts that use different techniques for toning up the muscles in your mouth, including jaw aches and soreness. Many of these methods require some kind of physical devices such as an oral appliance (mouth guard) or splints that fit snugly into your mouth with the aim of keeping the mouth and tongue in a certain position overnight. However, there are many other exercises for the mouth or throat that can be done with no special tools or equipment.
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring can be caused by several factors including sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (Even moderate OSA) and other blocked breathing passages issues, inflamed tonsils (adenoids) or throat muscles in the back of your throat, and even non-injury or illness-related factors such as the position of the tip of your tongue, the size and shape of the nose, even the tongue falling to the roof of your mouth or chin position while sleeping can cause snoring!
Many people snore simply because their mouth falls open during sleep, which allows air to flow directly into the throat and causes the sound of snoring. Mouth and throat exercises can help to address some of these causes and reduce your chances of snoring. Snoring can cause excessive daytime sleepiness Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source a significant decrease in motivation, and brain fatigue.
There are many different types of mouth and throat exercises that have been developed over the years to try and stop snoring. Most of them involve strengthening the tongue, lips, jaw, and cheeks.
Mouth and throat exercises are known as myofunctional therapy or oropharyngeal exercises and are also used in speech therapy, and by singers and actors.
How Can Mouth Exercises Help Stop Snoring and Sleep Apnea?
Mouth exercises can help to stop snoring and sleep apnea by strengthening the mouth muscles and keeping the mouth closed while you sleep. Many people find mouth exercises helpful in reducing their snoring, but not everyone will find them effective.
It’s important to find an exercise routine that feels comfortable for you and that you can stick to. If mouth exercises don’t seem to be working, or if they are too difficult to do, then you might want to try some throat exercises instead. Throat exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles in your throat and help keep it open while you sleep.
Oral Exercises to Try
- Tongue slide: Make sure the tip of your tongue is placed against the back of your upper front teeth and slowly slide the tongue along the hard palate of the mouth(the roof of the mouth) back and forward for five minutes.
- Tongue stretch: Tilt your head and stick out the tongue as far as possible. Or, try to touch your nose with your tongue and hold it for five minutes.
- Tongue push down: Place the tip of your tongue along the back of your lower teeth. Next, collapse the tongue against the floor of the mouth and hold the position for 10 seconds and repeat for a few minutes.
- Tongue push up: The tongue push up is the opposite of the tongue push down, where you push the tongue against the roof of the mouth for 10 seconds and repeat for up to five minutes.
- Lip pucker: Pucker your lips as if you are going to kiss someone and try to keep them pursed for several seconds, and repeat for a few minutes.
- Suck it!: Suck on a lemon or lime wedge for about 30 seconds
- Chewing: Bite into a piece of celery or carrot for about 30 seconds
- Oh challenge: Make an “O” shape with your mouth, then move your lips up and down as if you were saying “oh”
- Tongue curl: Curl your tongue up into a tube and hold for 5 seconds
- Tongue flip: Flip your tongue over so the underside is visible and hold for 5 seconds
Some people find mouth exercises helpful, while others find them uncomfortable and difficult to stick to. It’s important to keep in mind that there is no one exercise routine that will work for everyone, so it might take some trial and error before you find an exercise routine that works for you.
If mouth exercises don’t seem to be working, or if they are too difficult to do, then you might want to try some throat exercises instead. Throat exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles in your throat and help keep it open while you sleep. A few exercises that you can try:
- Tiger yell: For the tiger yell, you open the mouth as if you are yelling, but don’t make any noises.
- Say Ahhhh!: Say “ahh” as if you’re about to have your mouth examined by the dentist
- Throat humming: Make a humming noise for about 30 seconds
- Water hold: Swallow a mouthful of water and hold it for a few seconds
Like mouth exercises, not everyone will find throat exercises helpful. It’s important to find an exercise routine that feels comfortable for you and that you can do comfortably wherever you are. If neither mouth nor throat exercises seem to be working, then there are other solutions available, such as surgery or using a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. Talk to your doctor to find the best solution for you.
About Sleep Apnea
“Apneas are classified as obstructive or central, but regardless, they arise because of an absence of airflow, causing a disordered breathing event,” notes Dr. Nayantara Santhi. “There are generally two types of apnea: Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA and Central Sleep Apnea or CSA.”
“OSA is characterized by an episodic sleep state–dependent collapse of the upper airway. In contrast, CSA occurs as a result of a temporary reduction in the pontomedullary pacemaker, in the brain.”
If mouth and throat exercises do not seem to work, you may want to pay attention to symptoms of sleep apnea or other sleep disorders. Symptoms of having sleep apnea are snoring, waking up with a headache or dry throat and mouth, and even people with a high BMI or who have increased body weight may get sleep apnea. There are some masks or other mouth appliances that can help reduce snoring if you have sleep apnea.
The mouth is an important part of the body that helps us speak, eat and breathe. Oral health is essential to overall health. It’s also an important part of the process of snoring. Many people snore because their mouth falls open during sleep, which allows air to flow directly into the throat and causes the sound of snoring.
Other Ways to Reduce Snoring
There are several lifestyle changes you can implement to help reduce snoring including improving sleep posture and sleeping on your side, bettering sleep hygiene, and losing weight for better sleep if you are overweight. Talk to your doctor about a healthy diet and exercise plan that will help you lose weight safely.
Aside from looking at mattresses for snoring, you might want to consider ways to comfortably elevate your upper body. Doing so makes it easier to breathe at night, as it limits gravity’s effect on your mouth and throat’s soft tissues.
A wedge pillow can raise the body fairly well, though many prefer the comfort of an adjustable bed.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I be concerned about snoring?
Snoring can be benign, but it can also be a sign of something more severe, such as sleep apnea. Snoring that is particularly loud and bothersome or happens more than three times a week can be worth bringing up to your doctor. However, since we typically won’t realize we’re snoring unless we record ourselves or a partner alerts us to the issue, it’s also important to look at daytime symptoms.
Sleepers who snore significantly to their detriment may find themselves struggling with excessive daytime sleepiness, finding that their thinking feels sluggish and unfocused. They may have other physical symptoms such as high blood pressure or unexpected weight gain that leads to obesity.
Do anti-snoring devices work?
While anti-snoring devices can relieve symptoms, some people find they simply aren’t right for them. Some anti-snoring devices feel uncomfortable to wear, while others simply don’t adequately treat underlying issues that can cause snoring, like sleep apnea. Speaking with your doctor can help you thoroughly consider remedies and fine-tune your plan to stop snoring.
How can mouth exercises help stop snoring?
Toning up the muscles in the throat and mouth decreases how much the soft tissues relax as you sleep. Or in other words, toned muscles reduce how much soft tissues block the airway. Many find these exercises are a natural way to relieve snoring, freeing them from dependence on oral appliances that can feel uncomfortable at night.
How can I stop snoring naturally?
Aside from mouth and throat exercises, a simple and natural way to reduce snoring is to try elevating your upper body with a wedge pillow or even an adjustable bed. Elevating the upper body keeps gravity from collapsing soft tissues in the throat that cause snoring.
Taking steps to reduce mucus with over-the-counter nasal strips can also help, as nasal congestion at night can cause loud bouts of snoring. Nasal strips serve a similar function, widening the nostrils for more airflow.
Many also find that shedding pounds can also help with snoring, though as losing weight takes time and effort, it’s important to look at more immediate ways to reduce snoring.
How long can you wear nasal strips for snoring?
You shouldn’t use nasal strips for more than 12 hours at a time, which is far longer than what most people will need for a good night’s rest. Nasal strips work to prevent snoring by holding the nostrils open a touch wider, enabling easier airflow for better breathing. Sleepers can slip them on before bedtime and take them off in the morning.
When Should You See a Doctor About Snoring?
If mouth and throat exercises don’t seem to be working, there are other solutions available to improve sleep hygiene. However, such other alternatives should be considered by a doctor or other health professional.
It’s always important to consult a doctor about any type of health concern, including snoring and sleep apnea. Your doctor can provide you with the best advice and help you find a solution that works for you. You may even have to undergo a sleep study to determine the best solution for you.
About the author
Eric Ridenour is a health and wellness writer with a focus on sleep and nutrition. He has studied health science and psychology at a university level and has consulted several businesses and individuals on the connection between sleep and overall well-being including the effect lack of sleep has on other aspects of health such as exercise, nutrition, and concentration. He is a published author working on his second book.View all posts