Mouth and Throat Exercises for Snoring.
For people with mild snoring, research has shown that mouth and throat exercises can help tone the muscles around the airway so that snoring is not as frequent or noisy. Likewise, the same mouth and throat exercises have been shown to improve mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea1xTrusted Source
These mouth exercises are also called “myofunctional therapy” or “oropharyngeal exercises.” It is often taught by a trained myofunctional therapist.
Who Can Benefit From Mouth and Throat Exercises for Snoring?
The benefits of these mouth and throat exercises (“myofunctional therapy”) have been widely studied in people who snore or have mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. People with obstructive sleep apnea have the most benefit with myofunctional therapy when used in conjunction with a CPAP machine or after surgery.
It is important to note that even for mild snoring, mouth and throat exercises are not always effective. Individual factors, like the size and shape of a person’s mouth, tongue, and throat, may affect how well these exercises work.
Oropharyngeal exercises may be less effective if a person’s snoring is related to alcohol or use of sedatives that cause relaxation of the muscles in the back of the throat.
What Mouth Exercises Can Help Stop Snoring?
There are various types of exercises meant to strengthen the tongue, facial muscles, and throat through specific training techniques. Each of these exercises can be grouped together in various ways and performed two to three times per day.
Tongue Exercise #1: Tongue Slide
Place the tip of your tongue against the back of your top front teeth. Slowly slide your tongue backward with the tip moving along the roof of your mouth. Repeat 5-10 times.
Purpose of exercise: This strengthens your tongue and throat muscles.
Tongue Exercise #2: Tongue Stretch
Stick out your tongue as far as you can. Try to touch your chin with your tongue while looking at the ceiling. Hold for 10 – 15 seconds and increase the duration gradually. Repeat 5 times.
Purpose of Exercise: Increase tongue strength
Tongue Exercise #3: Tongue Push Up
Stick your tongue upward against the roof of your mouth and press your entire tongue against it. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
Purpose: Improve tongue and soft palate tone and strength
Tongue Exercise #4: Tongue Push Down
Put the tip of your tongue against your lower front teeth and then push the back of your tongue flat against the floor of your mouth. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
Purpose: Improve tongue and soft palate tone and strength
Mouth exercises engage your facial muscles to help prevent snoring. These exercises can be done several times per day.
Face Exercise #1: Cheek Hook
Use a hooked finger to lightly pull your right cheek outward, and then use your facial muscles to pull your cheek back inward. Repeat 10 times on each side.
Purpose: Assists in closure of mouth while breathing
Face Exercise #2:
Tightly close your mouth by pursing your lips. Then open your mouth, relaxing your jaw and lips. Repeat 10 times.
Purpose: Improves tone and strength of jaws and facial and throat muscles.
Breathing Through Your Nose
Practice breathing through your nose.
With your mouth closed and your jaw relaxed, inhale through your nose.
Then, take a finger or knuckle and close off one nostril.
Breathe out gently through the open nostril.
Do this about 10 times while alternating between nostrils.
You may even notice one nostril tends to be more congested than the other, and choose to work on breathing through the congested nostril.
Purpose: This exercise improves nasal breathing, which stabilizes the airway during sleep.
Pronouncing Vowel Sounds
Saying different vowel sounds involves the muscles in your throat, so deliberately repeating these sounds can help tone those muscles.
Repeat the vowel sounds a-e-i-o-u. Start by saying each normally, and then adjust how much you stretch out the sound or how rapidly you say the vowel. Repeat the same sound 10 or 20 times in a row, and then change to a different sound. You can combine sounds (such as ooo-aaah) and repeat those as well.
Singing activates multiple muscles in the mouth and throat and involves pronouncing diverse sounds, including vowels. Preliminary research5xTrusted SourceNational Library of Medicine, Biotech InformationThe National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov has found that focused singing training may cut down on snoring6. When singing, try to focus on repeating and forcefully pronouncing individual sounds rather than just singing normal lyrics.
De Felicio, C.M., da Silva Dias, F.V., Voi Trawitzki, .LV. (2018) Obstructive sleep apnea: focus on myofunctional therapy. Nature and Science of Sleep, 10:271-286.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6132228/
Guimarães, K. C., Drager, L. F., Genta, P. R., Marcondes, B. F., & Lorenzi-Filho, G. (2009). Effects of oropharyngeal exercises on patients with moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine, 179(10), 962–966.https://doi.org/10.1164/rccm.200806-981OC
Ieto, V., Kayamori, F., Montes, M. I., Hirata, R. P., Gregório, M. G., Alencar, A. M., Drager, L. F., Genta, P. R., & Lorenzi-Filho, G. (2015). Effects of Oropharyngeal Exercises on Snoring: A Randomized Trial. Chest, 148(3), 683–691.https://doi.org/10.1378/chest.14-2953
Goswami, U., Black, A., Krohn, B., Meyers, W., & Iber, C. (2019). Smartphone-based delivery of oropharyngeal exercises for treatment of snoring: a randomized controlled trial. Sleep & breathing = Schlaf & Atmung, 23(1), 243–250.https://doi.org/10.1007/s11325-018-1690-y
Ojay, A., & Ernst, E. (2000). Can singing exercises reduce snoring? A pilot study. Complementary therapies in medicine, 8(3), 151–156.https://doi.org/10.1054/ctim.2000.0376
Hilton, M. P., Savage, J. O., Hunter, B., McDonald, S., Repanos, C., & Powell, R. (2013). Singing Exercises Improve Sleepiness and Frequency of Snoring among Snorers—A Randomised Controlled Trial. International Journal of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery, 02(03), 97–102.https://doi.org/10.4236/ijohns.2013.23023
Schwab, R. J. (2020, June). Merck Manual Professional Version: Snoring. Retrieved July 23, 2020, fromhttps://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/sleep-and-wakefulness-disorders/snoring