If the results of a new study are to be believed, a few exercises of the mouth and tongue could be all it takes to stop snoring at night.
A team of Brazilian and Colombian researchers has concluded that by using a technique of oropharyngeal mouth and tongue exercises, you could reduce snoring by 36% in frequency and 59% in intensity.
Snoring is caused by vibrations of the tissues in the throat that relax during sleep and proceed to obstruct the pharynx. It can be accentuated by certain factors like sleeping on your back, alcohol or tobacco consumption, or surplus weight. According to the National Sleep Foundation, snoring affects approximately 90 million American adults, 37 million of them on a regular basis.
The exercises are rather simple and possible for all. The researchers described them as follows:
– Pushing the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth and sliding the tongue backward.
– Sucking the tongue upward against the roof of the mouth, and pressing the entire tongue against the roof of the mouth.
– Forcing 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.
– And elevating the back of the roof of the mouth and uvula while saying the vowel "A."
The team studied 39 volunteers, aged 46-59 and overweight (one of the risk factors for snoring). They were split into two groups, the first undergoing a three-month treatment in the form of nasal dilator strips plus respiratory exercises and the second daily oropharyngeal exercises. At the end of the three months, the patients had to submit to sleep tests to objectively measure their snoring.
The conclusions, published on May 7 on the journal Chest, reveal that "Oropharyngeal exercises are effective in reducing objectively measured snoring and are a possible treatment for a large population suffering from snoring."
A 2009 study had previously revealed that oropharyngeal exercises could reduce symptoms related to sleep apnea, of which snoring is one of the most common symptoms.
The detection of snoring that causes sleep apnea is important because this issue, often ignored, can potentially be the cause of cardiovascular problems.