Everyone snores occasionally. That’s nothing new! Sometimes you’re a little groggy; other times, you might just be feeling the effects of a blocked nose due to a cold or some other sickness. In these cases, snoring is rarely anything to worry about. However, snoring can easily become problematic. If you or a loved one are snoring regularly, it might be a sign of or precursor to sleep apnea, a faulty tonsil, or some other health issue — particularly if accompanied by infections, fevers or swollen tonsils or other mouth parts. Here are some simple tips and tricks to performing mouth and breathing exercises to help reduce your snoring.
1. Say the alphabet aloud … or, well, some of it.
Remember your vowels (A, E, I, O and U)? Say them out loud to yourself, for three minutes a few times a day. Enunciate clearly and slowly, really allowing your throat to open up as you say them out loud. Sounds a little elementary, but you will be surprised how much it can help relax your throat and ease your snoring over time. Be sure to drink warm water or tea afterward to avoid rubbing your larynx (voice box) raw — three minutes may not sound like much, but several times of vowel pronouncing each day in addition to all your normal talking can truly take a toll on your voice. Bonus points if you remember to say, “and sometimes Y”!
2. Work your throat muscles.
For you introverted folks out there, this one is a more silent exercise. Slowly open your mouth wide, being careful not to go too wide so you don’t dislocate your jaw. (Sounds silly, but it happens more often than you might think!) Once your mouth is fully open, feel out the back muscle of your throat and contract it, steadily and repeatedly, for 30 seconds. Not sure if you are doing it correctly? Take a look in the mirror while performing this exercise. The uvula — the little dangly thing in the back of your throat that many of us used to think was our tonsil — should be moving up in down with each contraction. You should also lift your soft palate 20 times at least, or until you start feeling the soreness that indicates that the exercise is opening your passageways.
3. Work your tongue and lips.
If you are a habitually grumpy person, your time has come. Close your mouth firmly and purse your lips for 30 straight seconds. This will stretch out your jaw and work the side muscles of your throat and mouth. Next, take the tip of your tongue and press it gently to the back of your front top teeth. Then, slide it backward, then forwards again. Repeat this motion, slowly but steadily, for three minutes each day. If it starts to hurt a little bit, you are doing it right — it is a sign that your muscles are working. Furthermore, you should place the tip of the tongue as well on the roof of your mouth, and pull it backward, as well as suck the tongue up to the roof of the mouth. You should also press the back of your tongue down against the bottom of your mouth while making sure the tip is pressing against the inside of the top two front teeth. Repeat every single one of these actions at least 20 times, or until you feel the hinges of your tongue starting to feel a little sore. You will notice the effects on your snoring very soon.
4. Work your jaw muscles every day.
Open your mouth slowly and widely (making sure, as we mentioned before, to not dislocate your jaw), and then shift your lower jaw to the left side of your face — just as though you are grimacing at someone you do not like. Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute, until you start to feel it becoming a little painful (again, a sign that the exercise is working, just like when you’re working out and start to feel the burn). After that, repeat the same motion to the right side of your face. Before and after completing this exercise, you should put your index finger inside your mouth to push the muscle of your cheek away from the teeth. Do this 10 times for each cheek in succession, NOT all together.
5. Work on how you’re eating.
While you are eating, bite your teeth down and then raise the tongue to the roof of the mouth right while you swallow your food. Try to do this without having your cheek muscles contract. (Your muscles can contract, but you should at least try to do it without them moving — it’s the effort that works your muscles and opens your passageways, not the actual distance of the movement itself.