exercise for sleep apnea

10 Exercises For sleep apnea (Tongue, Jaw, Throat)

Doing a few exercises of the tongue and face daily, for half an hour at a time, reduces the severity of obstructive sleep apnea, revealed a study.

The Brazilian study included 31 adults with moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

The speech therapist taught 16 patients to perform language, throat, and breathing exercises for three minutes a day. These exercises include placing the tip of the tongue on a soft palate, sliding the tongue back, pronouncing vowels quickly or continuously, and keeping the tongue in a certain position while eating.

By comparison, the other 15 patients did not learn any breathing, tongue, or facial exercises. They were monitored as they practiced deep breathing for half an hour.

After 3 months, patients in the group of tongue and throat movement reduced the severity of obstructive sleep apnea, and these patients also reported that they snored less, slept better, and had less sleep during the day than before learning exercises at the beginning of the study.

Tongue Exercises Improve Obstructive Sleep Apnea 

The tongue is a muscle, and like all muscles, it needs to relax while sleeping. The tongue plays an important role in breathing, although relaxation is not a problem while its size is normal. However, when a large tongue relaxes during sleep, it tends to crush and fall back into the throat.

The condition can lead to episodes of obstructive apnea, which can pose a risk to the health of the person and later life. However, there are tongue exercises that mitigate the negative effects of obstructive sleep apnea.

This movement of the tongue can strengthen the chin. Stretch the tip of the tongue to the nose first. Few people can play, but it’s fun to try.

And if you’re one of the few people with this special tongue, you’ve just learned a new party trick!


The trick is to make this drill enough times to make your chin stronger. Keep each “representative” for a few seconds, relax, and then repeat 10 times.

  • Open your mouth well and pull your tongue out.
  • Try to touch your chin with the tip of your tongue.
  • When the tongue is in a full stretch, hold it there for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat this 10 times a day.
  • Now try to touch your nose with your tongue.
  • When the tongue is stretching, hold it there for 5 seconds. Repeat this movement 10 times a day.

Purpose: Exercise and strengthen the muscles of the tongue and exercise the muscles of the throat and jaw.

2 TONGUE PRESS Exercises

Push your tongue against your hard palate.

  • Do this for 5 seconds, then slide the tongue back of the mouth.
  • At least a third of your tongue should be against your hard palate, not just the tip of your tongue.
  • Keep the uvula raised for 5 seconds and repeat 10 more times.
  • Keep your jaw open during this exercise and avoid biting.
  • Repeat this movement 10 more times and 4 times a day.

Objective: Strengthen genioglossus and improve strength in hyoid and bone muscles.

Jaw Tension Release

A tight jaw exerts pressure on the respiratory tract. When the tongue is in a resting position, the mouth closed the tongue against the roof of the mouth, then slide the tip of the tongue until it passes through the roof of the mouth.

Keep your tongue in this position and slowly open your mouth until your tongue can no longer rest on the roof of your mouth. Repeat for 5 minutes twice a day.

The relationship between exercise and sleep apnea has proven to be an active and promising patient with sleep apnea. Regular exercise (cardiovascular, endurance, and oropharyngeal) can work in addition to using a CPAP mask.


  • Place your hand under your chin.
  • Try to open your mouth while your hand pushes up to resist the movement of your mouth.
  • Repeat this 5 times.
  • Repeat this exercise 5 more times and twice a day.

Objective: To strengthen and exercise the jaw muscles.

* Do not push excessively against the jaw. Apply strength but stop exercises if you feel discomfort or pain.

Stretch for the soft palate.

Spread your soft palate, open your mouth, and make a “ah” sound on the back of the throat for about 20 seconds. Then close your mouth and rest 5 seconds before your next replay. Repeat 5-10 times to get the maximum benefit of stretching.

You can also stretch the soft palate by inhaling the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Blow the air on a count of five, and repeat the practice 10 times, three or four times a day.


  • Standing in front of a mirror, start pronouncing your vowels.
  • Go through all, (A, E, I, O, U) and really exaggerate the movement of the mouth.
  • Look at the mirror and make sure that you form the vocal sounds by stretching your mouth.
  • Slowly repeat each vowel 5 times.

Objective: By practicing these simple exercises, you will see the improvement and stretch the muscles of the mouth and throat to exercise your soft palate.

Throat Sleep Apnea  

Throat exercises can reduce the severity of sleep apnea by strengthening the muscles of the airways, making them less prone to collapse. It may take a few weeks before you begin to notice the benefits.

Try these exercises:


  • open your mouth, place the first finger inside the cheek.
  • Push your finger so that the cheek moves outward while contracting the cheek muscles to resist the push of your finger.
  • Repeat this procedure 10 more times for each cheek, repeat 4 times a day.

Purpose: strengthen the muscles of the face and throat. Improve the endurance of the buccinator and orbicular muscles. A better closure of the mouth will be gained. Many patients with obstructive sleep apnea breathe through the mouth. This exercise will help to improve nasal breathing.

6 Tiger Yell Exercises

The “Tiger Yell” (sometimes also called silent screaming), is one of the best Sleep apnea exercises for your throat. Essentially, you open your mouth as wide as possible, as if yawning or yelling.

However, try not to make noise when you do it. Instead, try to remove the tongue from the teeth and make it lift the uvula.

You can hold this position for a few minutes or perform an exercise within five seconds after repetition.

“Tiger yell” helps strengthen many muscles in the back of the throat, reducing the likelihood that the area will contract or collapse at night.

Purpose: exercise and strengthen all the muscles of the back of the throat.

7 Breathing Exercises 

Because the reason for sleep apnea is that the muscles of the throat inappropriately expand and block the flow of air, the strengthening of these muscles helps them to maintain more tension during sleep, keeping the airways open. Several studies have shown a reduced relationship between oral exercises and symptoms of sleep apnea.

In addition to regular exercise, it also helps to get smaller muscles for exercise, especially in the mouth, throat, soft taste, and tongue. Some of the oral cavities and breathing exercises that focus on these areas include:

8 Balloon Breathing: According to a non-profit educational health website, one technique is to take a balloon and place your lips around the opening. Then, breathe to release air. Without removing the balloon from the mouth, repeat the exercise five times. Stop if it feels uncomfortable.

9 Tongue Keep breathing: Keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Then breathe in a controlled way, enter and take out 5 breaths. Repeat 2-3 times a day.

10 Morning Breathing: Bend the knee slightly to maintain balance. Slowly inhale, slowly turn your back, one side at a time. Let your head be straightened. Stay in the standing position for a few seconds, then exhale, lowering the body to its starting position. Repeat 3-5 times every morning.

Myofunction therapy and sleep apnea

A recently recognized and effective way to treat sleep apnea is treatment with myofunction.

This makes a lot of sense because in many cases people with weak and dysfunctional oral muscles also show signs and symptoms of sleep apnea.

If you are able to strengthen these muscles, you can relieve these symptoms. The main aspect that stands out in myofunctional therapy is the strengthening and remodeling of muscles. This is one reason why my patients with sleep apnea have achieved good results.

Most of us are looking for a quick solution, and although these exercises are invaluable for solving strong snoring, they will not work right away. By following these instructions, you can also test recommended lifestyle changes

Play didgeridoo 

didgeridoo therapy alternative

I’ve never heard of the didgeridoo. It is a rather important instrument on indigenous peoples in Australia that has been developed for more than a thousand years. It is still widely used, so you can easily find exercise. Prices range from $99 to over $2,000.

Playing didgeridoo helps to strengthen the muscles of the upper respiratory tract, especially because you exhale and blow your cheeks when you play. The sound of the instrument is a bit like a mixture of buzz and vibrations.

Singing exercises

sing exercises for snoring and sleep apnea

In one study, people with mild to moderate sleep apnea saw improvements after a 3-month program of daily singing exercises.

  1. Stand or Sit in a comfortable position, your back straight.
  2. Say the syllable “ung-gah” in a tone of song. Your soft palate moves down to touch the back of the tongue on the first syllable, then moves up and leaves the second syllable.
  3. Continue to sing these syllables vigorously for a few minutes at a time, several times a day.

Using a Humidifier 

humidifier for snoring

Dry air irritates the body and respiratory system. The use of the humidifier opens the airways, reduces congestion, and promotes clearer breathing. For additional benefits, consider adding lavender, mint, or eucalyptus oil to the humidifier. These three essential oils are known for their anti-inflammatory and soothing benefits. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to clean the humidifier. May contain mold and bacteria.

Use Oral Appliances

Oral devices for snoring and sleep apnea

Oral devices can help to relieve sleep apnea by repositioning your jaw or tongue to keep your airways open while you sleep.

The two main categories are mandibular advancement devices and tongue stabilization devices. These actions are carried out by moving the lower jaw or tongue forward to reduce obstruction in the back of the throat.

These devices range from low-cost OTC to custom-made devices by a dentist.

The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine supports oral devices as an effective therapy against sleep apnea.

A 2015 guide recommends oral devices for people with sleep apnea who cannot tolerate a CPAP device. This guide supports custom adjustment devices versus OTC options by allowing accurate jaw positioning, which improves sleep quality.

Try yoga for sleep apnea

Regular exercise can increase your energy levels, strengthen your heart, improve sleep apnea. Yoga can specifically increase your respiratory strength and facilitate the flow of oxygen.

Sleep apnea is associated with a decrease in oxygen saturation in the blood. Yoga can increase oxygen levels with various breathing exercises. As a result, yoga can reduce sleep disruption you may experience.

Alter your sleep position

Although slightly altered, changing sleep position can reduce apnea sleep symptoms and improve night rest.

A 2006 study found that more than half of the cases of obstructive sleep apnea were location-dependent.

Reliable sources of research show that sleeping on your back, called the supine position, can worsen symptoms. For some adults, sleeping on their side can help them breathe normally.

However, a reliable study of 2002 research found that children with sleep apnea slept better on their backs.

Discuss body positioning and symptoms of your sleep apnea with your doctor to evaluate your treatment options.

Changes in healthy lifestyle 

Changes in healthy lifestyle  for sleep apnea

In addition to lifestyle changes that promote weight loss, other changes in health can help a person reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea.

Examples of healthy lifestyle changes:

  • Avoid smoking, which can cause swelling of the upper respiratory tract, resulting in sleep apnea
  • Avoid drinking because it relaxes the throat muscles and increases the likelihood of snoring
  • Take over-the-counter medications against allergies or decongestants to increase airflow by reducing swelling and fluid accumulation in the nasal passages

These habits can help to reduce the number of apnea episodes and associated symptoms in some people with sleep apnea.

What does oropharyngeal mean?

“oropharyngeal” refers to the area of the throat behind the mouth. This area includes the posterior tongue, tonsils, adenoids, palatal uvulas (a bell suspended at the entrance to the throat) and the soft palate (the back of the upper throat).

Therefore, “oropharyngeal exercise” is an exercise that you can do to strengthen the muscles in and around the throat.

Is it sleep apnea or just snoring?

Not all snorers have sleep apnea, and not everyone who has sleep apnea snores. So, how do you make a distinction between normal snoring and the most serious situations of sleep apnea?

The biggest sign is what you feel during the day. Normal snoring does not interfere with the quality of your sleep as sleep apnea, so you are less likely to experience extreme fatigue and sleep during the day.

Record your own state of sleep, or follow your snoring to your partner, consider how high and frequent it is, and whether you blow, choke or make other unusual sounds. Even if you do not have sleep apnea, a snoring problem can hinder your bed partner’s rest and affect your own sleep quality and health. However, there are effective solutions for snoring.

Reasons why you can’t use CPAP

There are several reasons why some OSA patients can’t stand CPAP treatment. Huge machines and time-consuming configurations can be too grave a hindrance for some patients.

Sleeping with a mask covering the nose and mouth may not be comfortable.

Using the cpap machine also comes with side effects, including stomach swelling, skin irritation caused by a mask, and dry nose and throat after waking up.  All these problems make it difficult for some users to use their CPAP machine consistently, which is important for effective sleep apnea treatment.

As always, talk to your doctor to determine the overall plan you recommend.

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