You can fight the snoring, fitfulness and sleeplessness from sleep apnea with several simple throat exercises. A study published in a May 2009 issue of the "American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine" found effective exercises that help combat apnea, including those using your throat. Another study found yet another throat exercise that works, one that involves a musical instrument.
Repeatedly pronouncing an oral vowel, such as the "ah" sound you might use at the doctor's office, is one throat exercise used in the May 2009 study. First pronounce the vowel using a series of short bursts and then repeat using longer tones. This exercise works the tongue, uvula and various muscles of your palate as you push the sound through your throat. Do the exercise for three minutes every day.
Breathe and Blow
Breathing exercises using sound and a balloon were also effective. Breathe deeply in through your nose and then exhale through your mouth as you make a vowel sound. Stay seated during this exercise. Grab an empty balloon for the second exercise. Again, breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth as you blow into the balloon. Leave the balloon in your mouth and repeat the breathing exercise until you've exhaled a total of five breaths into the balloon.
Chew and Swallow
Changing the way you swallow and chew can also help, the study concluded. Perform the exercise every time you eat until it becomes a habit. Chew your food evenly on both sides of your mouth. Once your food is chewed, swallow while you keep your teeth closed and your tongue against the top of your mouth. Do not contract your facial muscles.
Play the Didgeridoo
No one said sleep apnea throat exercises had to be mundane, a fact evidenced by a study published in the February 2009 issue of the "British Medical Journal." Grab yourself a didgeridoo and practice for 25-minute sessions at least five days per week. The instrument, an oversize tube that forces you to breathe deep and blow forcefully, helped alleviate snoring and subsequent sleeplessness related to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
- "American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine"; Effects of Oropharyngeal Exercises on Patients with Moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome; Luciano F. Drager, et al.; May 15, 2009
- "British Medical Journal"; Didgeridoo Playing as Alternative Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome: Randomised Controlled Trial; O. Braendli, et al.; February 2006