Smile Your Sleep Apnea Away

Written by Manny Erlich on October 3, 2012. Posted in Natural and Home Remedies, Snoring 101

Here is something that might make you smile: New research shows sleep apnea sufferers may find some relief by exercising their lips, tongue and mouth

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that requires medical treatment. Most loud snorers are never fully rested because they experience abnormal pauses in breathing that can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Each of these breaks in breathing awakes the snorer. The condition is known to increase the risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and daytime sleepiness.

The exact cause is still being investigated, but early research has shown surges in the nervous system from sleep apnea can also trigger excessive blood clotting, which restricts blood flow to vital organs. If vital organs do not get adequate blood flow, a person could be threatened by a range of cardiovascular ailments.


But there is some good news. Combining facial exercises with standard sleep apnea treatment may help reduce symptons. On May 15, 2009 The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine published the 3-month study by Brazil’s University of Sao Paolo Medical School showing that tongue and facial exercises reduced sleep apnea by 39 percent. Patients slept better, felt more energetic and snored less. They did not lose weight, but their neck circumferences shrank. Doctors believe this was due to the strengthening and toning of the upper airway.

Other Simple Sleep Strategies

Start a schedule, get a notebook and keep your feet warm. These things might sound unrelated, but each of these steps can help you get a better night’s sleep.

Keeping yourself on schedule is good for your body clock, which runs best on a regular sleep schedule. Try to wake up around the same time every day. During the summer months run the AC to keep your room cool while sleeping. If you are a late night snacker, eat melatonin-rich foods like oats, corn and rice. Obviously, stay away from coffee or other caffeinated drinks before bed.

Writing before you go to bed is a great stress reliever. To set your mind at ease before counting sheep, take 15 minutes to write down the next day’s responsibilities. This will clear your head of nagging thoughts that can stop you from falling asleep.

Finally, warm your feet for a calming effect. Research shows blood vessels in the extremeties dilate and release heat in preparation for sleep. Keeping your toes warm will provide a sothing sensation that promotes relaxation and sleep.

So keep smiling. Follow these simple steps and you’ll start to see your energy return.

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Manny Erlich

International Foundation of Employee Benefits - Certified Employee Benefits Specialist