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Tongue exercises help with sleep apnea

I had a bit of a chuckle when I read this story! This story goes into the ’strange but true’ category. My husband has mild sleep apnea and the thought of him doing ‘tongue exercises’ is pretty funny! :)

Exercising your tongue and pharyngeal muscles (throat) can help with moderate obstructive sleep apnea, according to new research.

Video: What is Sleep Apnea?

This video is quite dramatic as it shows what you look like when you are asleep with sleep apnea. It clearly shows how the tongue stops air flow which causes choking. It’s a little scary to watch!

The sleep apnea study

The aim: The researchers wanted to see whether strengthening and toning the tongue muscles would have benefit to the patient during sleep.

A group of 31 patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) were evaluated for the severity of OSA using polysomnography. They assessed snoring frequency and intensity, daytime sleepiness and sleep quality. The patients were put into either the ‘tongue exercise’ group or the control group who did no exercises. Those in the exercise group had daily and weekly tongue and pharyngeal exercises to do. Click here to watch a video of exercises the patients did. (It’s kind of funny to watch!)

After 3 months the exercise group had significant improvements in blood oxygen saturation levels, sleepiness, snoring symptoms and quality of sleep. They also found neck circumference of the exercise group decreased.

Conclusion: The exercise group showed a 40% decrease in sleep apnea which indicates that the tongue exercises have potential to improve symptoms in sufferers of OSA. The study was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine journal.

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About Kellie

Kellie is 37 years old and together with her brother Steve makes up the My Health Software team.

She helps on the websites and gathering news for the programs. Kellie worked in the medical industry prior to having her two children (8 and 6) and has a strong interest in self awareness and management of health conditions.


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