Exercises To Improve OSA

Tongue Exercises

Method:
    1. With your toothbrush brush the top and sides of your tongue, while your tongue is sitting on the floor of your mouth.
    2. Repeat the individual sections 5 times each.
    3. Complete the exercise three times daily.
Purpose – to strengthen the tongue muscles-with the added advantage of maintaining great oral hygiene!
Method:
  1. Looking straight ahead, position the tip of your tongue against the back of your top, front teeth.
  2. Slide your tongue backward.
  3. Repeat 10 times.
Purpose – to tone and strengthen the tongue and throat muscles.
Method:
  1. Forcibly suck your tongue upward until the whole tongue is against your palate.
  2. Hold this position for 4 seconds.
  3. Repeat 5 times.
Method:
  1. Force the back of your tongue downward until the whole tongue is resting on the floor of your mouth.
  2. Keep the tip of your tongue touching the back of your lower teeth.
  3. Hold for 4 seconds.
  4. Repeat 5 times.
Purpose - both of these exercises strengthen the tongue and tone your soft palate.
Method:
  1. Push your tongue against your hard palate (the top and front of your mouth).
  2. Do this for 5 seconds.
  3. Slide your tongue backward to the back of your mouth.
  4. The initial third of your tongue should be against your hard palate, not just the tip.
  5. Keep your jaw open throughout the exercise.
  6. Refrain from biting down - keep your teeth apart.
  7. Repeat this movement 10 times.
  8. Repeat 4 times a day.
Purpose – to strengthen the genioglossus (the main muscle used for sticking your tongue out), and to increase the strength in the hyoid muscles and bone. The hyoid bone is located in the centre of the neck. It sits between the chin and thyroid cartilage. The exercise assists by putting the hyoid bone in the correct position and keeping it there. The hyoid bone is a free moving, u-shaped bone in the neck. The volume of the tongue should reduce too.
Method:
  1. Open your mouth wide.
  2. Stick your tongue out.
  3. Try to touch your chin with the tip of your tongue.
  4. When your tongue is at full stretch, hold it there for 5 seconds.
  5. Repeat 10 times daily.
Method:
  1. Open your mouth wide.
  2. Stick your tongue out.
  3. Try to touch your nose with the tip of your tongue.
  4. When your tongue is at full stretch, hold it there for 5 seconds.
  5. Repeat 10 times daily.
Purpose - to exercise and strengthen the tongue muscles, and to exercise the throat and jaw muscles.

Soft Palate Exercises

Method:
  1. Inhale air through your nose.
  2. Exhale via your mouth. As you exhale press your lips together. This action forms a resistance.
  3. When you exhale tighten your abdomen.
  4. Maintain the blowing for 5 seconds.
  5. Repeat 10 times
  6. Repeat 4 times a day.
A balloon can also be used for this exercise. Inflate the balloon, stop, remove the balloon-and breathe in deeply through the nose. Then continue to inflate the balloon, stop, remove the balloon-and breathe in deeply through the nose. Exhaling via the mouth and inhaling via the nose, will assist with training the respiratory system.
Purpose – the soft palate and uvula are elevated during this exercise. The elevation process is exercising the muscles. The pharynx will expand and be enlarged. The respiratory system is also being trained in this exercise.
Method:
  1. Standing in front of a mirror, begin pronouncing your vowels.
  2. Go through all of them (A, E, I, O, U) and really exaggerate the movement of your mouth.
  3. Observe yourself in the mirror and ensure you’re forming the vowel sounds by stretching your mouth.
  4. Slowly repeat each vowel 5 times.
Purpose – to stretch your mouth and throat muscles-and exercise your soft palate.
Method:
  1. Your tongue needs to face downward, and stay inside your mouth.
  2. Clearly say the vowel “A” sound. Hold the sound for 5 seconds. It should sound like “Ahhhhh.”
  3. Attempt to push your tongue down, and keep it there. (Sounds simple, but for many Obstructive Sleep Apnea sufferers, this is anything but simple. The sufferer’s tongue is generally in a high position. This task can prove very tricky. The mirror will assist in checking the position of your tongue.)
  4. Repeat 10 times. 4 times a day.
Purpose – to exercise the tongue and soft palate muscles.

Throat & Neck Exercises

(no actual yelling required! The action of opening your mouth wide mimics a tiger going to yell/roar). Best performed in front of a mirror.
Method:
  1. Open your mouth as wide as possible, and stick your tongue out in a downward position. Your tongue needs to be stuck out as far as it can be.
  2. The uvula, the small fleshy piece in the back of your throat, needs to be lifted upwards as you stick your tongue out.
  3. The mirror is used to ensure that you’re lifting the uvula up correctly. You’ll soon begin to sense that you’ve lifted it and won’t require the mirror.
  4. Hold the lifted uvula for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
Purpose – to exercise and strengthen all the muscles in the back of your throat.
Method:
  1. Lift your head up as high as you can, looking at the ceiling.
  2. Stick your tongue out and upward, as though you’re attempting to touch the ceiling with it.
  3. Hold the upward tongue position for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.
Purpose - your trachea will be lifted upward, your throat muscles will contract. All the muscles in the front of your neck are exercised and stretched when the trachea is elevated. Your tongue will remain in a neutral position rather than slipping back inside your throat-and blocking your airway.
Method:
  1. Bring your head right down so your chin is resting on your chest.
  2. Open your mouth wide sticking your tongue out as far as possible.
  3. Gently bite down on your tongue while lifting your head up towards the ceiling.
  4. When you reach the top, looking up at the ceiling and with your tongue still sticking out, you need to swallow.
  5. Repeat 5 times.
Purpose - the swallowing action lifts the trachea and the throat muscles contract, exercise and tone.
Method:
  1. Start with your chin resting on your chest, mouth closed.
  2. Place the tip of your tongue behind your top teeth.
  3. Slowly start to look at the ceiling.
  4. Slide your tongue from behind your teeth to the back of your mouth.
  5. Once your tongue reaches the back of your mouth lift it up, move it back to the front.
  6. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
  7. Bring your head back down until it’s parallel with the floor.
  8. Repeat 10 times.
Purpose – to tone and strengthen the muscles in the front of your neck and your tongue muscles.
Method:
  1. Open your mouth, place your first finger (next to your thumb) inside your cheek.
  2. Push your finger so that your cheek moves outward.
  3. Contract the cheek muscles to resist the pushing.
  4. Repeat 10 times for each cheek.
  5. Repeat 4 times a day.
Purpose – to strengthen your facial and throat muscles. Improve the resistance of the buccinator (red on diagram) and orbicular (yellow on diagram) muscles. Better closure of the mouth will be gained. Many Obstructive Sleep Apnea patients breathe via their mouth. This exercise will help improve nasal breathing.
best performed in front of a mirror
Method:
  1. Quite simply, smile! Keeping your mouth shut, form an exaggerated smile.
  2. Hold the smile for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Purpose – to tighten and strengthen your neck muscles.
Best performed in front of a mirror
Method:
  1. Place your tongue between your teeth.
  2. Gently bite down and hold the tongue in position.
  3. Now swallow 5 times in a row.
  4. Repeat 5 times.
  5. Repeat 4 times a day.
Purpose – to strengthen and exercise the muscles at the back of your throat.

Jaw Exercises

Best performed in front of a mirror
Method:
  1. Close your mouth and pretend that you’re chewing a piece of gum.
  2. Ensure that your molars are positioned slightly apart during chewing; then let them lightly touch together again.
  3. While you chew make an “mmm” sound. The sound will enable your throat to open. Check that your mouth remains closed in the mirror.
Purpose – to strengthen and tone the muscles in the back of your throat and to strengthen the jaw muscles.
Best performed in front of a mirror
Method:
  1. Pucker your lips together as though you’re about to kiss.
  2. Hold the position for 10 seconds.
  3. Repeat 5 times.
  4. Then do the same but with your mouth wide open. Don’t let your lips go together.
  5. Hold the pucker for 5 seconds.
  6. Repeat 5 times.
Purpose – to exercise, tone and strengthen the jaw and neck muscles.
Method:
  1. Place a hand underneath your chin.
  2. Attempt to open your mouth. Your hand needs to push against your lower jaw. The hand’s trying to stop your mouth opening.
  3. Repeat 10 times.
  4. Repeat 2-4 times daily.
Purpose – to strengthen and exercise the jaw muscles.