Snorers, rip off your nasal strips. A little bit of tongue wagging might be a more effective treatment to keep your naps noiseless. Certain tongue and mouth exercises decreased snoring in a small pilot study based in Brazil, recently published in CHEST, the journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.
Snoring is caused by soft tissues blocking the upper airway as you sleep. When you breathe, they vibrate, creating that nasal sound. In a CDC survey, 48 percent of respondents report snoring during sleep, and it’s a common affliction for those with obstructive sleep apnea. In a new study of 39 patients over the course of three months, participants were asked to do mouth and tongue exercises three times daily for 8 minutes.
Exercises including pushing the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth and sliding the tongue backwards, sucking the tongue against the roof of the mouth, and forcing the back of the tongue down against the floor of the mouth. (See below.)
Image Credit: Courtesy American College of Chest Physicians
When the participants’ snoring patterns were observed at the end of three months, those who had done their tongue exercises snored less frequently and less strongly. The treatment reduced snore frequency by 36 percent, and total snoring power by 59 percent. The study subjects’ bed partners also observed the decrease in snores.
Previous research has shown singing and playing the didgeridoo, both exercises for the upper airway, can also be effective treatments for snoring. A few little tongue lifts sound way easier than running out and buying a didgeridoo.