Getting Active for Better Sleep
For adults, sleep apnea can stress the heart and repeatedly interrupt their rest when breathing briefly slows or stops. However, did you know having an exercise regimen can reduce the severity of sleep apnea by 25 percent? People who are physically active tend to sleep longer throughout the night. Getting the heart muscle working and blood pumping benefits every cell in your body. So how does exercise benefit those who are suffering from sleep apnea?
Exercise as the Perfect Lifestyle Change
Being overweight is a well-known risk factor for developing sleep apnea symptoms. That’s why exercising can help improve your sleep and quality of life. There are three types of sleep apnea that can impact your physical and mental health for the long-term:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): Mechanical dysfunction of breathing during sleep.
- Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): Neurological dysfunction of breathing during sleep.
- Complex Sleep Apnea: Simultaneous mechanical and neurological dysfunction of breathing during sleep.
From weight loss to sleep issues, exercise can help patients who want to change their sleep habits for the better. With sleep apnea, exercise can improve your mood and help with anxiety, depression, and stress — all issues that can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep. Early morning and afternoon heart rate activities also help reset your sleep-wake cycle through manipulating your body temperature, allowing it to drop and triggering sleepiness.
Both sleep and exercise are crucial for the proper functioning of a daily lifestyle. Exercise might help relieve nagging sleep apnea symptoms such as daytime fatigue. Read below to learn some exercises you can try in the comfort of your own home.
Sleep Apnea Breathing Exercise
Dr. Huff recommends the following six breathing exercises to try at home. Nearly anyone with OSA can benefit, regardless of their level of physical activity. If you have difficulties with mobility, you can also sit comfortably in a chair to do many of these exercises. The goal of these activities is to clear, open, and strengthen your airway muscles.
- Mouth & Throat Exercises: These work the throat, tongue, soft palate, and jaw. Many dentists consider them the most effective type of sleep apnea exercise. You’ll want all your breathing muscles firm and flexible.
- Neck Exercises: Excess tissue in the neck can block the flow of oxygen. The back and lower part of the throat, the larynx, the vocal cords, epiglottis, trachea, and esophagus are all impacted by OSA. The size of your neck can also contribute to sleep apnea.
- Soft Palate Exercises: The soft palate is the upper part of the back of your mouth where your uvula hangs. You can perform soft palate exercises to both strengthen and improve your sleep problems.
- Jaw Exercise: A tight jaw places pressure on your breathing passages. Jaw exercises help loosen, relax, and tone your tongue and jaw muscles. If you clench or grind your jaw, this may also result in TMD. Relax your jaw with stretching and exercises.
- Singing Exercises: This is one of the best ways to strengthen your throat muscles. This includes your vocal cords, which are the strongest muscles in your throat. The goal is to strengthen the soft palate, tongue, and throat muscles.
- Yoga: Sitting in an upright posture increases oxygen levels in your blood. This can improve your metabolism and help your body release toxins. Deep breathing with yoga can also improve the physical and mental issues associated with OSA.
Combining Exercise With Professional Treatment
While having an exercise regimen is important, there are professional solutions to effectively treat your sleep apnea and restore your body to achieve a restful night. At Precision Dentistry & Implants, Dr. Huff and his expert team can help give you the attention you need to relieve your sleep apnea symptoms with oral appliance therapy. Schedule an initial consultation today so we can help guide your progress while also being a part of your success.
Frequently Asked Questions
Exercise can have many physical and psychological benefits for patients suffering from sleep apnea. A common cause of sleep apnea is extra weight around your throat, causing a blockage and keeping oxygen from entering your lungs. Over time, exercise helps reduce excess tissue on your chest and neck, lessening your symptoms. Along with treatment, you’ll feel like your healthiest self with an active routine and a good night’s sleep.
Our expert sleep dentist, Dr. Huff can recommend exercises and sleep apnea treatments that help tone your muscles and build endurance. Some of these activities include:
- Mouth and throat exercises
- Neck stretches and exercises
- Soft palate exercises
- Jaw stretches and exercises
- Deep breathing exercises
- Singing therapy
- Light yoga
Along with professional treatment for sleep apnea, performing these light exercises daily can significantly reduce your sleep apnea symptoms. Schedule a consultation at our Kerrville practice by calling (830) 896-8343.
While exercise can improve your quality of sleep, it’s also important to seek professional treatment to relieve your sleep apnea symptoms. At Precision Dentistry & Implants, Dr. Huff provides patients with non-intrusive, convenient oral appliance therapy in combination with exercise to produce the best results.
It’s important to stay consistent with your exercises to ensure that you’re losing weight and strengthening your throat muscles. Our office recommends that you stay active by doing certain activities that you love. Whether it’s walking, dancing, riding a bike, or playing a sport — you can have fun while also improving both your health and quality of sleep. As your sleep apnea improves, you’ll be more motivated to continue with your exercise routine.