If you struggle with snoring at night, you might find the best sleep apnea treatment actually can happen during the day: exercise.
A study by the National Institutes of Health compared two groups of people diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea: people who exercised and sedentary folks. The study found that "exercise is associated with lower frequency/intensity of symptoms in patients with severe OSA. Because up to one third of patients with severe OSA might exercise regularly and therefore be mildly symptomatic, it is important not to rule out a diagnosis of OSA in such patients."
A healthier you
When you keep moving, it creates a virtuous cycle, Everyday Health says that regular exercise increases your overall health. You have more energy, so you want to keep going. It also keeps your weight down, and obesity is an important risk factor for sleep apnea, according to the journal Metabolism.
You don't have to hit the jogging trail or pump iron to get results, either. A study of men and women over 60 showed that those who did daily yoga exercises had better sleep quality and overall quality of life than the non-yogis, according to the Journal of Ayurvedic and Integral Medicine.
A stronger throat
One part of the body we don't think of exercising is the mouth, but research shows that strengthening the lips, tongue, soft palate and back of the throat can help with snoring and improve sleep quality, Healio reports. Called myofunctional therapy, these exercises are simple movements like pressing your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
Strengthening the soft palate, tongue, and facial muscles reduced the severity of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea in a study published in Sleep Breath. If you want to give myofunctional exercises a try, Verywell Health offers a tutorial.
As a last resort, take up the digeridoo. You play this traditional Australian wind instrument by blowing into it while vibrating your lips, Aboriginal Art explains–and a small group of snorers had less sleep disturbance after almost-daily practice for four months, reports BMJ.
The point is, if snoring keeps you from getting a good night's sleep, exercise—of many kinds—can help.