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Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Your Snoring Could be a Symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Each pause in breathing during sleep is called an "apnea" and these disruptions can occur 5 to 30 times an hour and sometimes hundreds of times during the night. Each time an apnea occurs, the person awakes to resume breathing.  People nevertheless are often unaware that this is happening to them but the result is poor quality sleep and daytime fatigue. In fact 80% of sufferers are ignorant to the fact that these pauses in their sleep are taking place.

The Greek word "apnea" means "without breath," and there are three types of apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed. Out of the three, obstructive is the most common. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) affects 90% of total sufferers and is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. Snoring can indicate that the person may be affected by sleep apnea.

Untreated, as well as daytime tiredness, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, memory problems, weight gain, impotency, headaches and may be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle crashes. Sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated and, indeed, if you feel any concern that you have this problem to a severe and distressing degree, you MUST consult a medical practitioner. Several treatment options exist and research into additional treatments continues.

However, snoring does not usually mean that you have OSA but can be a problem in itself by waking you up intermittently or anyone around you! I've discovered some throat exercises which are effective in strengthening the muscles of the upper respiratory tract, thus helping to stop snoring and they are also beneficial in cases of mild to moderate OSA. They cost you merely a little time and discipline. Do these daily and increase the times a little after a few days, as you would with normal muscle exercises:

1. Repeat each vowel sound (a, e, i, o, u) out loud for 3 minutes throughout the day.
2. Place the tip of your tounge behind your top front teeth. Slide your tongue backwards for 3 minutes a day.
3. Close your mouth and purse your lips. Hold for 30 seconds.
4. With your mouth open, move jaw to left and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on right.
5. With mouth open, contract the muscle at the back of your throat repeatedly for 30 seconds. To help with this, look in the mirror at the back of your throat and watch the uvula (the dangly bit!) move up and down.

Singing is also recommended to tighten lax throat muscles. (Possibly an exercise to do alone, particularly if tone-deaf!).

There are many more exercises and steps you can take to help stop snoring and improve your night-time breathing so I recommend that you take a look at Christian Goodman's "Stop Snoring Exercise Program" where he offers further exercises and tips. There are many testimonials from people who have found his program very effective and some clients claim to be cured from their sleep apnea too. He also shows a free exercise on the page to relax a tense jaw which is a common reason for snoring. Here's the link:
Click Here!

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