Performing yoga and exercising regularly can be a very beneficial addition to your lifestyle and help with sleep apnea treatment.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing stops and constantly begins when the relaxed muscles of the airways expand and obstruct the flow of air.
Obstruction can occur due to many factors, including:
- The genetic makeup of the neck,
- Sleeping position,
- Fat accumulation,
- Poor neck and diaphragm development.
Strengthening the muscles while maintaining greater tension during the sleep cycle through exercise will keep the airways open and the breathing rate normal. Additionally, neck or mouth exercises can strengthen and nourish the muscles of the tongue, neck, and throat.
Therefore, night snoring can be prevented and obstructive sleep apnea symptoms can be reduced.
Different Types of Exercises for Sleep Apnea
Lifestyle factors associated with poor sleep and breathing patterns include weight gain, low physical activity, and the consumption of substances such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. But in order to reduce the respiratory symptoms of sleep and restore the proper foundation, it is necessary to make some changes to the daily routine.
Consider how you can add some of the following to your daily routine because they have been shown to help with breathing symptoms while you sleep. But before planning, consult your physician and fitness expert.
- Cardio and stretching
- Perform yoga- Cat cow pose, Locust pose, Camel pose, Roaring lion pose
- Pranayama for sleep apnea
- Tounge exercises
1. Cardio and Stretching
Do cardio with some stretching for a minimum of 30-40 minutes, 5 times a week for the most satisfying results. Cardio training, stretching, and brisk walking can do splendors for managing sleep apnea symptoms. However, it is essential that you perform all kinds of training in moderation and have rest days between training days to allow your muscles to rest and heal.
Incorporate cardio exercises like jumping jacks, mountain climbers, etc. Also, include some strength training activities like pushups, squats, dips, etc. A good stretching workout includes exercises like chest stretches, glute stretches, backbends, and weight training.
2. Perform Yoga
Yoga for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea:
- Cat-cow pose
- Locust pose
- Camel pose
- Roaring lion pose
Yoga helps with sleep apnea in many ways. It teaches you to breathe fully, relieves common stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and back, and helps open compressed airways. Yoga helps ease the symptoms of sleep apnea, but in intense cases, you need to see a doctor for medical treatment.
Here's how different yoga poses will help in reducing apnea symptoms -
a) Cat-Cow Pose
Cow pose improves blood circulation, massages internal organs, and at the same time increases blood flow. This respiratory exercise helps to calm the body and mind. To enhance the quality of sleep, do this yoga asana before going to bed.
b) Locust Pose
Staying in the Salabasana position (4 to 5 breaths) and doing this asana regularly will strengthen your whole back, relax your muscles and make you sleep better.
c) Camel Pose
This yoga pose ensures good blood flow to all the organs, strengthens muscles, and helps in improving lung capacity. It also helps align your body while stimulating the nervous system.
d) Roaring Lion Pose
Practice this asana in the morning to increase your energy. This is a breathing technique that uses the muscles of the mouth and throat. It reduces snoring and relaxes the muscles of the mouth, neck, and throat.
3. Pranayama (Yoga Breathing) for Sleep Apnea
- Brahmari Pranayama
- Kapalbhati Pranayama
- Anuloma Viloma
- Ujjayi Pranayama
- Bhastrika Pranayama
Pranayama is the usual yoga practice that focuses on the breath. This is related to various breathing techniques that engage different muscles in the body such as the abdomen, chest, and showers various benefits for our health. It is useful for relieving respiratory symptoms during sleep by helping to improve breathing and the flow of oxygen in the body.
While there are several breathing exercises you can try to relax and unwind, there are basic principles you need to follow. It is always nice to sit in a calm and clean environment, with your eyes closed, which will help you get rid of the external deviations. Focus on your breathing pattern and think about the healing power of your breath. Each of the below exercises has slightly different benefits. To choose the best type of exercise, talk to a fitness expert on The Wellness Corner.
a) Bhramari Pranayama or Humming Bee Breath
This type of breathing improves circulation and helps keep blood pressure high. The calming properties of this pranayama help reduce anxiety, tension, and snoring which is common in people with sleep apnea. It has also been shown to be a useful treatment for morning sickness and migraine, which patients often experience after waking up.
b) Kapalbhati Pranayama or Skull Shining Breathing
This breathing technique helps clear the airways and sinuses and relaxes the airways and breathing cycle.
c) Anuloma Viloma or Alternate Nose Breathing
This complete pranayama chakra will help you to relax, balance your breathing and get a quality good night's sleep. Helps increase oxygen flow, purify the blood and maintain focus.
d) Ujjayi or Warrior Breath
This breathing exercise stimulates your nose, throat, and belly. Performing this exercise for 5 mins will warm you up and relax the mind. It also helps in decreasing snoring while regulating sleep patterns.
e) Bhastrika Pranayama or Bellow’s Breath
Bhastrika Pranayama focuses on breath control and balancing the duration of inhalation and exhalation. Better breathing control will allow you to start breathing deeper and longer, which will benefit deeper relaxation and better sleep patterns. It also energizes the body, clears the mind, and helps improve the quality of sleep.
4. Tongue exercises/Oropharyngeal Exercises
Tongue exercises are beneficial for those who snore or have sleep apnea. Because tongue positioning might block the airway while you are sleeping.
A few examples of tongue exercises are:
- Tongue Stretch – Stretch out your tongue as far as you can. Try touching your chin with your tongue and hold this for 10-15 seconds. Repeat this exercise five times to increase tongue strength.
- Tongue Pushup– Push your tongue upwards against the roof of your mouth and hold it there for 10 seconds. Do this five times to build the strength of the tongue and soft palate.
- Tongue push down – Push your tongue tip against your lower front teeth and push your entire tongue flat against the floor of your mouth. Repeat the same 5 times and hold for 10 seconds every time you do this exercise.
- Tongue slide – To increase the strength of your tongue and throat muscles, place the tip of the tongue on the roof of your front teeth. Slowly slide your tongue backward with the tip moving with the roof of your mouth.
- Purse lips– Purse your lips with tightly closing your mouth. Then relax your jaw and lips while opening your mouth. Repeat it 10 times to improve your breathing while sleeping.
The relationship between exercise and sleep apnea has been found to have a positive approach. Yoga and exercise are used as a treatment for good sleep. All these exercises mentioned will help strengthen your muscles, help you breathe more naturally and effectively, and induce sound sleep. But they cannot replace expert advice. Hence, get proper guidance from our fitness expert on The Wellness Corner app and know the aptest exercises for sleep apnea as per your body type, and find out the correct way of doing them. Also, get a doctor’s consultation to explore your treatment options.