January 17, 2017 3 min read
If you suffer from sleep apnea or snoring, it may be caused by a variety of factors. One of the factors that you might not suspect, however, is your tongue. You may think that you only really use your tongue for eating and talking, but it plays a role in your sleep as well. Below you will find some valuable information about how your tongue impacts your quality of sleep and your snoring.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a type of disordered sleeping that affects countless individuals, and snoring affects about 90 million Americans. In most cases, sleep apnea is the result of airway obstruction that prevents you from breathing properly. Certain muscles in your neck and throat are responsible for keeping your airway open while you are awake and during sleep – if those muscles relax, it could cause your airway to tighten, which may result in breathing difficulties.
The muscles responsible are your soft palate, tonsils, the side walls of your throat, and the tongue. When you are awake, you do not need to actively think about breathing – you just do it. For some people, however, the genioglossus muscle (located at the base of the tongue where it attaches to the jawbone) becomes inactive during sleep. Most people have enough space in their mouths behind the tongue that they can take a breath without having to pull the tongue forward.
For people with sleep apnea, however, the genioglossus relaxes during sleep, which allows the base of the tongue to slide backward, closing the airway and causing snoring. When this happens, you may not wake completely, but you could be pulled from a deep sleep into a shallow sleep, where the genioglossus muscle contracts to pull the tongue forward again so you can breathe.
Airway obstructions caused by the tongue sliding backward into the throat typically occur when you lie on your back. Choosing to lie on your side might solve your snoring problems in some cases, though airway obstructions can still happen. Those who suffer severely from sleep apnea and snoring are often recommended to consider a CPAP machine. A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine consists of a mask that you put over your nose and mouth – the device generates pressure that keeps your airway open during sleep so you do not experience interruptions in breathing.
While usually effective, CPAP machines can be expensive and are generally very uncomfortable (not to mention scary looking!). An alternative to the CPAP machine is a stop-snoring mouthpiece, which are made to hold the airway open in order to facilitate normal breathing during sleep. Most anti-snoring mouthpieces push and hold the jaw forward all night to keep the airway open. This, however, usually results in a sore jaw.
The Good Morning Snore Solution, however, uses tongue-displacement technology to gently pull and hold the tongue forward as you sleep, keeping the airway open and therefor preventing snoring. Sleep apnea is a very common condition, and many of the people who have it do not even realize it. If you suffer from snoring, it could very well be that your tongue is to blame. Ask your doctor about a CPAP machine or a stop-snoring mouthpiece to see if one of these options might solve your sleep apnea and your snoring problems.
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