CPAP Clinic Sleep Blog

Understanding your sleep health, sleep apnea and CPAP therapy

OSA exercises with or without CPAP therapy

OSA exercises with or without CPAP therapy

There is an unusual assumption among PAP users which is saying a PAP unit is the end-all treatment option for OSA once it is mastered. This does not have to be the case. Like anything we humans want to physically maintain, supplementary exercises can augment and improve PAP therapy. This truth exposes how nearly everyone with OSA could benefit from the following exercises listed below and improve the effectiveness of PAP therapy.

Please Note:

This supplemental plan works regardless of your physical abilities. The plan even works if you have a mobility issue, which means you can sit comfortably in a chair to do some of the exercises.

The collective goal of each breathing exercise listed below is to clear, open, and strengthen your airway muscles.

The method that you select to achieve your personal goal will depend on what area in your respiratory system needs attention.

 Oropharyngeal Exercises Help People Who:

1. Have been diagnosed with OSA due to lazy throat tissue, or a large or thick tongue

2. A neck size exceeding 16 inches

3. Happen to breathe with the mouth open during sleep

 Oropharyngeal Exercises Will NOT Help:

1. Children below the age of 4 because they will require dedicated attention from a personal physician.

2. Central sleep apnea patients (because the cause of sleep apnea is neurological not muscular or throat related)

3. Individuals with nasal issues such as a deviated septum, where the nasal “wall” is angled the wrong way.

Mouth Throat Exercises for Sleep Apnea

Mouth and throat OSA exercises are intended to work the throat, tongue, soft palate, and jaw.

The following are regarded as the most effective type of sleep apnea exercise. All have been studied most thoroughly by academic researchers and professionals such as speech therapists.

The following are exercise examples which are designed to address OSA problem areas. They work the four areas of the mouth and throat mentioned above.

Tiger Yell

This exercise requires you to open your mouth wide, imitating the facial features of a tiger that is about to yell or roar. No noise is required. The objective is to toughen the muscles at the back of your throat.

How to Do the “Tiger Yell” Exercise

1. Stand in front of a mirror so you can see your entire face.

2. Open your mouth as wide as you can, stick out your tongue as far as you can, in a downward position & as if you are trying to lick your chin.

3. The uvula, that small bell shaped piece of tissue at the back of your mouth, will lift upwards when your tongue is all out.

4. Hold the lifted uvula position for 5 seconds and relax.

5. Repeat steps 2-4 for a total of 10 times.

● NOTE: Tongue Exercises for Sleep Apnea

Clinical studies have shown that doing tongue exercises regularly for about 30 minutes every day can significantly reduce neck circumference, decrease snoring, and improve sleep apnea symptoms. Tongue exercises also aid in strengthening jaw muscles.

Tongue Slide

The goal here is to tone both your throat and tongue muscles.

How to Do the “Tongue Slide” Exercise

1. Keep your head up and look straight ahead. Initially, use a mirror to see that your head is positioned correctly and look directly into your own eyes.

2. Place the tip of your tongue against the back of your upper teeth.

3. Slowly slide your tongue backward as far as it will go along the roof of your mouth.

4. Hold for a few second and then relax.

5. Repeat steps 1-4 for a total of 10 times.

Soft Palate Exercise for Sleep Apnea

A relaxed, weak, soft palate can move into your throat opening during sleep, aggravating good rest. Exercising your soft palate and uvula will elevate these muscles. Your throat will expand and your respiratory system and both benefit from soft palate exercises.

Soft Palate Blowing

This exercise can be done in either a standing or sitting position.

How to Do the “Soft Palate Blowing” Exercise

1. Close your mouth and inhale gently through your nose.

2. Press your lips together to form a resistance and exhale by blowing the air out from your mouth. Try to maintain the blowing out action for 5 seconds.

3. Tighten your abdomen while exhaling.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 for a total of 10 times.

5. Perform these repetitions 4 times a day.

Jaw Exercise for Sleep Apnea

A tight jaw places pressure on your breathing passages. Jaw exercises can help to loosen, relax the jaw and tone your tongue muscles.

 Jaw Tension Relief Exercise

Use a mirror for this exercise to ensure your jaw is moving up and down.

How to Do the “Jaw Tension Relief” Exercise

1. With a closed mouth, allow your teeth to just touch.

2. Position your tongue in a resting position, with the tip laying behind the upper front teeth.

3. Arch your tongue against the roof of your mouth.

4. Slide the tip of your tongue back as far as it will go along the roof of your mouth.

5. Keep your tongue in this position and slowly open your mouth until your tongue can no longer rest on the roof of your mouth.

6. Repeat steps 1-5 for 5 minutes, 2 times a day.

Part Two  of OSA exercises is coming.


Call 1.877.430.2727.

Re-Edited by Bill Bistak B Sc.,SEO/SEM Spc, CRT

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