Question: I started snoring very loudly about two years ago. Previously I did not snore at all. I’m 56 years old, 5’3” and have weighed 170 pounds for about 8 years (up from 150 pounds since my hysterectomy in 2003). I gained weight after my hysterectomy due to 10 years at a stressful job and not exercising as often as I had been – I used to walk 2 miles a day, 5-6 days a week. I am wearing a mouthpiece at night that I ordered on the internet from Pure Sleep. It helps, but is not real comfortable. What exercises or herbs/natural products could I use to strengthen my throat and tongue muscles? I breathe fine through my nose, but for some reason now, I seem to sleep with my mouth open. I don’t have any respiratory illnesses like emphysema or asthma. I have never smoked or been exposed to second hand smoke. I do have some dust and mold allergies and have taken allergy injections for years with good control of symptoms (I used to get sinus congestion and infections). I have recently watched my 78 year old mother be diagnosed with sleep apnea and go the route of cpap. I want to avoid this. Have not been convinced of the quality of the medical work up and treatment.
Answer: Snoring results from inflammation as well as poor muscle tone, and is often also related to the presence of a hiatal hernia. The fact that you have “allergies” confirms that there is probably significant inflammation in the respiratory tract. Allergy shots do exactly what they claim – they “desensitize” you to certain substances, meaning your body stops generating a normal response to what it perceives as an antigen. They do not train the body to do what it should be doing, which is deal with the substance in a normal way by processing it correctly in the first place. Chronic inflammation results in a huge range of other, more apparent, health issues. Snor-ease has helped a number of my clients by supporting respiratory health in general and I like Herbal Trace Minerals as a general mineral supplement to support muscle tone. Yoga exercises like the “lion” pose are helpful, as are any exercises involving sticking out the tongue, etc. Mugwort flower essence Massage Oil might also be helpful.