Fake it till you make it, if you can smile for 2 minutes a forced smile can change to a natural and genuine one, so says Dennis Lewis. And it can make you and those around you feel better. Reason enough to smile…
But did you know that a smile can help open your airways and decrease snoring? An authentic smile makes the eyes sparkle and can raise the ears (unlike a “politician’s smile where only the lips move!). This can actually tighten muscles in the airways, the soft palette at the top of the back of the mouth, reducing vibration and snoring.
Smiling and Snoring
Snoring is often a result of a) structural problems with the airway – commonly a narrowed airway with floppy tissues that can vibrate – combined with b) heavier than normal breathing that sets off the vibration to cause the snoring sound (or even the more serious obstructive sleep apnoea where the airways collapse completely, starving the sleeper of oxygen).
Buteyko breathing retraining helps to switch to nasal breathing rather than mouth breathing even when sleeping, and reduces the abnormally heavy breathing. This can usually solve the snoring problem and improve the sleep of any room-mate!
Usually open mouthed snoring can be stopped by closing the mouth and learning to reduce the airflow, but for some people snoring can still take place through the nose, slightly different tissues doing most of the vibrating (the soft palette and other tissues at the back of the mouth/nose rather than lower in throat).
A complementary approach to reduce this snoring is to address the structure, ie the narrowed airway rather than the air flow.
Toning the floppy muscles lining the airways so that they are not so loose and easy to vibrate can help. There are several ways to do this, an orofacial myofunctional therapist can give exercises (they often help children stop mouth breathing, stop thumb sucking, and swallow properly) that reduce snoring and sleep apnoea.
More fun ways to tone those soft tissues and stop the vibration and snoring/sleep apnoea might be to play an instrument eg a digeridoo!
Or why not sing? (Singing for snorers CD) .
And smiling, even a “secret smile” where you raise your ears, can improve singing – even help balance your head, fascinating… (you can read more about this in an interesting article on a colleague’s site on Alexander technique) and reduce snoring.
Posture, humming and sinusitis
Another oddity is that humming can help sinusitis. Clogged sinuses can be a breeding ground for infections and humming was shown to a) dramatically increase air flow into the sinuses and b)boost production of the gas nitric oxide (NO) which is broadly antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial.
And did you know that poor posture can make your sinusitis worse? If you have a head forward position, it may be difficult for the sinuses to drain properly. Try these Egoscue postural e-cises (exercises) and see how you get on.
If you would like an email alert for new blog posts, please sign up below: