Snoring professional singers

The soft palate

The little thing with a big impact

There are many reasons why one snores, but only two permanent requirements:
Sleep and, not only now on everyone's lips, the soft palate with the uvula. From a biological point of view, the soft palate with its double fold shape is the continuation of the hard palate. And not just in humans, but in all mammals. One notices or hears the soft palate with the uvula most clearly when speaking the letter R or when gargling. The most important functions are the partial delimitation between the trachea and esophagus, the pressure equalization when yawning or swallowing and the control of the air flow from the lungs required for speakingPhonation stream). More precisely, the correct control of air through the oral cavity or through the nasal cavity to the outside.

Better sleep with soft palate surgery?

Now one might think that if the soft palate is no longer there, or at least smaller, the snoring disappears. That is partly true. But reports of success without side effects after an operation on the soft palate are rare. The reason: Success through an operative change (e.g. through laser, radio frequency or plastic implants) is a real game of chance and involves risks. Changes to the soft palate can lead to problems speaking the rolled R or parts of the food, especially liquids, to get into the nasal cavity. Any taste disturbances and a foreign body sensation in the throat are also very unpleasant. In the event of such changes, the procedure cannot be reversed during a reduction operation, as the soft soft palate cannot be reset to its original size.

Because of this poor risk-benefit ratio, most health insurance companies refuse to pay for the operation on the soft palate. In other regions of the world, e.g. in Singapore, nasal palate surgery has been quite successful in recent years (study with 153 snorers (Laryngoscope 2015, online May 20). However, there are two important differences that a simple transmission Make unlikely: it is a combined nose and palate operation and the patients / test persons in Singapore are very rarely overweight in contrast to Germany.

Tongue Exercise palate and the soft palate

Since an operation involves risks and success is not guaranteed, it is worth looking for alternatives. One possibility: the tightening of the soft palate through targeted training. The training can be carried out with or without a training device, depending on your disposition and preferences. Whichever path you choose - it is always a workout for the palate to counteract the problematic slackening of the throat muscles. Here are some, among many others, involuntarily selected examples:

TheDragon Pearlis a small plastic part that is worn in the mouth when you sleep. It has its place between the teeth and the underside of the tongue. Two bite notches and two straps around the head are used for positioning. Positioned correctly, a ball-like shape stimulates the nerves on the underside of the tongue and the roof of the mouth below. To get used to it, the Dragon Pearl can also be worn for a quarter of an hour directly before going to bed.

TheFace Formeris a training device that is not worn while sleeping. This "snore pacifier" requires discipline for possible success. The associated Face Former training program requires a six-month exercise effort of 3 times a day at least 5 minutes. In the event of success, you can expect significantly less snoring, as well as better breathing and fewer teeth grinding.

TheDreamsipper is aTraining device in the shape of a straw. It uses the knowledge from two tried and tested sleep improvement methods and is only used before eating. The swallowing technique trained in this way strengthens the muscles in the oral cavity that are responsible for snoring (tongue and throat muscles). Just 2 to 3 minutes of daily training with the Dreamsipper can provide stronger tongue and palate muscles after a week.

As a final example, let us mention a device that was not invented for medical purposes at all: The didgeridoo. The musical instrument of the Australian Aborigines is, like some other wind instruments, to a limited extent, well suited to train the muscles in the throat area. The reason: the didgeridoo is not simply blown. It is blown gently with fluttering lips and then brought to different sounds and melodies with acoustic articulation, changing the blowing strength, moving the larynx and narrowing the oral cavity.

Train your palate without equipment

Exercises are a dime a dozen. At least if you read through guides, health portals and the rest of the internet. In any case, there is an indication that training the palate and oral cavity is worthwhile: professional singers who put a lot of effort into training singing and mouth muscles have been shown to snore less. Some, especially uncomplicated exercises are mentioned here:

- The easiest way to train the soft palate: Singing.
- Drinking is just as easy, especially without a drink. Simulate the process (with or without a straw) five times a day.
- Press the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth 20 times and then pull it backwards. Repeat this exercise 20 times.
- Press the tongue firmly against the roof of the mouth until it sucks in. 20X
- Press down on the back of the tongue while the tip of the tongue taps the lower incisors. 20X
- Firmly push your lower jaw back and hold this position for a minute and repeat the exercise a second or third time.
- With your mouth closed, press your tongue firmly against the teeth of the lower jaw for a few minutes.

A contribution by Mirko Wachsmuth