An advertisement in a recent Prevention magazine was a bit confusing:
THE SNORING SOLUTION THAT’S BETTER THAN THAT ELBOW
That didn’t make sense to me. It was as odd as asking, “Is it hotter in the summer or in the subway?” But I read on, hoping for some explanation. The information came from a national magazine called CHEST, which is either the journal for the American Pulmonary Association or a training manual for the new hires at Hooters.
This medical study claims that by exercising certain muscles in your tongue, you can reduce snoring and prevent your spouse from elbowing you at night. Most caring spouses would not do such a thing, and anyway, I don’t think Mary Ellen’s elbow can reach from her side of a king-size bed all the way to the living room couch.
According to the study, “These exercises are a promising noninvasive treatment for large populations suffering from snoring.” Huh? Are their some countries that snore more than others? What are the top snoring nations of the world? That’s the kind of chart USA Today needs in the bottom left corner of the front page.
Listed are five exercises the scientists highly recommend doing — but only in the privacy of your home in order to prevent any potential misunderstanding, especially when you are using public transportation.
Here’s the first: Several times a day open and close your jaws without any food in your mouth. This must work because snoring is not a reported problem in most chimpanzee families.
And this one: Open your mouth 20 times like you’re saying, “Ahh” for your doctor. If you say, “Awww” like you are watching a YouTube cat video, that apparently won’t work.
The best exercise, they claim, is to open your mouth wide and then use your hands to gently massage your lower jaw while you count to 20. I tried this, but in order to count to 20 I either need both hands free or be able to talk out loud.
Another recommended method is to say each vowel of the alphabet over and over again. So you’d go, “A-E-I-O-U” about 30 times. Oh, and sometimes you can include Y.
Below this article, there are ads for devices that prevent snoring. They must figure that if you read all this other baloney, you might be naïve enough to actually spend money on some stupid gadget. My favorite is the anti-snoring chin straps. The inventor describes his contraption this way: “It easily stretches over your head, holding everything in place and preventing it from falling off.” Maybe it’s the English teacher in me, but I think that means you could be at risk of losing your head.
The manufacturer also says most people find the device so comfortable that it can be worn throughout the night. Wait, what’s the alternative? “Honey, the snoring strap has been very effective the last two hours, so I’m waking you up now so you can take it off.”
“Okay. Thanks. Now, I’m going back to sleep.”
(10 minutes later)
“Sorry, dear. You’re at it again. Time to get strapped back in. I’ll wake you again when it’s working.”
One final note: Snoring may be related to excessive weight, and we are informed that 24 percent of U.S. healthcare expenditures are related to inactivity. That’s why I’m starting the tongue exercises immediately. That treadmill is way too much work.