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  • Writer's pictureKana Arreguin

Breath Work and Snoring

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

One of the more fascinating aspects of offering therapy for the breath is the diversity of clientele I get to see. I’ve had the pleasure of working with individuals trying to solve chronic pain, stress, feelings of anxiety, and improve sport performance. A recent trend has included clients wanting to improve their sleep. Not surprisingly, a more specific request from their partner is to reduce their snoring.

Snoring is reported to be present in 9-40% of adult females and 30-57% of adult men. This can lead to poor sleep quality, obstructive sleep apnea, heart abnormalities, and even persistent headaches. There are numerous reasons that factor into poor sleep quality and snoring. These can include lifestyle, weight, age, jaw anatomy and pregnancy. Considering and working on all these factors are important, but perhaps a lesser-known factor for snoring and sleep disturbance is quality of breathing.

Poor breathing habits increase the likelihood of mouth breathing at night. Breathing out of the mouth at night increases the likelihood of snoring. This eventually becomes a vicious cycle. Snoring and breathing out of the mouth further reduces your tolerance for maintaining healthy levels of carbon dioxide in your system. When you can’t tolerate healthy levels of carbon dioxide, you’re more likely to breathe out of the mouth rather than the nose. This snowball starts to pick up steam real fast!

The goal of breath therapy is to stop that cycle by working on carbon dioxide (CO2) tolerance. Consistent breath work practice helps the body tolerate proper levels of CO2 while also breathing comfortably. In the clinic, we can monitor your carbon dioxide levels at rest, while walking, and while working on your exercises. It won’t feel comfortable at first, but in due time, it will feel natural. Tolerating proper levels of CO2 allows you to comfortably nasal breathe at night, which should drastically reduce the presence of snoring.

When all is said and done, you should be feeling the benefits of deeper and more restful sleep. Your partner may even appreciate the newfound quietness.

Ray Arreguin Jr., PT, DPT, OCS, COMT, FAAOMPT

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