Research Shows That Breathing Exercises Help Improve Sleep and Overall Health

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to living a healthy life. People who get good sleep tend to get sick less often, think more clearly, have lower stress levels, and have many other health benefits.

But even with the best intentions, some people aren’t able to get high-quality sleep due to sleep disorders. It is estimated that 50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder, and sleep apnea ranks the highest among these sleep disorders, with an estimated 22 million Americans being affected.

There are several types of sleep apnea. The most common is called “obstructive sleep apnea” or OSA. OSA occurs when your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway during your sleep cycle. Often, snoring can strongly indicate sleep apnea if other symptoms accompany it.

There have been numerous medical research studies over the past few decades that show how breathing exercises help improve your chance of getting a good night of sleep. Specifically, Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) helps reduce sleep apnea symptoms and improve sleep, especially in older adults.

As individuals grow older, their sleep quality and quantity decline, leading to fragmentation and increased respiratory events, including sleep apneas with hypoxemia. Not getting enough sleep is often associated with reduced quality of life and can contribute to obesity, hypertension, anxiety, diabetes, glucose intolerance, and heart disease.

Medical research on reducing sleep disorders

According to a medical study from the Journal of Aging Science, an 8-week study conducted on 38 older adults given inspiratory muscle training showed a marked improvement in reducing their sleep apnea. The breathing exercises were able to “re-educate the dilator muscles of the pharynx,” which promoted increased tone of the pharyngeal muscles, which led to the reduction or even elimination of sleep apnea.

In another medical study published by the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, breathing training modulated blood pressure and plasma catecholamines in subjects with ongoing nighttime apnea and hypoxemia. Accordingly, the research suggests that IMT offers a low-cost, nonpharmacologic means of improving people's sleep and blood pressure, especially patients who are intolerant of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices.

Another study showed Expiratory Muscle Strength Training, EMST, improved sleep quality in patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Selecting the suitable RMT-Respiratory Muscle Training device to improve sleep

Breathing devices, when properly used, help improve sleep and overall health. When selecting a breathing device, check if it can be easily operated without being held in place. Inspiratory muscle training takes time, and using a device that allows just the mouth to use the device makes the exercise more effective. Inspiratory muscle training is performed by inhaling against a resistance a given number of times, just as you would do repetitions at a gym. As one uses the RMT, Respiratory Muscle Training device, your breathing muscles become stronger. Over time, breathing exercises that induced a moderate resistance for the user reduced sleep apnea measurably. This increased sleep quality decreased snoring and provided many other positive benefits from getting a good night's sleep for years to come.

A device that can be used while the user is sitting stationary or doing daily activities or exercising could provide many deep breathing opportunities, possibly maximizing user experience and results.

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