New research indicates that calf exercise might reduce snoring. Although the idea might sound crazy, and it definitely needs more research before we can embrace it, it’s not actually that far-fetched.
Calf Exercises Reduce Snoring
Researchers looked at the effect of fluid accumulation in the legs on snoring. The theory goes that if fluid accumulates in the legs during the day, it will redistribute at night, including accumulating in the neck. This can increase the risk of partial or total airway collapse, leading to snoring or sleep apnea.
Calf exercises have been shown to reduce fluid accumulation in the legs, so researchers sought to determine if they could also reduce snoring. They found that after doing the exercises, men showed a reduction in the amount of fluid accumulated in the neck–and a reduction in snoring, too.
Caveats to the Study
There are many things to keep in mind about this study. First, it’s a tiny study, with just 8 snorers and 8 controls, there’s not much strength to the conclusion. Along with that, it’s worth noting this research was delivered as a paper presentation, not as a peer-reviewed publication. This means that the study hasn’t been reviewed in detail by other experts, who might point out potential flaws in the study.
And we have to note that the study used all healthy individuals. Nobody in the study was known to have sleep apnea.
However, this research does agree with some earlier research looking at fluid accumulation in the legs of people who had venous insufficiency in their legs. When these subjects wore compression stockings during the day, fluid accumulation in the neck decreased by 62%, and they had a 36% reduction in sleep apnea.
Even with both studies considered, this represents an intriguing direction for snoring treatment, but doesn’t confirm efficacy yet.