Let me introduce you to our expert because we're going to talk about sleep apnea today - about snoring - and even though the fact that it is awful for your health, and a lot of people don't realize this, it's also really bad if you're in a relationship.
So, let me welcome someone who's now going to be one of my favorite guests, Janet Bennett.
Janet Bennett: Hey Steve - How about that for an opening?
Steve O: Janet, I gotta tell you I got teary-eyed over this because I know there are so many people out there suffering from snoring, and sleep apnea, and some of them don't realize how dangerous it is for their health. You have come up with a technique that I totally believe in and I am gonna start doing it. Because, if I can get rid of my CPAP machine, I'm going to love you for the rest of my life. So introduce yourself and tell everybody about yourself and about your practice.
Janet: My name is Janet Bennett and I'm a Speech Pathologist. I’ve been in private practice for over 40 years and I knew that I wanted to be a speech therapist when I was 12 years old when I watched the movie The Miracle Worker. I didn't know that the lady helping the the blind mute deaf girl was a speech therapist - I didn't know that name -
I just knew that I wanted to help people like she was helping, that little girl. So I always knew I'm right where I needed to be. I didn't realize, though, that it would end up being more toward helping people stop snoring than other things. But, I also specialize in the treatment of tongue thrust.
I don't know how many know what tongue thrust is, but you've probably seen some people whose teeth stick out like buck teeth, or whose teeth don't meet. They can't close them. That's because when they swallow, they don't swallow correctly - their tongue pushes the back of their teeth or it comes out between their teeth and so they sometimes have a lisp. That's what I was specializing in teaching them how to swallow a different way. It's that simple, just move the tongue back on the roof of your mouth and make a new habit. That's what we do, we make new habits.
One day I was treating a 14-year-old football player, and when I say treating, I have a seven-week program that's just different tongue exercises and lip exercises. So, after two lessons with this guy (his name was Adam), his mom came in and asked me what I was doing to him. I said, “well, what do you mean?” and she said, “well, he's always been the loudest snorer in the world and now he's not making a sound! He used to Rattle the windows.”
Well, that was in 2003 and I didn't know anything about snoring. So, I asked him, “Adam, what's going on?” and he said, “Well, I'm waking up feeling more energetic, I can concentrate more in school, and I run faster.”
Well, you know I didn't think about anything except that statement that he ran faster because I thought that could be really important, what were we doing that made that happen? So, I got on the computer and I thought, well I'm going to find that they treat snoring with tongue exercises.
No, that wasn't true! What they were doing was lopping off your uvula - that thing that hangs down in the back of your throat - or they were selling you a very expensive appliance to put in your mouth. Or they would just break your jaw and pull It forward so your airway is Larger.
When I looked at the results of all these techniques, none of them seemed to be working. Well, that changed my life and I sought out people for me to practice on. I knew right then I could improve this program. I wanted to make it just as perfect and easy as possible but I just needed help from people who had the problem because I wasn't a snorer. So, I found 86 people all over the United States. I was going to go through the program with them every week. I met on the phone. 86 people I treated on the phone and they helped me word each exercise. I would send it early and ask if they could understand the wording. And they might say, “well no, I didn't really know what that meant.” So, they would help me word it.
I came up with a seven-week program that's full of different exercises and these 86 people, I want you to know that 94% stopped snoring!
Steve O: Wow! That is amazing. You know Janet, I'm gonna really enjoy doing this show with you because like I said I've got sleep apnea. It's treated with a CPAP machine which is so uncomfortable to have to sleep with. A mask at night is extremely uncomfortable, and from all I've heard from these dentists who use these apparatuses, they are uncomfortable.
So, if there is a way - and don't be embarrassed if you snore - because if you don't treat it, it could cause a lot of health issues. Is that right?
Janet: Absolutely; And let me just interject this. If you live alone, you might say, “well, how do I know if I'm snoring?” I was treating a little girl once when she was like eight years old and she told me that she had stopped snoring. I said, “well how did you know that?” She said, “because my cat came back to sleep with me!” So, you know they're telltale signs like.
If you live alone and you say, “well, I don't know if I'm snoring,” here's the deal: Do you wake up with a dry mouth? Do you wake up tired? Do you wish you could just sleep for five more minutes? Do you have a headache that goes away pretty quickly after waking up? Do you get sleepy during the daytime? Those kinds of things - it's going to tell you that you're breathing through your mouth, and that's where the Snore part comes in.
People may not have even thought about mouth breathing, but that really is the biggest problem with all of this - the sleep apnea, the snoring, and the tongue thrust. They all go together because every one of them in the study was mouth-breathing.
Steve O: Let's talk about the program - how long is the program, first of all?
Janet: The program is seven weeks long. Now, what that means is I have seven lessons. if we have to miss a week, that's okay - it's very forgiving and we can just continue doing other exercises without learning new ones. You have new exercises each week that you practice doing every day during that week for seven days, two times a day. You commit to doing that and it only takes about 15, maybe 20 minutes to do your exercises. When you get the program, you also get a video of me sitting at my desk, waiting for you to come in to do your exercises. You don't have to bring a piece of paper in, you don't have to take notes, just copy me and I'll do your exercises for you, but copy me and so that makes it super easy. But it makes you accountable to someone, so each week, hopefully, you will start seeing signs that you're feeling better. You're more refreshed and there are other physical things that happen when you mouth breathe that we can talk about later.
Steve O: Do you tenant do you see that like diets, for example, you know you you're all gung ho, and then you not lose interest, but you might miss a meal here or there? Do you see that your patients follow through the entire program for the entire seven weeks or do they miss one once in a while - and does that push them back?
Janet: Good question. We have to talk about first. The patients that I treat, they're the only ones I really know. But if they have to miss a lesson, it's rare - like maybe they've got a dentist appointment and we can't find another day to do it or whatever, but that's rare. They complete it. I've only had a few people after all these years who did not complete their program because I knew from the beginning that they were not doing their exercises. They weren't seeing any progress, so I wouldn't continue treating them because they wouldn't agree to do it.
Steve O: That 94% success rate with stopping snoring is really remarkable because there is not even a medication that works for a hundred percent of the people.
Janet: CPAP machines - I will never tell anyone to not use their CPAP machine because people who use a CPAP machine, have more severe sleep apnea. So the idea is, if a person's on a CPAP machine and they do my program, that's great, but you keep using your CPAP machine while you're doing my program. And then the day may come when you decide that you want to try to go one night without it, but it's not something I will be directing you on.
And the best thing really would be, if you have a CPAP, that means you've already had one sleep study done. The best thing to do would be to go back to have another sleep study done before you decide to go off the machine, or if you've gone off and feel okay, but find out for sure from a doctor
I treated a man who stopped snoring - I mean who stopped breathing like 66 times an hour - and he did my program and it went he went back and had another sleep study and it went down to 11 times an hour so. But y'all, that was just in eight weeks! You know, I mean, how can that happen in eight weeks? He still had sleep apnea, but it was a lot less dangerous for his heart than it had been at 66 times an hour. But he kept practicing and soon it got much better. So, everybody's different.
Steve O: Janet, we've got thousands and thousands of viewers right now and listeners and you know, I want to scare people with truthful information. Tell people if they do not take care of this situation, what could happen to them?
Janet: Okay, so you told them I wasn't a doctor. I just know that every time you have sleep apnea, there are going to be those times many per hour sometimes when you stop breathing and you have to snort - your brain works and snorts to wake you up. That's what helps you get through the night. What's happening is your tongue has a natural suctioning ability that probably not many people know about.
I've been working with a researcher from the University of Arizona for about 10 years. We were always trying to get a grant from the National Institute of Health. He taught me that the tongue has the natural suctioning ability, so doesn't it make sense if you lay down to sleep, and you're resting all of your muscles are very rested, and your tongue starts creeping down the throat, you know gravity is going to help that happen too, but all of a sudden that suctioning ability of the tongue just takes over - and it's in your throat - and that's what makes it harder to get it out.
What my program does is, it trains your tongue to live on the roof of your mouth and it uses that same suctioning ability that was bad on the one side but good on the other side. It keeps your tongue kind of suctioned up on your palate so that when you sleep, your tongue doesn't fall down and block your airway. The other thing the program does - it trains you to breathe through your nose.
Steve O: You see a lot of people that are breathing out their mouth - you can see a crack in their mouth - does that mean they probably have sleep apnea?
Janet: I can't say I treat sleep apnea because that's a medical condition. Snoring is not considered a medical condition, so I can say I treat snoring. So, if I treat your snoring and you stop snoring, then that means you've learned how to breathe through your nose, and your lips are closed when you sleep. Now, if your lips are closed when you sleep, I don't know how you can get sleep apnea. The person who snores, and all of a sudden, you start snoring louder and louder, that is a sign that you are developing sleep apnea.
Steve O: What is the follow-up, what do they do after the seven weeks of the Correct My Tongue Thrust program?
Janet: After the seven weeks, hopefully, you've seen great results and you're restful. So what has happened during those seven weeks is you've made your tongue stronger and skinnier. You've made your tongue more toned so it's ready. It's like you went to the gym and worked out all your muscles you're very toned. Now, when you stop going to the gym, the difference is you all of a sudden aren't using those weights anymore and so some of those muscles are going to get weaker. But, whenever we are working with your tongue and making it stronger (it's made up of many muscles) we make all of those muscles strong and you quit doing those specific exercises, you still are going to chew your food you will still be talking you will still be using your tongue as you did before but now it's in great shape. And hopefully, it should stay that way. It has muscle memory, so that's why it's easy.
You do get a little maintenance program that I made specifically for you. If you ever think, “oh, I wonder if I'm still doing this right,” you can do a few of the exercises and think, “oh yeah, that feels good - I know I'm doing it right.”
Steve O: You know Janet, I realize you're not a doctor but you are a speech pathologist. When you're a speech pathologist, you're are you still working on the the tongue, I would think you are?
Janet: You mean if I'm not working on snoring? Yes, for example, some people are born with that tissue under their tongue (it's called a frenum), and sometimes it's too tight when they're born. So, they have to kind of get it released, and then they might need speech therapy to learn how to talk again because the tongue's different once they have that released.
Or, there are problems like apraxia - where your brain doesn't work well with the muscles in your tongue and you've got to get those coordinated. There are quite a few things. Even with an “R” sound, we see a lot of kids who only have problems with the -r- sound, so a “bird” is a “bud,” or “car” is a “caw.” Doing these tongue exercises prepares them to make better speech sounds. Therapists will use these exercises on them even if they don't snore or have a tongue thrust.
I call it the house - you should get your house in order, get all the muscles straightened out and stronger.
Steve O: Our shows are broadcasted around the country, and this is what's so good about Janet's practice. We got an email last week at our Houston show, but the email was from New Orleans. And of course, we gave her Janet’s number. But the thing that they wanted to get across is that it was such a great show - and her husband snores - and she's going to be contacting Janet next week. Now, Janet is out of Asheville
North Carolina, but anyone can do her program online at StopSnoringTampa.com.com. Janet can also work with you through Zoom video anywhere in the world
Janet: That’s right - let me backup a little bit when I treated those 86 people, I told you you know that they helped me word everything, It was really heavy on my mind that I saved the entire world. I realized I couldn't do that and I didn't really want to train the trainer, so this program that you will be purchasing is the total deal. It has everything that you need to do it by yourself. It's easy and you can see me doing everything and so with that said, I think that a consultation with me before you start the program or something would be great, and I can do that over the phone or via Zoom.
Steve O: I think that is wonderful. Listen, if you're snoring, which I'll probably start using more rather than sleep apnea, but if you're snoring, you can either do the CPAP, which I do - which is the most uncomfortable way to sleep. There are apparatuses out there that a lot of dentists use and I tried one of those. It was even worse than the CPAP machine.
Here's an exercise - you have nothing to lose - I mean and you could be whether it's 90% or 94 percent - the numbers are with you - and if you have a way to stop snoring through Janet's techniques, why wouldn't you at least try? She's got this incredible program - and by the way, a CPAP machine costs thousands and thousands of dollars.
Janet: You do have props for this program, of which I would mail to you to make sure that you have them, but I had to figure out a way to make the tongue skinnier remember me saying that make it skinnier, and I couldn't find a tool I needed to find something that would stroke or tickle the muscles on the sides of your tongue and stay on the sides instead of the top of the bottom, so I invented my own tool to use with that, and it has a patent. This is called the Tongue Stick.
Steve O: What's it made out of Janet?
Janet: It's hard plastic. Can you see that ridge down the middle right there? You put this in your mouth and that ridge keeps it on the side of your tongue as you stroke both sides now I know this is the weirdest thing that you would ever do probably - and I know a lot of people out there saying, “well, that's just crazy, that's just bizarre that a stick can make your tongue skinnier.” Well, it is true - I agree - but when you do that to your tongue, it tickles those muscles, and they go like this, and your tongue gets skinnier, and it has that's what you're trying to do. Muscle memory - remember now why do we need it skinnier? We want the tongue to live up there on the roof of your mouth, not down on the bottom like most people do. The top palette is smaller than the bottom, so we've got to get your tongue skinnier so it fits comfortably up there.
The tongue stick is what it's all about.
Steve O: You mentioned kids. Do you get many kids that snore?
Janet: The kids come to me because they have a tongue thrust. The pediatricians, the dentists, the otolaryngologists - these people refer to me, and so when I get them, they have a tongue thrust, but then I discover they snore because they're a mouth breather
There are two types of snores - did you know that? There's a mouth snorer, which you and millions of others are. There's also a nose snorer. When I was working with those 86 people in my study, there were just a couple of people who said, “but my snoring comes through my nose.” I found my program did not help those people. I rarely say that, but it didn't help those people, and the nose snore has a stuffy nose. What those people need to do is go to the ear nose and throat doctor, and and get that fixed
Steve O: Janet, I and Janet's going to be with us every month, I cannot thank you enough. I know what you're teaching and training that's going to work for most people because I understand it. When you have sleep apnea, you literally stop breathing, and what usually happens is the Snore wakes you up.
Janet: That's right, because when you've stopped breathing, your brain is saying “wake up” and you snort - that kicks the tongue out, and if I may go back a minute, I didn't finish about the kids. After I treated those 86 people, I treated kids for the next year and just really focused on the snoring part with kids, and a hundred percent stopped.
Steve O: Wow, that is amazing.
Janet: Here's the thing - why am I so passionate about this? Because I see people totally change their life. All of a sudden they don't wake up dragging, they don't stay sleepy all day long, and they're not bloated. When you breathe through your mouth, you get all this dirty air in. I see them just change and I think well, my goodness, let's tell everybody about this there's no reason not to change. Even though you grew up with the saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” well you need to think about that again.
Steve O: You can die from sleep apnea. If that doesn't get you motivated, I don't know what will.
Janet: We've got to remember not everybody has sleep apnea. So a lot of us just snore now and usually that snoring doesn't bother the snorer - they don't realize that it is bothering them. They don't realize all the conditions that can happen because they're mouth breathing. Their spouse, or whoever they sleep in the same room with, it bothers them, and so usually when I help the snorer, I'm actually helping them, which is great.
Steve O: Well, we've come to the end of the show. We'll be back again with you next month, and we'll be back with you next week with more Ask the Experts
Janet: See you soon, okay bye bye.
Steve O: So that was Janet Bennett and folks, listen. If you have a snoring problem, I don't want this to sell like a commercial, and it's not a commercial. We're here to educate you. Janet has come up with a treatment that is working, and if it can keep you from having to use a CPAP machine eventually or an apparatus, it doesn't hurt to try it and it's a seven-week program. I'm going on the program - that's how much I believe in it. Give Janet a call - you can do this from anywhere in the country- she will work with you - Zoom in and then you can thank me later. We'll be back again next week with more Ask the Experts. We’ve got some great experts coming up. We'll see you soon. Have a good week everybody.
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