Richard Jacobs: How did you figure out a way to help people with their sleep? It probably means that you've had sleep issues or you've been around someone who's had like what's your background here?
Janet Bennett: Okay, well, I'm a speech pathologist. I have been in the business for more than 40 years and I have specialized in the treatment of tongue thrust for the past 25 years. And I don't have sleep problems and I didn't know anything about sleep problems actually. But about 15 years ago, I was treating a 14-year-old football player for tongue thrust. Now that's when you swallow when your tongue pushes the back of your teeth and maybe you end up with buck teeth or maybe you swallow with your tongue coming out between your teeth and you have an open bite. So there are several different things that can happen if you're not swallowing correctly. But anyway, so I was seeing him for that and he was going to be coming for seven lessons and he was with me on his third lesson and his mother came into the room and she said, Janet, what are you doing to Adam? And I said, well what do you mean? And she said, well, he has always been the loudest snorer in the world, the windows, and the doors just rattle. And now he's not making a sound. And I looked at Adam and I said, tell me more because I knew nothing about snoring. Tell me more. And he said, well, it's true. I can concentrate better in school and making better grades and this is what really got me. He said, and I run faster so that totally got my attention. I ran home, didn't even have a computer in the office at the time, and I just knew when I got on the internet that I was going to find that people had their snoring treated with some exercises. Okay. I had no idea. But that's not what I found. What I found was that they are lopping off their uvula or they're pulling their jaw forward or they're using a CPAP machine or expensive appliances and the more I read, the more I realized none of them were really working. So I got excited. I've been passionate ever since that day. And it's the way to go because it's a harmless way to fix your snoring to stop it. And it's just been a very blessed road to travel so far. So does that answer that question?
Richard Jacobs: Yeah. Well for people that don't know, why does the weak tongue contribute to snoring or sleep apnea or other sleep problems?
Janet Bennett: Well, okay, so what really happens is, we talk about the snoring because it's something we can hear and we can identify. But actually what this comes down to, is mouth breathing. And when you breathe through your mouth and you're sleeping, your mouth open, you're going to make some noises as the wind goes back and forth. So that's the snoring part. But the thing is my tongue exercises, whenever they're done correctly, they train your tongue to live upon the roof of your mouth. And when you have your tongue up on the roof of your mouth, you cannot breathe through your mouth. Try it. Put your tongue up there. You can't breathe through your mouth. You're forced to breathe through your nose. And so these really are the major things that need to be fixed to stop snoring and to have a better, healthier life because it forces you to nasal breath. When we breathe through our mouth, we get cold, dirty air into our bodies. And when we breathe through our nose, of course, the air is clean because of the hairs in our nose and it's warmed. And the biggest part about this is when we breathe through our nose, there's this gas that we create through sinuses, pair of sinuses and our nasal area. And it's called nitric oxide. It's not nitrogen oxide, its nitric oxide and nitric oxide are what regulate circulation and oxygenation and all that stuff. I'm not a doctor, but it's what our body needs every night to get rejuvenated and ready for the next day. Okay. And so if you aren't breathing through your nose, your body is not making nitric oxide. So half the world breathe through their mouth and people don't realize what's happening, they don't know about nitric oxide. They don't know about these other things, but the tongue exercises come into play because you want to train the tongue to live upon the top instead of on the bottom.
Richard Jacobs: So throughout the day ideally, people's tongue should be sitting on the top of their mouth on the top right pallet?
Janet Bennett: It should be up on the pallet. Tongue tip behind the teeth. The tongue is flat, touching as much of the upper palate is possible without being uncomfortable. Just like a sandwich in between the top and bottom. That's where it should be. And when a person swallows, their tongue tip should be right behind their teeth and they swallow by kicking off from their palate and not from their teeth.
Richard Jacobs: So, all right, so what happens to people? Does their tongue get weaker? I mean, I'm eating and talking that doesn't exercise your tongue enough?
Janet Bennett: Well, no, apparently it doesn't. And the thing is people who have an open mouth, a person can breathe through their mouth, but it's not hanging wide open and the tongue is always hanging out. But the tongue is allowed when it's on the bottom. It's allowed to get real fat and happy and lazy and it's not made to live upon the roof of the mouth. Just the act of putting your tongue up on the roof of your mouth and making sure it stays up there all day. I mean you're doing it subconsciously because we're in the habit of it. But just doing that keeps your tongue toned and stronger than the tongue that just gets to lay down all day. And so when it comes time to change that position of the tongue, you need to do some exercises to get it timed and stronger. And the other big thing that we find is that a majority of the people have a tongue that is way too wide for their mouths. And so my program makes the tongue skinnier.
Richard Jacobs: Is it their pallet too small or their mouth is too small or is it their tongue is too wide for some reason?
Janet Bennett: Well, normally it's going to be the tongue is too wide. The upper pallet is skinnier than the bottom and so that's one big reason that we have to make the tongue skinny or because we want the tongue to live upon the top and we want it to be comfortable. So it would become a habit. However, you can see people with the tongue that's way wide and they have scalloped edges, just little indentations all around, which means their tongues running into their teeth inside. Or they might have these big seizures, seizures in their tongue, where you can tell it's the skin's lapping over because it's just too wide and it's tight whenever it goes in their mouth. And so I had this special process of making the tongue skinnier and then people are always wondering, well, how do you make the tongue skinnier? Well, there is a surgical procedure and it's where they literally shave off the sides of your tongue, make it skinnier. That's one procedure. And then there's another surgical procedure where they just kind of cut the tip bottom half, cut out a wedge and then close it up. So you've got a skinnier your tongue. So the great thing is I have a way of doing that. So there's no blood or anything like that. I have a lot of natural ways to do that. And every bit of this program is natural. It's harmless. And the goals here, again, the goals are just to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth. Keep your tongue up on the roof of your mouth instead of on the bottom. And it should stop you from snoring. And whenever I first met this football player I was telling you about and went home and found out that nobody knew about tongue exercises for snoring I decided that I just wanted to produce some kind of program right then. That's the way I am. And so I decided that I wanted to work with a lot of people at first to make sure, because you know, maybe I was wrong, maybe I had missed something and he was just one guy. So I set out to find a lot of people and I found 86 people all over the United States who wanted to be my Co-Guinea pigs. And I wanted to use them to help me word the perfect program because I started thinking, wait a minute, a large percentage of the population needs to know about these tongue exercises, but I'm only one person and I felt a need to save the world, but I couldn't do that. So I quickly thought I don't want to train the trainer that does not interest me and I can't do it by myself. So I immediately decided I needed to produce a treatment program that the person who's not educated about any of this stuff or are educated about it, that they could do it by themselves. They could actually look at pictures or look at videos and read about the exercises and know exactly how to do them. And I figured if they had step by step instructions on everything, they should be able to do it without me. So that's what I set out to do. And these 86 people, it took me six or seven months to treat all of these people. And it was when we didn't have Skype back then. So, once a week I would send them a new lesson and that evening I would talk to them on the phone and I'd make sure they understood how I reworded it and if they didn't, they would help me reword it. It just made me feel better knowing that 86 people, I'd gotten their opinion on how to word things and they understood it. So I didn't know anything about snoring, but since I had started looking on the internet now I started seeing some other health issues that seem to be related. Maybe to mouth breathing or whatever. I was still at the learning stage. I didn't know myself, so I just saw these different health issues like dry mouth, restless leg syndrome, high blood pressure, insomnia, heartburn, waking with sweating. All kinds of things like that. And so I had this checklist where the people before they started the program that I got a baseline on what issues they had. And then I did the same thing after they did my program. So I could compare if anything else changed. I had no idea that anything else would change. I was not anticipating anything else. So after treating those people, 94% stopped snoring.
Richard Jacobs: That's great. That’s amazing. How long is the program?
Janet Bennett: That’s a great question. Its seven weeks long and each week I would teach them new exercises and each exercise by itself wouldn't take, well it'd be five minutes or less. I'm not very long at all, but they had to promise me that they would do them twice a day. So 10 minutes or less every day. And I would always joke with them and tell them now if you screw up and do it a little longer, it won't hurt because none of these will harm you. It will just make you better, faster. And so I've found when all was said and done, these other health issues we saw great results with them, but I learned very quickly as people started reprimanding me that I couldn't say that my program helped heartburn or helped any of those other things until I had done it with a double-blind study and had it published in the journal. So, well this is just what I was told. And so I had to omit any medical words that I used. But the thing is that these people just reported this to me. Now I was just the messenger and this is not something that I'm saying the I just want to sleep program did. It's just things that the people experienced after my program.
Richard Jacobs: That’s what customers said. Right.
Janet Bennett: Right, right. And I'm going to share a few of them if that's okay.
Richard Jacobs: You know what I say, well if everything needed to be a double-blind study, then no one should need food, drink water because it hasn't been tested that food is good for you. No one should eat food as there is no study on it.
Janet Bennett: Good point. Well, the other thing is that we're kind of thinking about over here is, is it really ethical? If I were to meet some people who have sleep apnea or snoring, maybe they do have sleep apnea or not. I can't say that my program helps that either. But can I ask them to sit over here and a blind study and be the control group for a couple of months maybe. Their heart is at risk and those kinds of things. So anyway, that is interesting to note, but okay. Just very quickly here, heartburn went away. 82%. Restless leg syndrome. And I know the books say it a neurological problem. 92% of the people say it went away. ADD 60%. Of course, you see the breathing through their nose. They're getting clean air and filtered air and nitric oxide. And so everything's oxygenated. Their bodies are totally different. Of course, you don't wake up with a dry mouth. When you breathe through your nose, you don't wake up with that headache when you breathe through your nose. 88% stop grinding their teeth. And I had an orthodontist from Connecticut called me early on. He said, Janet, I want to tell you why your program works. And I said, okay, tell me how I'm wondering myself. And he said, well when you put your tongue up on the roof of your mouth, he said, it aligns your cranial bones. And so if you think about it, people who grind their teeth, they grind because they aren't lined up correctly. They're trying to find that place. And sure enough, the people that I treat, that's one of the first things that stop because they're getting lined up.
And a lot of the martial arts things, I don't, I don't know much about them, but I do know that a lot of them required their students to keep their tongue up on the roof of their mouth while they're practicing. So it was interesting. All of these different symptoms that they responded to. There were two symptoms. Now I had like probably, I don't know, 15 but two of those had to do with sleep apnea and one of them was waking up with the sensation of choking and the other one was choke gas or hold breath while sleeping. Those are two sleep apnea symptoms or those are the only two that went away 100% of the time.
Richard Jacobs: That's great. So why do you think that, from what I read and talked to people that caused and story to by the tongue falling back into the throat, obscuring the currents and the person can't breathe?
What's your understanding of why the tongue exercises work?
Janet Bennett: Well that's a huge part of it. Yes. And that's a great question. So you lay down, you're tired, your tongue tired, you go to sleep and all the muscles relax. Your tongue is made up of many muscles and they all get relaxed. And if your tongue is not used to living up on the roof of your mouth, and where is it? It's hanging around on the bottom and as your head goes back on the pillow, your tongue starts to fall back with some. And during the night sometimes it's just got lazier and lazier and may start creeping down to block your airway a little bit, maybe partially to begin with and then as it goes down, it gets stuck in your airways and that's when your air is cut off. And that's when that symptom of choking and gasping because that part of your brain that tells you to wake up works. And so before I can finish answering that, I have an aside. I was introduced to a researcher at the University of Arizona, Dr. Ralph Fregosi and he specializes in research at the tongue. And so he and I have been working together for years now. And he explained to me what I've done with the tongue here and that is the tongue has a natural characteristic, a natural suctioning characteristic. And so when that tongue is traveling backward and going down your airway and getting stuck, what it's done is it has suctioned itself. And that's why it is so hard for that tongue to be released without waking up and making that happen. So he pointed out that in my program, what I have done is I'm using that suctioning characteristic, but I'm using it for good. And so we're directing the tongue up to the roof of the mouth so that it can literally suction itself and stay up there while you're sleeping.
Richard Jacobs: So the program is about seven weeks. And you encourage people to do it twice a day for like five minutes each time or how long is it?
Janet Bennett: Well, each exercise has a different instruction. So it might teach you an exercise like put your tongue up on the roof of your mouth and then just open and close your lower jaw and keep your tongue up there, suctioned up there while you're opening and closing your lower jaw. And you might do that until you've done it like 50 times. So that's not time, but it doesn't take that long to do it. Or just there's an exercise when I was growing up, it was a scolding sound, put your tongue tip on the spot and it's like suctioning in and it's like that. And you do that for maybe 15 seconds. So they're all different. But none of them go too long. Oh, what I wanted to tell you about one of the big things that's an important part of this program is how I make the tongue skinnier and so there's a way its certain muscles are stimulated and your tongue in a certain way, then it can actually change the way the size of the tongue. And so I had been playing with ways to make that happen for a while and I couldn't find you, tent soul, if you will, that would allow me to make contact with the tongue and do what I thought needed to be done to make it skinnier, knowing you know, what muscles are working and all that good stuff. So I invented my own utensil and I have a patent on it and it's called the tongue stick because I couldn't think of a better name. But yeah, it's called the tongue stick and it is used to stroke certain areas of your tongue. And while you're doing that, you also are simultaneously performing an isometric exercise. So one of those movements tones your tongue, you can see it telling you to stick it out and it's all fat and flabby but then you see another one that's toned. It's actually got a few little waves and it may be a lower area down the middle of the tongue anyway. So that's the tone and the isometric exercise that we do strengthens the tongue. So this is a really important part of this program. I have a before and after pictures of people's tongues.
Richard Jacobs: What did you notice? How much skinnier does a tongue get?
Janet Bennett: Well, let's picture this. You open your mouth and you stick your tongue out. So it's just relaxed and it's coming down maybe halfway to your chin. And if you look in the mirror is the sides of your tongue are probably as wide as your mouth is. It's filling up that whole mouth area horizontally. Can you picture that? So after you make your tongue skinnier, you can actually put your mouth in the same position, but your tongue is not even needing the sides of your mouth. There's actually a little room on either side so that whenever you put your tongue inside and quite often the scallop, those little indentations will disappear. And people will say, well, I'm not biting my tongue anymore. Lots of different things happen. Well, I had a female one time, take my tongue stick and rub it down the side of her body.
Richard Jacobs: That’s funny.
Janet Bennett: That didn't work. So, its FDA approved and so it's important. Very important.
Richard Jacobs: What is the indication that the FDA clearance was? Literally to make your tongue less wide?
Janet Bennett: FDA approved it for that it is okay to put it in your mouth.
Richard Jacobs: Okay I got you. That makes sense.
Janet Bennett: I didn't want to hear anybody saying, Oh, what's this going to do?
Richard Jacobs: So what do you do for people that have stuffed up nose, they cannot breathe through the nose if they want to.
Janet Bennett: I'm so glad you said that. Well, there are some people who will not benefit from my program and that's the huge group. They're the ones that can't breathe through their nose. Now, a lot of us have seasonal allergies and that's okay. But some people are congested all of the time or three-quarters of the time and that's not okay. I mean, they can't breathe through their mouths when they sleep or they will die. So if I have someone come to me and they really want to do my program, the first thing they have to do is get their nose clear, you know, go to the otolaryngologist or do whatever they need to do, get deviated septum fixed, whatever the problem is. Do their best because nothing's going to improve until that does. Because they'll continue to not breathe all their life.
Richard Jacobs: Have you had anyone that had a chronically stuffy nose but they do the tongue exercises anyway. Did they experience anything happening to them?
Janet Bennett: Not very much. Well, okay. I've had one person because normally I don't accept them. Now the people that have bought my book online, I say let them know before they order it. That if their nose is not clear, then they will not benefit from this program. But if they go ahead and buy it, that's their choice. But at one point Ralph Fergosi and I, we’ve been trying for years to get a grant through National Student Health and we've never been able to get those grants. And the reason I'm saying this is, first of all, the people who looked at the grants, the reviewers just didn't understand this. This was just too easy, too good to be true. And it couldn't work. And I wonder about politics in that too. But anyway, so at one point I decided I just really wanted to treat somebody. I wanted them to do research. I wanted them to have that overnight sleep study before they did my program. And then have it again after my program. That's all the research that's needed. I mean, that tells you all. And so I found four adults and they were willing to have the sleep study before and after and one of these adults and this is where I'm going with the nasal congestion. One of these adults had nasal congestion most of the time, but she's still wanting to be one of my participants. And I allowed her to because I felt great. I don't think she's going to get better, but this will help assure me that I'm on the right track with my thinking. So I just want to share very quickly, I can't share this anywhere else right now, but so I had this one man who stopped breathing 46 times an hour, that's severe sleep apnea. And afterward, seven lessons of my program, he stopped breathing 11 times an hour. Now he still has sleep apnea. But it was only seven weeks post. And I think that's something really important to look at too. And it's true all the heart problems that people can have as a result of sleep apnea. Well, what if we could provide them with the treatment like this that worked very quickly.
Richard Jacobs: You know what I bet this would do, since part of the problem of no sleep apnea, again, is the choking and CPAP or the oral appliance needs to either advanced the tongue or the CPAP needs to blow with a certain pressure. I bet you, someone doing your exercises that they would require a lower pressure on their CPAP, which would make it more tolerable because the tongue is most likely to fall back into the throat. So even if it does not cure apnea it's still will help people with C-PAP compliance. It'll help people with reducing the effects of apnea. So it’s got a lot of positive effects.
Janet Bennett: You are absolutely right. Because I know when I started this so long ago, I found that 4% of the people who had a CPAP machine, only 4% used it. That's horrible. I'm not sure that the percentage is a whole lot more today and it's because they just couldn't get used to that mask and they wouldn't go back to have that the air pressure regulated either. So it was a thought faulted on both sides. If I may finish about these people, the other two people who did the overnight studies, one-stop breathing 17 times an hour at the beginning and in the end it went down to three, which is considered no sleep apnea. Below five is no sleep apnea. And another one of them she only stopped breathing six times an hour, but that's considered sleep apnea. And it went down to one. And then the one with the stuffy nose, she only stopped breathing 6.8 times per hour. I say only 6.8 times per hour. Now after the treatment, it was six as opposed to 6.8. So there's just the hair difference. That was my example, but I found something very interesting working with someone who stopped snoring, who stopped breathing 46 times versus six times. They all had the same kinds of symptoms. The severity of the symptoms seems to be the same. I mean Johnny was just as tired as Mary, but they had a huge difference in the number of times they stopped breathing. So I thought that was just very interesting.
Richard Jacobs: Overtime, again I'm just theorizing here, but over time the person that stops breathing six times an hour versus 46 times an hour, I would think the 46 one would experience all kinds of terrible medical problems. It may take a few years.
Janet Bennett: Yeah, you're right.
Richard Jacobs: Where do you want to take this program? I mean, it seems like, I guess you don't have enough data, at least for the stuffy nose people. But I just wonder it would be really cool if it did improve the stuffy nose people somehow.
Janet Bennett: I'll tell you when it could. So the stuffiness that I'm going to be talking about is not an allergic reaction. It's not a medical problem. Some people have only breathed out of their mouths for their entire life. And so if they would close their lips and try to breathe through their nose, it would be stuffed up. And most of them would panic because there was no air and they would quickly open their lips and they would not want to try that again. I've worked with people like that and I knew before I worked with them that there was no physical problem. It was just a psychological thing. I had that, okay. They were habitual mouth breeders. And so what you have to do is you have to close your lips and keep your lips closed for five seconds and that might be all you can handle. And then, later on, go up to 10 seconds. It can take quite a while. It can take a few weeks to get it so that you're comfortable breathing through your nose. So that's a time when it could be fixed. The other big thing, can't believe I'm saying all this, but asthma acts up in cold conditions. Right. And I've worked with people who have asthma and I'm saying when you breathe through your mouth, you're getting cold area and well one day you already had to breathe through their nose, the air that they're taking, it's no longer cold. And so what do you think happens with their asthma? It improves.
Richard Jacobs: It is really fantastic. It is really great that people are experiencing all these positive effects.
Janet Bennett: Oh yes. I just stayed so excited about it. And not actually have discovered something myself in the last week or two that I'd like to share if I may. We were talking about the future of the industry. You know, what do we see happening with this? And I ran across this research article online. It was done by Dr. Rick Waltzing with the Netherlands Institute of neuroscience, and they were looking at the link between sleep and mental disorders. And it caught my eye because all these mass shootings that were going every, I think it's at the forefront of everyone's mind, you know, people with mental disorders and maybe we need to really focus and be alert and try to help them. And so the article was fantastic. I'm just going to give you a conclusion here. So what happens is you get traumatized by something and we've got these two things in our brain called amygdala and these have amygdala areas. They get activated when you are traumatized and or you stimulated in a certain way. So they get activated. And those are areas that will help control emotions and that kind of stuff. So we are supposed to do that but then there's a time when the trauma is supposed to subside, you calm down and these amygdalae are supposed to be able to shut down, rest and reset and get ready for the next thing that happens in your life. Well, it turns out these areas can only calm down and reset if the person is able to get rim sleep. So if a person is not able to get rim sleep, that means that this trauma, it's still active and the next day something else happens. And instead of replacing the former one, it's just building on to it. So this is what it’s all about and so it was saying like, for most people who suffer from PTSD, depression, anxiety, bad sleep is part of their illness. And so far everyone is tried to improve sleep by trying to improve the anxiety or the depression. But that has been very difficult to do. And so this article was all about what if we try to help the person learn how to sleep? Will that help get rid of the anxiety and depression, which I got very excited about. Helping people sleep is much easier than solving their mental problems. So it's a promising way of improving illnesses that have stumped us for years. But I don't know how much hope is there for people to really believe that but anyway it's worth a shot at.
Richard Jacobs: Well that's great. You said you have a lot of before and after pictures. Like what did you notice about people's tongues? How did they look different after working out of the gym for seven weeks?
Janet Bennett: Well, like I was saying before when they stick their tongue out, it's not as wide and sees that's the goal. And so it looks different because it's not as wide and it hopefully doesn't have all those different crevices in it. Some tongues have a lot of crevices in it and because it's too wide and it gets better up on the roof of their mouth so that the tongue can get suction up there at nighttime.
Richard Jacobs: Is there anything else interesting you noticed about the tongues? Anything else that jumps out of you or a little strange?
Janet Bennett: Oh gosh. I don't know. I think I've kind of covered all I know about that. Just everybody's tongue is different. So here's the deal. I work with people all the time in my office. But if a person's out there and they want to try to sell on their own, they just go to the website Ijustwanttosleep.com and whenever you get this program, you can have access to it immediately and it's kind of like a book. You open it up and you see a table of contents and you'll see lesson one and then exercise one, two, three and you can click on whichever exercise you want. But I mean, hopefully, you do lesson one first and you can go there and you'll see the words describing it and you'll see a video showing you how to do that exercise. So it really did turn out the way I wanted it to. And I also, one more thing about children. The next, after I treated those 86 people, I decided to treat all children and 100% of the children's stopped snoring. And it was marvelous. One little girl said I'm not snoring anymore. And I said, well, how do you know that? She said because my cat sleeping with me again. It's a good program. It's so easy to measure your success because of things like that happen. One woman said, our rooster doesn't wake me up anymore. Just different ways that people have of measuring success. It's really fun to watch all that happen. I had one teenager his sheets would get real messy. Now your shoots get real messy because probably your legs are acting up, jumping around. And so as the program progresses this guy said that his sheets were way over in the corner across from the bed and each week those sheets got closer and closer and closer. Meaning they weren't being kicked off as strongly as they used to until they ended up staying on the bed. I mean, things like that, it just shows you, I never really had to ask people if they were doing their exercises, I could tell because of the things that were happening. On the website, you can see 50 different comments by adults on the, I just want to sleep book it gives you ideas of the kinds of things that they experience while doing the program. And I also wrote an, I just want to sleep for kids book and you'll see that online also. And I've got some children's testimonials that embedded in the children's book. It's the same exercises, but there's a really lovely colored story, a story for the parents to cover read to their kids and it explains to them what they're getting ready to do and why they're going to do it. It's really good. It helps them understand and appreciate doing it.
Richard Jacobs: That’s great.
Janet Bennett: So that's all I know right now.
Richard Jacobs: Well, very good. What's the best way for folks, again, you got a website Ijustwanttosleep.com, where they can pick up the program, they can do maybe sessions with you over Skype or something.
Janet Bennett: We can do that if you like. There's no problem with that. And also they'll have access to my cell number. That's how serious I am. So people call me, ask me questions if you get stuck on an exercise, I hope I can get you out of that.
Richard Jacobs: That's great. Well. Thank you for all the work you do and I'm glad you came on the podcast. I appreciate it.
Janet Bennett: Thank you so much.