Can Sleep Apnea Be ‘Cured’ by Playing a Musical Instrument?

Can Sleep Apnea Be ‘Cured’ by Playing a Musical Instrument?

Summary: Snoring can affect your sleep and that of your family. There might not be a cure, but there are techniques that can be learned to make you healthier in your body and in your lungs so that everything works better inside and out. People who play wind instruments, like the didgeridoo, sleep better and snore less.

Do you and your family sleep soundly at night? Or do some members of the family have to put up with sarcastic comments about their snoring? “Gee, honey, it would sure be a lot quieter around here at night if you only learned how to play a didgeridoo!” Actually, learning to play a wind instrument, or focusing on breathing techniques during their waking hours, helps a lot of people who snore.

Snoring can be a game changer when it comes to a good night’s sleep. Annoying for those kept awake, yes, but an even bigger problem for those suffering. It can also be a sign of something more serious, like obstructive sleep apnea, and while there may be no particular cure for snoring, treatment focuses on overall health of the individual and on techniques to improve breathing.

One of the techniques is strengthening the breathing passages by learning and practicing the playing of wind instruments and one of the best choices of instrument to practice is the didgeridoo.

You may not have seen a ‘didge’ before, but you have probably heard one. And maybe you have laughed. The instrument produces noises that hardly sound like they could be made by a human musician! The trick is the circular breathing technique that the player uses to keep the even tone. Once mastered, circular breathing is very strengthening, and does miracles for the muscles and tissues in the lungs and the throat. It’s really not how skilled you are as a musician that matters when it comes to snoring, but how much you practice. Didgeridoo practice for 20 or 30 minutes every day for 4-5 days a week can give you a much better night’s sleep.

How does it work
To keep that long, even tone that the instrument makes, the player needs to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth at the same time. In normal breathing, we breathe through the nose and inhale out again through the nose, without really thinking about it. But to practice circular breathing, take a deep breath through your mouth, fill your cheeks with air, and then breathe in and out through your nose, holding the air in your mouth as a reserve. This technique allows the player to play for a surprisingly long time and the added benefit is that muscles in their throat become quite strong.

How can this help a sleep apnea sufferer?
Sleep apnea sufferers can be helped by practicing this technique because they have weak muscles and tissue around the tongue and lungs, and these muscles collapse and close while they sleep. The sleeper has to constantly wake or shift position to begin breathing again. The problems caused by sleep apnea are numerous and can be quite serious.

Why a didgeridoo?
Well, you could just try to strengthen those muscles on your own with yoga, weight loss or more exercise, but playing an instrument for a purpose is more motivating and gives the practice a clear focus. A didgeridoo is said to be one of the best ways of practicing the technique. There are other ways, and there are medical solutions that help with sleep apnea breathing problems. Consult a professional at CPAP Solutions if snoring is affecting your quality of life.

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