Music is good for the soul, and maybe even help you rest better. A trial study conducted in Germany proved playing the didgeridoo on a regular basis may help as an alternative treatment for people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea and snoring.
Furthermore, the study proved that playing the didgeridoo helped curb daytime sleepiness for the participants. The study concluded that playing the wind instrument may train the upper airways which in turn decreases their collapsibility factor. This could be a huge breakthrough for the 12 million Americans who suffer from sleep apnea, a serious disorder where people stop breathing many times in their sleep and for a minute or longer.
For those with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common form, many have found relief from continuous positive airway pressure therapy. Often times, this involves wearing a mask attached to a machine which will blow air at a high pressure to keep throat passages open. However, wearing a CPAP machine mask to sleep can be very obtrusive and uncomfortable, and typically this method only works if the mask is worn consistently every night.
Playing the didgeridoo may be an effective alternative, as the researchers explain, because learning to play trains “the muscles of the upper airways, which control airway dilation and wall stiffening.” The study was based on a controlled group of 25 moderately affected patients with OSA and found that these participants had less daytime sleepiness after playing the wind instrument developed by indigenous Australians. The participants practiced on average a half hour a day for six days a week over a period of four months. The group consisted mostly of men around 50 years old. They learned lip technique, circular breathing, and finally the complicated interaction between the lips, the vocal tract and circular breathing.
Larger trials are required to confirm these preliminary results, yet these findings offer hope to those with moderately obstructive sleep apnea. In the meantime, those who think that playing the didgeridoo will help with their sleep apnea should first consult with a doctor to determine if this alternative method will work for them. The study suggests that playing the didgeridoo works best for obstructive sleep apnea patients clinically diagnosed as moderately affected.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, then nighttime can be the most dreaded part of the day. Daytime can also be challenging as many also suffer from daytime sleepiness. Maybe it’s time to take up a new hobby, the didgeridoo.