The didgeridoo teacher Alex Suarez from Switzerland had difficulties with his breathing whilst being asleep. After playing the didgeridoo for a few months he snored less during night and felt more awake during the day.
Examinations at the sleeping laboratory of Zürcher Höhenklinik Wald confirmed that his previously diagnosed obstrucitve sleep apnoe syndrome had been treated successfully by himself that way. A research team around Milo Puhan from Horten Zentrum of the University of Zurich and Otto Brändli from Zürcher Höhenklinik Wald conducted therefore a randomised controlled study. They investigated whether playing the didgeridoo influenced after-effects of obstructive sleep apnoe such as increased fatigue during the day or disturbance of bed partners.
The scientists allocated 25 patients with a light sleep apnoe syndrome to one of two groups by chance: one group had to play the didgeridoo and the control group did not. After four months, the didgeridoo players exhibited significantly less fatigue during the day compared to the control group. Other parameters of quality of sleep exhibited objectively a reduction in the severity of the sleep apnoe syndrome. On top of that, the partners of the participants were less disturbed in their sleep.
"Patients with a sleep apnoe syndrome have weakened muscles that are normally supposed to keep open the upper respiratory tracts. When playing the didgeridoo exactly these muscles are being trained thanks to the special breathing technique," says Brändli.
This study could open up new perspectives in the treatment of snoring. It shows that with intense training the upper respiratory tracts can be kept open better.
MEDICA.de; Source: Universität Zürich