Sleep Apnea Keeping You Up? Try Making Funny Faces

Sleep apnea is a treatable disorder. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, one in 15 adults has some form of sleep apnea. Apnea is the interruption of breathing while sleeping caused by either an obstruction or a lack of brain impulse, and can be experienced by adults, teens, children and infants. Sleep apnea not only poses a health risk to the sufferer, it can be very concerning to loved ones. While the sufferer may be unaware, often partners sleep restlessly waiting for their next breath. A recent research study published in the journal “Sleep” found that poor sleep quality and developing brain damage caused by OSA could be responsible for a whole host of cognitive issues – from poor memory to heart agitation.

Turns out making faces and sticking out your tongue might not just be for sassy kids – it might be the keys to a good night’s sleep. According to new research, if you suffer from sleep apnea, treatment might just be a few tongue and jaw exercises away. People with moderate sleep apnea experience difficulty breathing when sleeping because their upper airways get blocked while resting. Currently, the most popular treatment for sleep apnea is a machine called the CPAP that pushes air continuously into their mouth and nose to keep the airway passages open. However, the machine treats the symptoms, and not the cause, and requires using the machine every night. But recent research has found that throat exercises during the day, for some people, may help treat the cause of the problem. The ability to retrain the way a person with sleep apnea actually physically breathes could be the ticket to a snore-free night’s sleep.

Along the same lines, taking up wind instruments may help too. That’s right. 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. 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.

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.

For more information on sleep apnea and information on which snoring devices work best click here.


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