The following is a visitor-submitted question or story. For more, you can submit your own sleep story here, or browse the collection of experiences and questions other visitors have shared here.

A Simple And Pleasant Way Of Getting Rid Of Sleep Apnea

by Iracema
(Australia)

I have had sleep apnoea for quite a number of years. I did not know why I felt so sick on getting up or why sometimes I would wake up with a snort. Finally I was diagnosed and recommended to use CPAP. It was years later when I finally started using this infernal machine, because the problem was badly affecting my blood pressure. I hated the machine even more in summer, when in very hot nights I had to inhale air with steam.


My husband also hated the noise of the CPAP which kept him awake. Then he found in the internet that playing the didgeridoo could tone the muscles in the throat. I wasted no time finding someone who made the instruments. He helped me to choose one which was easy to play. I had four lessons with him over a few months. I practiced every day, more than once for the first few months. It did not take long for me to learn circular breathing, but it took over one year before I could sustain the circular breathing for a long period without breaking.

In the first few months my lips hurt, so I had to limit the time of playing to perhaps 10 minutes. Even though I could only do a few breaths before breaking, I found that before 6 months my nocturnal breathing had improved.

I had a sleep test a few months after I started playing (I have no record of my first test). I am certain that I had already improved at this point, since I was feeling a lot better in the mornings. The result was 22 stops per hour. It is likely that I was stopping more than 30 times per hour before starting to play.

More than one year after I started playing I went back for another test. It showed only 7 stops per hour and I was told I no longer required a machine (I had long given it up anyway). The recommended time needed for this exercise to have an effect is 20 minutes per day. Nowadays I do not necessarily play everyday, even though I should and it is still working very well. I still snore at times, but this seems to be worse if I have not played for a few days.

I find playing a pleasant experience. I particularly like the vibration that one feels in the head, particularly the throat. I have always been sure that it is that particular vibration which has such an effect on the muscles of the throat. Other wind instruments will not have that effect.

If you live in Australia it is not difficult to find an instrument to buy and someone to teach you. If you live overseas, it is possible to buy plastic didgees that extend.

Hope this information will be of assistance.


Kevin: Wow Iracema! What a story, and what a creative solution! Thanks so much for sharing it.

It sounds like it takes dedication for playing the didgeridoo to have the effect you achieved, but solving your sleep apnea problems AND learning a cool new skill sounds like a reward that's plenty worth it.

As I was reading your story I tried my hand at circular breathing (for those that don't know: breathing in through your nose while simultaneously blowing out through your mouth to keep the steady tone of the instrument going), and couldn't quite get it. Looks like I need some more practice. You've inspired me!

Warmly,
Kevin

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Sleep Apnea Stories and Questions.




Enjoy this page? Please help us pay it forward to others who would find it valuable by Liking, Sharing, Tweeting, Stumbling, and/or Voting below.

About This Site

Welcome! This site is continuously being created by students of Dr. William C. Dement's Sleep And Dreams course at Stanford University.

We made this site as a call to action for people all over the world to live healthier, happier, safer, and more productive lives by learning about their own sleep. We have faith that reading the information provided on this site will motivate you to be smart about your sleep deprivation and strategic about your alertness in order to live life to your fullest, most energetic potential.

In fact, we challenge you to do so! What do you say, are you up for the challenge?


A Note On Visitor-Submitted Questions:

Publishing sleep stories and questions from our visitors is meant to create a forum for open and proactive dialogue about an extremely important portion of our lives (one that occupies 1/3 of it and affects the other 2/3) that isn't talked about enough. It is not meant to substitute a trip to the doctor or the advice of a specialist. It's good to talk; it is not good to avoid consulting someone who's profession it is to help you with this kind of stuff.

If you are in any way concerned about your sleep health, don't wait for an answer on here, and don't necessarily rely on them. See a sleep specialist in your area as soon as possible.

More Questions:

Ask | Answer

The Stanford Sleep Book

Stanford Sleep Book Picture

Dr. Dement's pioneering textbook has been the core text for Sleep and Dreams since 1980, but it has just recently been made available to the wider public for the first time.

In it you'll find a more detailed account of the most important things you need to know about sleep, alertness, dreams, and sleep disorders. Studies, statistics, plus plenty of Dr. Dement's classic anecdotes painting the history of sleep medicine.

Preface | Intro | Contents | Get A Copy

More Sleep Resources

The Zeo

A revolution in personal sleep tracking, the Zeo is a wireless headband that transmits your brainwaves in realtime to a dock (pictured here) or your smartphone. The result? You can wake up and see exactly what stages of sleep you were in during the night! Unprecedented personalized sleep knowledge.

Sleep Paralysis: A Dreamer's Guide

Sleep Paralysis Treatment Book

Ever woken up paralyzed? A surprising number of us have, believe it or not. But few know the actual causes of this phenomenon, and fewer still how to exert control over it. Dream researcher and sleep paralysis expert Ryan Hurd shares breakthrough insights into how to do just that.

Important Disclaimer

Please Note:

The information found on this page and throughout this site is intended for general information purposes only. While it may prove useful and empowering, it is NOT intended as a substitute for the expertise and judgments of healthcare practitioners.

For more info, see our
Terms of Use.