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Brandon Peters, M.D.

Can't Stand Your CPAP? Learn to Play the Didgeridoo

By February 4, 2009

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Scott Barbour / Getty Images

Scott Barbour / Getty Images

If you are one of the many people who have failed to tolerate your CPAP treatment, perhaps you should learn to play a didgeridoo instead.

The ancient aboriginal wind instrument known as a didgeridoo is played with a technique called circular breathing. This provides a continuous sound, and is thought to strengthen the muscles of the upper airway. A 2006 study in the British Medical Journal found that playing the instrument improved sleep apnea.

If you have tried this, please share your experiences in the discussion forum. It may not be for everyone, but if you have given up on CPAP it may be music to your ears.

February 9, 2009 at 1:02 pm
(1) Omar Montiel says:

I am trying to find a replacement to my cpap machine. I bought a dental device but it is a generic one. Only 30.00 it helps but it hurts and it is uncorfontable. What are the results of the ones done custom fitted by dentits. Where I live it costs about 2300.00

February 14, 2009 at 1:53 pm
(2) Kay Stafford says:


I read your article about the Didgeridoo and sleep apnea in your latest email. I don’t think you realize, however, that the didgeridoo is a sacred musical instrument used only by men. Women are forbidden to use it. Therefore, in advocating the use of this instrument to help moderate sleep apnea sufferers (of which I am one) you are not really respecting the purpose or sacredness of this instrument. I suggest you make your readers aware of the proper use of the Didgeridoo in your article next time, so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not to use it.

Yours sincerely,

Kay Stafford
Brisbane, Australia

February 16, 2009 at 11:29 am
(3) Todd DiSalvo says:

It is a ridiculous myth that women should not play the didgeridoo. The myth has been perpetuated by white Australians living far from “didgeridoo country” in Arnhem Land. It is true that only men play in a ceremonial setting, but beyond that (and especially among non-aboriginal women) it is completely acceptable for a woman to play the instrument.

Katherine, NT, Australia

February 17, 2009 at 3:44 pm
(4) Preston says:

I have found that when I play the didgeridoo for an extended amount of time, I do tend to sleep better. I do not have trouble sleeping in the first place, but I have noticed that I will not wake as easily in the night if I have played the didge during the day. It would be interesting to see an experiment done to provide factual evidence of this phenomenon.



February 24, 2009 at 2:53 am
(5) Kay says:


I was told by several aboriginal elders that women shouldn’t use the didgeridoo.

Best wishes

May 25, 2009 at 4:56 pm
(6) jeff says:

Here is a fantastic link addressing Didgeridoo/Yidaki and cultural issues, sourced directly from Aboriginal voices-

This page is addressing women and the didj-

Better to let them speak for themselves, methinks!

Hope you all find it to be helpful.


July 2, 2009 at 6:59 am
(7) Kyle says:


There are differing views on the use of the didgeridoo by women, however those Aboriginal people who have an unbroken tradition of didgeridoo use (in Australia’s Top End generally and Arnhem Land in particular), do not have issues with non-Aboriginal women playing the instrument. For further info please refer to the following link which is ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ so to speak:


Hope this clarifies the issue.

March 22, 2013 at 5:17 pm
(8) Lisa B says:

I nctoied an improvement within days. I had this pillow for 14 years. It bothers me though. It can get noisy if the mask is not in place. He keeps sleeping but the sudden rush of air awakens me and not gently.

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