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Brandon Peters, M.D.

Playing Certain Woodwind Instruments May Protect Against Sleep Apnea

By June 14, 2009

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In a recent study of 901 professional musicians, it was observed that the woodwind players were less likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea.

The instrumentalists who played high-resistance woodwinds such as oboes, English horns, and bassoons were protected if they practiced an average of three hours a day. The mechanism for this is not fully understood.

Prior studies, including individuals who are trained to play didgeridoos, have found that playing wind instruments can be therapeutic. This may relate to training and strengthening the muscles of the airway, as airway collapse can be one of the primary causes of obstruction in sleep apnea.

Reference:
Ward CP, et al. "Risk of obstructive sleep apnea in wind musicians." SLEEP. 2009, 32: A233.

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