- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Snoring Problems? Learn to Play the Didgeridoo, and Try Other Noninvasive Options
The Didgeridoo of Australia
Help for Snoring
Snoring problems? Learn to play the didgeridoo, and try other noninvasive options.
Snoring is caused by a narrowing of the airway and may be due to abnormalities of the soft tissues in the throat, a poor sleep posture, nasal and sinus problems, and retrognathia - also known as recessed jaw. Lifestyle choices play a major role in snoring, such as being overweight and out of shape, smoking, alcohol, and medications. The way you are built may be a cause as well.
What does that mean, the way you are built?
Men have narrower air passages than women, and are more likely to snore.
What is this about the didgeridoo?
The didgeridoo (see photos) is also known today as the didgeridu or didge. It is a wind instrument created by the first people of Australia about 1500 years ago but possibly 40,000 years ago. The wooden instrument is long and slightly conical. The creators have different name for the didgeridoo - a European term. Yirdaki is one of the better known names. Other names include Kanbi and Ihambibilg. Only one note can be played, however, vocal sounds and overtones from each player gives it many different sounds. A "circular breathing" technique allows the musician to play the instrument for long periods of time without a break.
The didgeridoo may help reduce snoring. Studies have shown that playing the didgeridoo can strengthen the throat and the soft palate.
Swiss researchers have found that when sleep apnea sufferers blew through this instrument every day for 4 months, they not only snored less, but had 23% less daytime sleepiness than those who did not play the instrument.
Why is that?
The action of repeatedly blowing into the didgeridoo is believed to tone your throat muslces and keep them from sagging when you sleep.
What are the other noninvasive options?
Brazilian researchers have shown that vocal exercises can be helpful. A daily 30 minutes of vocal calisthenics consisting of reciting vowels quickly - nonstop - can reduce the severity of sleep apnea by 39 percent.
Other Non-Invasive Remedies - do not require medical treatment and may be helpful. This includes -
1 - keeping the bedroom air moist with a humidifier which helps keep dry air from irritating membranes in the throat or nose
2 - elevating your head or using a specially designed pillow
3 - and avoiding certain substances before bedtime - such as a large meal, dairy or soy products, sleeping pills, relaxants, caffeine and antihistamines.
4 - staying off your back. Sometimes sleeping on your side can make all the difference. A common trick to prevent rolling on to your back is to fill a sock with tennis balls and attach it to the back of a form-fitting tee-shirt.
Prevention should always be considered first. However, snoring can cause serious health problems and should be taken seriously. Different types of treatments are available depending on the severity of the problem.
What are the other options?
1 - The CPAP Machines - or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure - a device designed to keep your airways open during sleep. This type of therapy is for people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the result of blocked airflow during sleep. The CPAP is the most effective nonsurgical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Doctors use this type of therapy to treat people who have moderate to severe sleep apnea.
2 - Dental Appliances - Lower jaw-positioners, dental appliances and other oral devices are available. These devices are like an athlete's mouth guard. They work by bringing the tongue, or lower jaw forward during sleep which keeps the airway open. The recessed jaw condition is also known as retrognathia. You need to be fitted for this device.
What about surgery?
Surgery is suggested as the last resort.
3 - The LAUP - The LAUP, or Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty is a relatively new procedure that uses lasers or radio-frequency signals. The uvula is vaporized as well a portion of the palate during several procedures. Before a doctor prescribes this procedure, you are expected to participate in a sleep study to determine your amount of snoring and level of sleep apnea.
4 - Surgical Procedures - are available to increase the size of your airway or surgically remove tissue. This includes an adenoidectomy, tonsillectomy, Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), and a Thermal Ablation Palatoplasty (TAP). Another surgical procedure is the Pillar procedure - small plastic implants are inserted into the soft palate causing scar tissue growth. This will make the soft palate stiffen and stop the vibration that causes snoring. Always get at least two opinions when considering surgery.
Prevention should be considered the first option.
For healthy eating suggestions, see links below:
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