Can singing help sleep apnea?

Considering practicality and investment of time (rehearsal), didgeridoo and singing are the most promising interventions to reduce obstructive sleep apnea and snoring, respectively. Sometimes simple strategies, such as not sleeping on your back or avoiding alcohol, can prevent snoring and its symptoms. Unfortunately, for others, it's not that simple and more invasive treatments are required. Some people have surgery or laser treatment to remove excess tissue from the pharynx or to remove tonsils and adenoids.

Some have injections to harden the soft palate and vibrate less. Others use dental devices (mandibular advancement splints) to widen the airways by pushing the jaw forward during sleep. Unfortunately, upper airway surgery can be very painful and it is not easy to predict who will respond favorably to snoring therapies. How could singing help? When we inhale, the muscles around the throat become active and harden the upper airways.

This allows us to carry air into the lungs without the upper airways collapsing. When we sleep, the muscles around the nose and throat relax, which helps to make the airways narrower and more flexible. In snorers and people with OSA, muscle tone of the upper respiratory tract during sleep is inadequate, singing requires precise control of breathing, and challenges the respiratory system. When we sing, air passes through the larynx (larynx) and causes the vocal cords to vibrate.

To produce changes in pitch and volume during singing, precise pressure regulation below the vocal cords is required. This is coordinated by precise control and coordination of the laryngeal, diaphragm, abdominal and accessory respiratory muscles. Repeated use of these muscles to continuously adjust pressure below the larynx to optimize tone and volume can increase muscle tone at rest. Therefore, it is conceivable that the training of the muscles of the throat may reduce the collapse capacity of the upper airway and, therefore, snoring and sleep apnea.

In fact, other methods of muscle training, such as specific tongue exercises or didgeridoo play, reduce the severity of sleep apnea, drowsiness symptoms, and the frequency of snoring. Interestingly, in people with quadriplegia, the activity of the neck muscles (sternocleidomastoid) improves after singing training. This highlights the potential benefits of singing. However, snoring was not evaluated in this population.

One study found that after three months of daily singing exercises, people with mild to moderate sleep apnea saw improvement in their symptoms. You can start your regime by singing vowel sounds in a monotonous tone. Make sure you sing loud and loud so you can get the most out of your vocal exercises. Playing a wind instrument and singing can have a small but positive effect on sleep disorders.

However, the results of this review are based on few studies and the synthesis of evidence is rated as low certainty. Singing activates multiple muscles of the mouth and throat and involves pronouncing various sounds, including vowels. Preliminary research has found that training focused on singing can reduce snoring. When you sing, try to focus on forcefully repeating and pronouncing individual sounds instead of just singing normal lyrics.

Brock Bisking
Brock Bisking

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