Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by interruptions in breathing during sleep. A new study by European Lung Foundation has revealed that playing a wind instrument can help you lower the risk of sleep apnea. The researchers believe this is due to the increased muscle tone in the upper airways, which wind instrument players are more likely to have. These findings suggest that playing a wind instrument could be considered beneficial to those individuals who are at high risk of developing sleep apnea.
Researchers conducted lung function testing in 64 Indian people who played a wind instrument and compared results to a control group of 65 people who did not play any wind instruments. All study participants also completed the Berlin questionnaire, an established method used to assess the risk of sleep apnea. The researchers found that the group who played the wind instruments had a lower risk of developing sleep apnea. However, no difference was noted between the two groups in the lung function tests. The relative risk of developing sleep apnea based on the questionnaire was 0.18 in the wind instrument players, with a relative risk of less than one indicating a lower risk compared to the control group.
Silas Daniel Raj, one of the authors of the study, said, "The findings of our small study present an interesting theory on preventative measures or treatment in sleep apnea. If the findings are confirmed in larger groups, wind instrument playing could become a cheap and non-invasive method of preventing sleep apnea in those at risk of developing the condition."
The study was presented at the Sleep and Breathing Conference 2015.