Blog | Friday, June 12, 2009

Cure for sleep apnea in the woodwind section?

There is good and bad news from a recent study of musicians and sleep apnea reported at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies this week: First the good news: playing a high-resistance woodwind instrument, like the bassoon, may protect against sleep apnea. The down side? You have to practice for three hours a day.

Researchers floated the idea of having people with the sleep disorder take up double-reed instruments as therapy but quickly acknowledged the impracticality of expecting non-musicians to spend three hours a day on the oboe or English horn. According to an article in MedPage Today, researchers also theorized that perhaps just developing an appropriate embouchure would work. I'm trying to imagine the prescription: contort facial muscles and position lips and tongue in a woodwind-playing position for 60 minutes, three times a day. Avoid food and drink during therapy.