That’s right, the ancient aborigine didgeridoo may be just what the doctor ordered for patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Sounds unbelievable? We thought so too, until we verified that the BMJ actually published the results from a randomly controlled clinical trial of playing the instrument.
Regularly playing a didgeridoo reduces daytime sleepiness and snoring in people with moderate obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome. In a randomised controlled trial, Puhan and colleagues (p 266) allocated 25 adults with self reported snoring and an apnoea-hypoponea index of 15-30 (episodes per hour) either to didgeridoo lessons and regular practice at home or to a waiting list. After four months the intervention group had less daytime sleepiness and significant improvement in the index score. The collapsibility of the upper airways must have decreased through the “training,” say the authors.