Among the more intriguing potential treatments for snoring and sleep apnea is voice training, which Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) has reviewed for its potential to help snorers and those with mild sleep apnea.
Snore or Sing: Your Voice and Your Choice
The originator of this technique is Alise Ojay, a British choir director who used the solution to treat her husband’s snoring and who now offers self-help packets that direct you how to use voice training as treatment.
Snoring is the result of a narrowed airway. This occurs because when you lie down gravity pulls down on your airway. Your muscles relax at night, and their contribution to holding your airway open depends only on their latent muscle tone. Unfortunately, these muscles, as with many others in the body, may grow more lax with age. However, exercise can improve their muscle tone and make it more likely your airway will stay open.
Choir practice can help strengthen these muscles, helping your airway stay open at night.
In a preliminary study published in 2000, subjects who practiced singing for 20 minutes a day over three months saw a reduction in the length of time they snored at night. However, the study was only very small and didn’t have any statistical rigor, so we don’t know if these results are significant.
More recently, the NHS reviewed a more recent study, showing that singing exercise could reduce daytime sleepiness and the amount of snoring in snorers and people with mild sleep apnea. Snoring volume was not affected.
This study also had its limitations. About 40% of people who were doing the singing exercises dropped out.
Could You Benefit?
There are many potential anatomical and lifestyle causes for sleep apnea, not all of which will be affected by singing exercises. Ojay said the singing treatments work best for people who:
Didn’t start snoring until age 40
Don’t have nasal anomalies that contribute to snoring
Are not significantly overweight
Other people may see little or no benefit.
Another Way to Keep Airways Open
However, if you are looking for an even more convenient (although less melodic) sleep apnea treatment, consider oral appliance therapy. You don’t have to practice singing for 20 minutes a day, and by repositioning your jaw–which supports your airway–it can help most people breathe easier.
To learn more about this convenient sleep apnea treatment, please contact Strober Dental in San Diego today.