Sleep Apnea Guide

I have sleep apnea and use this blog to provide unbiased info about sleep apnea to create sleep apnea awareness. If you have sleep apnea, it is important to seek treatment.

The Didgeridoo Sleep Apnea Treatment

I had heard of this alternative treatment before but was recently reminded when That's Fit mentioned a Men's Health article. The article by Men's Health is called "6 Crazy Cures" amongst which one is a potential cure for sleep apnea.

The treatment involves playing a didgeridoo.
Didgeridoo Class (Photo by Topato)
According to the Men's Health article:
"Researchers reporting in the British Medical Journal evaluated 25 people with sleep apnea--a breath-stealing condition caused by flabby throat muscles--and found that those who took 4 months of didgeridoo (DIH-jeh-ree-doo) lessons had about 3 1/2 times less daytime sleepiness than the folks who didn't blow their own horns. The newly minted musicians also snored significantly less." (Men's Health)
"Sounds" like a potentially fun treatment.

The full results of the study are available here on the British Medical Journal website with further commentary by Scientific Daily here.

The study concludes that didgeridoo playing on a regular basis is an effective alternative treatment for those with moderate obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome.

I wonder if it would help severe sleep apnea sufferers. If playing the didgeridoo regularly could move severe sleep apnea into mild sleep apnea, that would be a really good thing.

Then again, have you ever heard the sound a didgeridoo makes? There's an example of a street performer playing a didgeridoo in Barcelona, Spain here.

Car crash risk increased by sleep apnea says study

Sleep apnea increases the risk of being in a car crash.

Today, while driving my car I realized maybe, just maybe, I´ve been hibernating in life! (Day 51- 365 days) (Photo by Michelle Brea)

That's what an article in Science Daily says. The article talks about a new study by the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and University of British Columbia.

The Science Daily articles writes that the study "found that patients with sleep apnea are three to five times more likely to be in a serious car crash involving personal injury. Using data from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, researchers studied nearly 1,600 people including patients with and without sleep apnea." (Source: Science Daily)

The article goes on to discuss how sleep apnea patients are unaware of their sleepiness and how it impacts their driving.

This is one of many articles that omits a key factor: treatment. Are the sleep apnea patients in the study getting treatment?

Unfortunately, accessing the full research study costs money so taking an educated guess is the next best alternative. It seems common sense that patients who respond to treatment for sleep apnea would suffer less from the symptoms.

If a doctor prescribes using a CPAP, the resulting night time breathing should be much better than without treatment. Therefore, symptoms like daytime sleepiness would be minimized. That's just a guess.


University of British Columbia. "Sleep Apnea Doubles Car Crash Risk, Study Shows." ScienceDaily 20 February 2008. 24 February 2008

An abstract and the full study appear in the journal called Thorax Journal.

Video: Introduction to Sleep Apnea from iVillage

If you want a good introduction to sleep apnea, iVillage covered the topic on their TV show and you can watch the video right here. I think it is a great introduction and presents some of the realities and reasons why diagnosis and treatment should be sought for those who suffer the symptoms.

Video: New Sleep Apnea Public Service Announcement

Just released by the American Sleep Apnea Association, this video will be on TV as part of the upcoming National Sleep Apnea Awareness Week from March 3-8, 2008. Why wait? Watch it now on YouTube:

The ASAA's goal is to "to educate and raise awareness on sleep apnea, treatment, medical information, and resources". See their additional resources on

A Sleep Apnea Sleep Study Success

Wow. Here's a women whose doctor discovered she had irregular heartbeats. After being monitored in a hospital for several days and not having a solution found, she was sent to do a sleep study.

At the sleep study, she was recorded with 150 apnea episodes per hour. That is a lot of not breathing!

The diagnosis was sleep apnea. She was given a CPAP to use and says this of the results of using a CPAP:
"It is a life saving machine, in my case. The nights are quiet now, no snoring. I wake up, refreshed and ready to tackle the day. If I’m tired, its because I have stayed up way past my bedtime, which I tend to do, just because I have filled my days with so many activities and things to do these days — because I can."

Read her complete story here.

The Relationship Between Weight and Sleep Apnea

According to an article on which echoes what I've heard from many sources about sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) "can occur in men and women of any age, but it is most common in obese, middle-aged men."

Photo by Anderaz

The article also talks about the correlation between weight and OSA. It's not always related though. There are non-obese people with OSA, but many people have it due to obesity.

The article says that "your neck gets thicker as you gain weight. This increases the level of fat in the back of the throat, narrowing the airway. With more fat in the throat, your airway is more likely to be blocked." There you have it. That is why being overweight predisposes many people to having obstructive sleep apnea.

For those who have weight-related sleep apnea, losing weight is likely to reduce the severity.

Read the full article here on

Video: Sleep Apnea Symptons and Treatment

Dr. Schwimmer of The Snoring Center Medical Center talks about sleep apnea on the Good Morning Texas talk show. He talks about the symptoms of sleep apnea, the steps to take to get diagnosed and the treatment options.

Check out some of these other Snoring Center videos on YouTube. Some good information on a variety of aspects.

Sleep Apnea Sudden Cardiac Death Risks

This article talks about a New England Journal of Medicine study of 112 Minnesota residents diagnosed with sleep apnea. The article talks about the increased likelihood of dying of cardiac causes overnight for those who's obstructive sleep apnea levels are higher.

To learn more about sleep apnea and sudden cardiac death, see the full article on

For study for me emphasizes the importance of seeking treatment and making sure to use a CPAP or other treatment as recommended by your doctor.

Sleep Apnea and Codeine Kill Rapper

According to various news sources, sleep apnea and cough syrup proved to be a tragic and fatal mix for rapper Pimp C.

It is said Pimp C had both Codeine and Promethazine in his system. News agencies report that an excess amount of Codeine cough syrup limits respiratory abilities, and combined with sleep apnea, was enough to cause Pimp C's death.

It is unclear from the story sources if Pimp C was using a CPAP machine for treatment or to what level he suffered from sleep apnea. I wonder.

Read more on this story:,, CNN,

If you or someone you know has symptoms of sleep apnea (such as snoring and gasping while sleeping, or high daytime sleepiness) see a doctor.

Stopping Nasal Dryness from Sleep Apnea

When those nasal passages are all stuffed up, I used to worry about getting a good night's sleep. It took a lot of trial and error.

Photo by lunchtimemama

During my first year on a CPAP with a nasal mask, I'd have incredible problems with nasal passages getting dry. The dryness caused stuffiness and sneezing.

First I tried menthol-lyptus cough drops but it didn't stop the dryness. I didn't know what to do because the dryness was almost painful. So I saw my doctor.

The doctor recommended I use saline nasal drops. I used lots of it and that helped when done regularly, at least once a day. But I was still having occasional issues with dryness.

The doctor had me get a humidifier attachment for the CPAP. For me, the humidifier stopped 100% of the stuffiness. But changing the humidifier water daily and rinsing the water unit regularly was a chore.

A year or so later and I did another sleep study. They found I was opening my mouth too much with the nasal mask. So I switched to a full mask that covers both the nose and the mouth. Though it took a long time to get comfortable with it, the full face mask has also solved the nasal dryness problems. I stopped using the humidifier and saline altogether and it is rare that I have any dryness problems anymore.

That's my path. Any other experiences/recommendations?

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About this blog

This website aims to create awareness about Sleep Apnea. I'm not a doctor or an expert on Sleep Apnea. If you have questions, please see your doctor.

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