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Surprising Science

How Playing the Flute Could Protect Your Sleep

A new study suggests people who play wind instruments possess an advantage over the rest of the population in avoiding obstructive sleep apnea. 

Here’s something new to add to the massive pile of reasons why it’s a good idea to learn a musical instrument. According to Science Daily, a small study by the European Respiratory Society suggests that people who play wind instruments have a reduced risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea.

On the surface, this makes sense. Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by the sufferer’s inability to maintain steady breathing at rest. Wind instruments have long been known to curb the effects of asthma in teenagers. The puzzle pieces seem to all fit into place.

Yet it’s important to note this preliminary study represents only the beginning of a larger series of research. The authors of the study drew the conclusion that stronger muscles in the upper airways are the key to the reduced risk. Wind instrumentalists tend to exhibit these stronger muscles — thus the preliminary research. Further tests will seek to confirm this theory, although the researchers seem pretty confident that wind instruments could be extremely helpful to those at risk for developing sleep apnea.

If the researchers are right in their assertions, you can expect more folks out there to be encouraged to take up the flute or oboe. Doing so may very well be their key to better sleep.

Read more at Science Daily.

Why not learn to play some Bach while you’re actively avoiding sleep apnea? Below, conductor John Eliot Gardiner dishes on the good German composer:

Photo credit: E. Spek / Shutterstock


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