Sleep is an essential, critical requirement for human beings. Many physical and cognitive things happen while we are sleeping. It is vital that humans get not only enough sleep but also deep REM sleep in order to function properly.
I've considered myself a good sleeper, given that I fall asleep easily and remain asleep generally until morning. However, I've been snoring in my sleep for the last 20 years. My partners complained about it, but I thought it was nothing more than a nuisance. Usually it would stop if I slept on my side. I am not overweight, in fact I am pretty fit. I am an active person. I have no health issues.
It turns out that I haven't been sleeping well for a long time. The way to tell is if you can frequently remember your dreams. You dream during REM sleep. If you are suddenly awaken during REM sleep you won't remember your dreams. If you doze in and out of REM sleep, you'll remember your dreams. I rarely remember my dreams in the morning. Either I haven't been reaching REM sleep or my sleep apnoea has been rousing me out of REM sleep.
There are other signs that I haven't been sleeping well, such as nodding off in the afternoon, frequently being in a morning fog and sometimes being a bit irritable even after a "good" night's sleep.
It turns out that it is relatively easy to cure snoring and sleep apnea. Both snoring and sleep apnea are caused by various throat and nasal tissues obstructing the airway while you are relaxed during sleep. If you go to a doctor with this issue they will discuss various surgeries, dental devices, CPAP machines and sleeping positions. None of these address the real problem: flabby throat muscles.
The quick, simple and fun method to get a good night's sleep is to take up playing a didgeridoo for 20-30 minutes 5 nights a week. I kid you not. There are even research papers written on the topic.
It turns out that playing a didgeridoo takes lots of breath as well as strong throat, facial and lip muscles as well as abs. It also teaches deep breathing, circular breathing and breath control.
In my case playing the didgeridoo completely changed my breathing, both at night and during the day. I breath much deeper and freer at night now. I almost never snore. I wake up refreshed and I am not drowsy during the day. My focus is improved as is my mood.
I was amazed at how much better my breathing was once I started playing the didgeridoo. The first few times I played it my throat and neck muscles actually hurt. I couldn't play on back to back days. My breathing immediately improved.
I like playing at night before I go to bed. After 20 minutes I feel so much freer and open. Sometimes I even get light headed. I follow that up with some guided mediation with my woman and then we settle in for a good night's sleep. It is amazing how much this simple routine has changed my life.
AJ Block's YouTube channel (Didge Project) has a ton of information on the didgeridoo and sleep apnea.
- if you have sleep apnea. YMMV