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Sleep Med. 2009 Jun;10(6):657-60. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2008.05.013. Epub 2008 Nov 17.

Risk of sleep apnea in orchestra members.

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Stroke Program, University of Michigan Medical School, The Cardiovascular Center - Stroke Program, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive - SPC#5855, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5855, USA.



Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common condition with substantial health consequences. A recent randomized trial found that playing the didgeridoo improved both subjective and objective sleep measures. We undertook a cross-sectional survey of professional orchestra players to test the hypothesis that playing a wind instrument would be associated with a lower risk of OSA.


An anonymous internet-based survey of professional orchestra members assessed risk of sleep apnea using the Berlin questionnaire. Multivariable logistic regression was used to test the association between playing a wind instrument and having a high risk score on the Berlin questionnaire, both unadjusted and adjusted for age, body mass index, and gender.


A total of 1,111 orchestra members responded, including 369 (33%) wind instrument players. Wind players were more often male and had a higher body mass index than non-wind players. Of all musicians, 348 (31%) had a high risk of sleep apnea. Wind players were more likely than non-wind players to be at high risk in unadjusted analysis (Odds ratio=1.47, 95% CI 1.13, 1.91), though this association was not significant in adjusted analysis (Odds ratio=1.12 (0.82, 1.54)).


Playing a wind instrument was not associated with a lower risk of OSA.

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