Hyperventilation, Snoring & Sleep Apnoea


Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a sleep disorder where repeated upper airway obstruction during sleep leads to a decrease in blood oxygen saturation and disrupted sleep.
Snoring & sleep apnoea is a widespread health issue that is on the increase. Possible problems arising from OSA include:

  • An increased risk of road accidents or accidents at work because of sleepiness. Some authorities now suggest that up to a quarter of road accidents may be caused by the effects of OSA, especially with motorway driving.
  • Difficulty with concentration.
  • Features suggesting depression.
  • High blood pressure.
  • A slightly increased risk of angina, heart attacks & strokes.

Current treatment options include oral appliances, surgery, and/or the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
However, breathing retraining with the Buteyko Institute Method (BIM) is a safe, effective and convenient approach to Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) that could help eliminate the need for surgery or CPAP.
In obstructive sleep apnoea, the muscles of the soft palate relax during sleep, leading to oro-pharyngeal and uvular collapse, causing obstruction of the airway and a drop in oxygen saturation. There is no clear consensus in medical literature as to why OSA occurs,
although it is thought to be associated with ageing, obesity or airway anatomy. Both children and adults, however, can suffer from OSA, and many people who do are of normal weight. People with OSA find they are constantly tired, irritable, sleepy during the day, lack concentration and suffer from headaches.
Hyperventilation is considered to be the fundamental cause of OSA, according to Professor Buteyko’s theory. He argues the apnoeas or pauses in breathing which occur in OSA are the body’s defence mechanism against the excessive loss of carbon dioxide due to hyperventilation and consequent hypoxia. Breathing retraining with the Buteyko Institute Method offers a safe, effective, convenient, and more appealing option for people with OSA, which can eliminate the need for surgery, oral appliances, or CPAP.

Over 11,000 people with sleep apnoea had been taught the method by the Buteyko Institute practitioners who participated in the survey. Practitioners estimated that the majority of clients with sleep apnoea had been able to improve sleep and reduce symptoms following breathing retraining using the Buteyko Institute Method. The survey results have been sent to sleep researchers in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and are also available as a downloadable PDF HERE. It is hoped that making this data available will attract interest from sleep researchers to conduct independent trials of the Buteyko Institute Method of breathing retraining for sleep apnoea.

Michael Lingard BSc DO BBEC