Q: Can tightlacing help apnea (snoring), particularly in men ? ---Open forum query (2/13/01).

A: The observed relation between sleep apnea and lacing is interesting. My comments are somewhat speculative, as I have not researched this properly. The effect may be mechanical and possibly psychological as well. The constriction of the abdomen and lower chest inhibits the relaxed form of abdominal breathing that is common during sleep. Most men naturally breathe with their abdomen, in part because of their less-compliant ribcage. Adding resistance to abdominal movement will cause some level of compensatory thoracic breathing, which tends to involve more movement of the upper body, so the upper body will not relax as usual. This in turn may cause the normal minimal muscle tone at rest to increase when a corset is worn. The end result is possibly sufficient background movement and muscle tension to prevent sleep apnea (snoring). 

Psychologically, there are a number of effects which I've continued to study, but as yet without conclusion: Corseting does appear to generate a higher level of alertness. People who initially try to sleep in their corset will find it difficult to fall asleep because they feel more awake. Of course the total amount of required sleep is not reduced, resulting in fatigue the following day. This effect diminishes gradually over time if wearers practice semi-permanent lacing.
After several attempts they will eventually sleep in comfort. Nevertheless there is a change in state of mind.

I do however not recommend a regimen of tight-lacing as a cure for sleep apnea. Whatever is done should follow the published guidelines for corseting. (See my “Corseting the Human Body.”)  I would view this effect on sleep apnea as incidental.

Feedback from males who sleep in corsets on whether it diminishes their snoring would cast more light on this matter.


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