People suffering with sleep disorders could soon be treated using a new technique.
Scientists at the Sleep Center at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center found that hypoglossal nerve stimulation (HGNS) was an effective way to increase the airflow in patients with severe sleep apnoea symptoms.
The current treatment involves continuous positive airway pressure, but has limited benefits for some individuals.
Dr Alan Schwartz, who worked on the study, said: "The increases in airflow we observed were of sufficient magnitude to eliminate inspiratory airflow limitation in the majority of patients."
He explained that HGNS directly affected the lingual muscles and cleared the airway without patients waking up.
Dr Schwartz stated that the new technique must be tested in all stages of sleep and a variety of body positions.
The condition is caused a lack of muscle tone in the upper airway which prevents oxygen passing into the lungs, according to the British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association.