In August this year, Dr Levi packed up his bags and flew across the world to Florida to attend a conference of some of the world’s experts in laser snoring technology. Spurred on by his passion for discovering new technologies and treatment methodologies, Dr Levi jumped at the opportunity to enhance his expertise in the use of the revolutionary NightLase laser snoring treatment system. While Dr Levi had been impressed by the great results was already getting with NightLase in successfully alleviating snoring and sleep apnoea for many of his patients, he was eager to discover if these results could be improved on even further.
The conference was led by the laser snoring legend, Harvey Schiffman, who developed the training protocol for the NightLase system and is also the chief trainer for Fontana Laser (the manufacturer of the NightLase laser). Once Dr Levi got over his excitement at being in the presence of a laser-dentistry celebrity, he got fixed into learning as much as he could about the NightLase system. Across the world, there are currently 4-8 different techniques being employed to deliver the NightLase laser snoring treatment, but these techniques vary in their efficacy. The technique with the best results is the one designed by Dr Harvey Schiffman in collaboration with Fontana and Dr Levi was personally instructed on this technique by Dr Shiffman himself.
Returning to Australia, armed with his newly enhanced skills and knowledge about the NightLase laser snoring treatment system, Dr Levi has begun implementing the new technique and has been incredibly impressed with the results. There are currently just 10 NightLase machines in Australia and Dr Levi is currently the only practitioner in the country who has been trained by Dr Schiffman, meaning he is the only one using the most effective technique and getting the best results from laser snoring treatments. While the popularity of laser-based treatments is currently exploding, this has unfortunately resulted in many non-specialised clinics offering laser snoring treatments in addition to a range of other cosmetic laser treatments, without having the necessary knowledge and expertise in sleep medicine. This has resulted in many snoring and sleep apnoea sufferers paying to receive a treatment which is ineffective and not appropriate for their unique circumstances.
Dr Levi’s 20 years of experience in sleep medicine means that he uses a rigorous medical method, and he never uses a “one size fits all” approach. He only uses the NightLase laser on patients who are good candidates for the treatment and who are likely to experience great results. If he thinks a patient would be better served by using a MAS, CPAP or another snoring treatment, he will recommend that course of treatment instead of the laser.
That being said, Dr Levi is very excited about the opportunities that laser snoring treatment opens up for his eligible patients. This treatment is delivering great results and it works by simply stimulating the body’s natural collagen, meaning it does not cut, remove tissue, leave a scar or hurt the patient at all, and doesn’t require any anesthetic or down time. To book a consultation and find out if you are a good candidate for laser snoring treatment, call Dr Levi’s Sleep Clinic on (02) 9283 1900.
Like lots of men, my snoring never really bothered me, and if it wasn’t for my wife I might never have realised that I had a problem. Unfortunately, my snoring was so loud and disruptive that my wife and I were forced to sleep in separate rooms because I was keeping her awake throughout the night. This forced separation really took a toll on our relationship but for a long time we just accepted that this was the way things would have to be. I knew a few other people who had snored and they had mentioned that the treatments they had tried hadn’t worked at all so I didn’t bother trying any of them myself.
When my wife became pregnant, we both decided that something had to change. We didn’t want to be sleeping apart or suffering from disturbed sleep anymore; we knew there would be plenty of restless nights once the baby came. So I decided to do some serious research and find out if there was a snoring treatment out there that might actually work for me. When I came across Dr Levi’s website, I found that he gave the most information about the available treatment options and he sounded like he was a real expert in Sleep Medicine who might actually be able to help me. I decided to take the plunge and book a consultation.
I was a little nervous going into the appointment as I was very wary of being let down, but after a few minutes speaking with Dr Levi I could tell that he knew exactly what he was doing and that I would be completely safe in his hands. I was impressed by the way he really took the time to fully understand my problem and I got the impression that he was truly passionate about helping people overcome their snoring issues.
He gave me an at-home sleep test to take home and use for a night in order to capture data about my breathing (or lack thereof) during my sleep cycle. The test made it a little difficult to sleep but it wasn’t too bad considering the important data I knew it was collecting. Once Dr Levi had analysed my sleep data, he suggested a MAS (Mandibular Advancement Splint), which is more or less a customised mouth guard which adjusts your jaw to open up your airways while you sleep. I was fitted for the mouthguard and waited excitedly for my very own personalised anti-snoring device to arrive so I could see if this would actually improve my snoring.
I was immediately amazed by the difference the mouthguard made; I honestly did not realise that the kind of results I experienced were possible. I had no idea how much of an impact the snoring was having on my sleep quality until I started using the mouthguard. Suddenly I was feeling much more rested and refreshed after just 6 hours of sleep than I would usually feel after 8 or 9 hours without the mouthguard. I have to wake up at 5am for work, so being able to get higher quality sleep made it infinitely easier to wake up so early without feeling like I was struggling through the first few hours of the day half asleep. Waking up feeling well rested and rejuvenated is something I really hadn’t experienced before, but now it has become the norm.
The best thing about my new mouthguard was that it finally allowed my wife and I to sleep in the same bed like a normal couple. In fact, the first night that I slept with the MAS, I was so silent that my wife actually had to check that I was in the same bed about four times. She couldn’t believe how quietly I was breathing. She is so incredibly happy that I have made this positive change for our family and that we are able to move forward into the next exciting stage of our lives without having to deal with my snoring.
My experience with Dr Levi has changed my life and my only regret is not visiting him sooner. I have already told some of my friends who have the same problem that they should give it a go. It might seem like it’s a bit on the pricey side, but in the long run it is small price to pay for quality of life.
It’s that time of year again where we get to leave work while the sun is still shining and save on our electricity bills. The clocks will go forward by an hour on Sunday 2nd October at 2am so that we get an extra hour of light in the evening. While daylight savings can have plenty of benefits, it can also wreak havoc with our sleep cycle. Daylight savings can have an effect similar to mild jet lag, as our internal clock is powered by melatonin which is stimulated by sunlight, meaning we often don’t quite feel ourselves for the first week or so.
Here are a few tips to help you adjust your internal body clock and ease the transition into daylight savings time:
If you follow these tips, you should be able to fully enjoy those long spring afternoons and long summer nights without losing sleep. If you’re concerned about the quality of your sleep, Dr Levi’s Sleep Clinic can help. Dr Levi is a Sleep Disorder Specialist with over 20 years’ experience in helping patients finally get a good night’s sleep. Book your consultation ($60) today.
Anybody who has struggled with snoring has probably googled anti-snoring devices in the middle of the night after being kicked out of bed by their partner or waking themselves us from the intensity of their own snores. There’s nothing more tempting than a flashy ad offering to cure your snoring for an extremely reasonable price, but are cheap anti-snore devices worth buying? Dr Levi gives his expert opinion on 10 of the top anti-snore devices on the market for under $100.
How Do They Work?: Mouldable anti-snoring mouthpieces are immersed in boiling water in order to make the plastic malleable, before being placed in the mouth and ‘moulded’ to fit your mouth shape. The idea is that the device brings the lower jaw forward to open the airway, in the same way as Mandible Advancement Splints (MAS).
Dr Levi’s Verdict: Many Sleep Clinic patients have tried these devices and found that they have indeed worked to reduce their snoring for two or three nights, before the plastic loses its shape and a new device is needed. Although they work to reduce snoring during this period, many patients wearing them still are not getting a good night’s sleep because they are so uncomfortable to wear as they have not been truly designed to fit their mouth. Many people also find that the device falls out while they are asleep, adding to their discomfort. If you do try one of these devices and they help to reduce your snoring, that is probably an indication that you are a good candidate for a professionally fitted MAS as a long term solution.
How Do They Work?: The idea of anti-snore chin-straps is that they hold the lower jaw in place so that the mouth stays closed and the lower jaw stays forward, keeping the airway open.
Dr Levi’s Verdict: One of the major issues with using chin straps is that many people cannot breathe through their nose properly, meaning that if their mouth is forced closed, they are actually not taking in enough oxygen. While these devices are very common online, they are never discussed as viable treatment solutions at any industry conferences or seminars and sleep professionals do not generally prescribe them as there is no reliable evidence of their efficacy.
How Do They Work?: These small clip-on nose devices work to open up your nostrils to allow more air to enter through the nose.
Dr Levi’s Verdict: Like many of the other gadgets on the market, these probably aren’t going to do you any harm, but they will only improve your snoring by a maximum of about 5% and often cause significant discomfort. Allowing a little more air to enter through the nose does not address the actual cause of snoring, so while they may help, they will not solve your problem. If you are going to try a nasal dilator, the most effective is the MUTE anti-snoring device, which is more effective and comfortable than the super-cheap options online.
How Do They Work?: These sprays work by reducing nasal congestion to improve airflow.
Dr Levi’s Verdict: Much like the nasal dilators, these sprays will most likely have only a very modest effect on snoring. They might provide relief for very minor problems but will not address real snoring problems. If you are determined to try a spray, ENT’s can prescribe medical strength sprays which will have a noticeably larger effect than something bought online or off the shelf without a prescription.
How Do They Work?: These work by releasing a combination of chemicals designed to lubricate the throat in order to minimise vibration of the soft palate.
Dr Levi’s Verdict: These lozenges will most likely have no effect at all on your snoring. They may have a placebo effect, making you feel that you have slept better, but your partner will probably tell you that you snored just as much as always.
How Do They Work?: These work in the same way as lozenges but they are placed at the back of the throat.
Dr Levi’s Verdict: Their efficacy will be equally as low as that of the lozenges.
How Do They Work?: Nasal strips, like nasal dilators, work to open the nose by squeezing the bridge of the nose.
Dr Levi’s Verdict: They are pretty much the same as nasal dilators in that they will probably offer an extremely modest, most likely unnoticeable effect on snoring.
How Do They Work?: These devices are attached to the tip of the tongue in order to pull your tongue forward during the night, preventing it from flopping backwards and blocking your airway.
Dr Levi’s Verdict: This is a treatment that does actually have some industry support although it is not commonly used by sleep specialists. There is a big issue with the device staying in place and it can easy fall or slip during the night. It is mainly used for people who have a full upper and lower denture and are not happy with using a CPAP machine.
How Do They Work?: Throat rinses work on the same principle as throat lozenges, containing chemicals that lubricate the tissue at the back of the throat.
Dr Levi’s Verdict: You will most likely not notice any improvement in your snoring.
How Do They Work?: Specially moulded pillows aim to position the head in such a way that holds the jaw and tongue in place, keeping the airways open.
Dr Levi’s Verdict: There is no research to suggest that a pillow can cure snoring, although there is discussion around using sleep position to improve snoring. While it is definitely a good idea to have a good quality, supportive, memory foam pillow, buying a dedicated ‘snore pillow’ is not worth the price.
If you are interested in reading a first-hand account of using these devices, a British journalist tried many of those listed in this article himself and documented his experiences here.
At The Sleep and Snore Centre, Dr Mark Levi sees many couples anticipating the arrival of a child. While they are filled with joy and excitement, they are also troubled by a lack of sleep due to sleep apnoea. Unfortunately, for many mothers-to-be, pregnancy is accompanied by obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) in the U.S., 78% of women report more disturbed sleep during pregnancy than at other times. About 15% surveyed by the NSF complained not just of disrupted sleep, but of obstructive sleep apnoea. Considering the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy and the prevalence of sleep disorders among pregnant women, it’s no wonder that expectant mothers get so tired.
Why Sleep Apnoea occurs during pregnancy
Sleep Apnoea is more likely during pregnancy due a combination of factors including hormonal changes and weight gain. High levels of oestrogen during pregnancy can cause the mucus membranes lining the airway to swell, constricting airflow.
People who are overweight or obese are at a significantly higher risk of developing sleep apnoea, therefore the weight gained during pregnancy can also increase the risk. The extra weight on the neck puts pressure on the airway increasing the likelihood of obstructed breathing during sleep. If you gain excessive weight during pregnancy (more than 15 kgs if you were a normal weight before pregnancy, or more than 5 kgs if you were overweight), you’re at an even higher risk. Expectant mothers with gestational diabetes are also at higher risk of having sleep apnoea.
Why Sleep Apnoea during pregnancy can be so dangerous
Since apnoea deprives your body of oxygen, it can be dangerous for both an expectant mother and her baby. In a recent study, researchers found that:
Get Help for Pregnancy-Related Sleep Apnoea
Mothers- and fathers-to-be need all the rest they can get before sleepless nights begin in earnest with the arrival of a new baby. Tackling sleep apnoea as soon as possible is key to improving the health and wellbeing of the whole family. Dr Levi can help you get your sleep health back on track. Call Dr Levi’s Sleep Clinic today on (02) 9283 1900 or use our online contact form.