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 was 2004 when I started to feel extremely tired every day, to the point where I was actually falling asleep at work in the afternoon. My husband would wake me up every time my breathing stopped during the night. I found this extremely annoying as I felt that it added to my exhaustion, I now realise that he was preventing me from suffocating in my sleep. Despite these telltale symptoms, as well as a range of other health issues I had developed during that time, it still didn’t really occur to me that I was suffering from sleep apnoea. I felt that I didn’t fit the profile, after all I was not overweight or a man. Everybody knows that women don’t snore!
Finally, I went to see my doctor to get to the bottom of what was causing all these issues. I undertook a number of sleep studies in various locations including both private and public hospitals, as well as in the specialist’s private sleep clinic. Finally, I received the news that I had moderate sleep apnoea, waking on average 12 times per minute. My doctor advised a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine which works by continuously applying mild air pressure in order to keep the airways open. I was trialed on a veritable plethora of variations of the machine: full face masks, nasals masks and mouth-only masks. Eventually we settled on a full face CPAP machine, which gave me the best results in terms of decreasing my number of apnoea episodes.
While I was now able to breathe during the night and was finally getting enough sleep, I felt imprisoned by the bulky and noisy CPAP machine. Despite my discomfort with my new CPAP machine, my doctor didn’t present me with any alternatives and I had no idea that there were other options out there until I went to see a sleep technician at an outreach program offered by a business in a neighboring town. A local business specialising in sleep apnoea, where I had gone quite a few times had been appalling – their customer service was nonexistent and at times they were downright rude. They showed me a number of Mandible Advancement Splints (MAS) but made no recommendations about where I could go to actually get one. I felt I had no option other than to look further afield, and I started researching sleep specialists on the internet, which is where I eventually came across Dr Levi’s Sleep Clinic.
I sent an online enquiry to Dr Levi, not expecting to hear from anybody for weeks. To my complete surprise, Dr Levi himself called me back within a very short period of time and proceeded to have a long and in depth conversation with me about my sleep apnoea. During that conversation, for the first time ever, I felt that someone was actually listening to me and truly understood where I was coming from. I made an appointment to see Dr Levi in Sydney the next week and made my travel arrangements.
I was very impressed by my first consultation with Dr Levi, I felt valued as a person and I learned that there were in fact many viable alternatives to the CPAP. Dr Levi recommended the MAS for me, and I learned that this was the treatment he used for his own sleep apnoea at the time. This made me feel very comfortable in accepting this treatment option. An impression was taken of my jaw and teeth and then my device was fitted and I was given instructions to adjust the splint by turning the hinge twice every couple of days and to call Dr Levi with regular updates. I also kept a diary outlining my experience and reports from my husband about his impressions of how I was sleeping. I found that the MAS was equally effective as the CPAP I had been using for 8 years, but I experienced an amazing freedom, being able to sleep without the bulky machine. I rejoiced in not having to deal with the indentations and red marks the CPAP machine had left on my face which would take hours to disappear. I also found it easier to sleep without the noise from the CPAP machine. Since I had the MAS fitted, I have done an at-home sleep test using my device and equipment supplied by Dr Levi. The results were fantastic.
I am now completely satisfied with my sleep apnoea treatment and feel that I am looking after my health in the best way possible. If I could give any advice to others who are suffering from sleep apnoea or snoring it would be that there are alternatives to the CPAP machine and it is really worthwhile taking the time and effort to find the treatment that truly works for you, everybody is very different and it’s a matter of finding what works best in your particular case. It’s so important to have a clinician who truly cares for your wellbeing rather than accepting an option you aren’t completely happy with.