Snoring is one of those medical conditions often viewed by sufferers as an unavoidable annoyance they simply have to endure. Around 15% of the population snore most nights, yet many people erroneously believe that there is no treatment available that is actually able to stop snoring completely. Luckily for sufferers (and their bedmates) there are at least 5 snoring solutions that are highly effective in reducing the intensity and frequency of snoring, often to the extent that it is undetectable and no longer affects sleep quality at all. If you snore and you haven’t tried at least a few of these snoring solutions, you are most likely suffering unnecessarily. So read on to discover how your snoring could be treated.
1. Weight Loss
Although patients often hate to hear it, weight loss is one of the most powerfully effective treatments for snoring. Snoring is caused by the partial obstruction of the airway by excessive or loose tissue, which is always more likely to be present in people who are overweight due to excess fatty tissue and poor muscle tone. For many patients, simply losing weight will cause their snoring symptoms to disappear completely. This will have a twofold positive effect on your health; not only will you benefit from losing weight, your sleep quality and oxygen supply will increase from the reduction in snoring, giving you more energy, better moods and a better metabolism, ultimately helping you to keep your weight stable.
Positives: Free, highly effective and with multiple health benefits
Negatives: Can be difficult to achieve and may take a long period of time (other treatments can be used to manage snoring while weight loss is in progress)
2. Positional Therapy
Any spouse of a snorer will tell you that the snoring is always worse when their partner is sleeping on his or her back. This is no coincidence; when you sleep on your back the tissue at the back of your throat relaxes and blocks your airways. If you only snore when you are on your back, you probably only experience mild to medium snoring which can often be treated through positional therapy to prevent you from sleeping on your back. There are a number of devices available to help you sleep in healthier positions without disturbing your sleep or that of your partner. One example is the Night Shift which is worn on the neck and begins to vibrate when you sleep on your back, prompting you to move (much more gently than that sharp elbow to the ribs favoured by the spouses of snorers).
Positives: Cheap and easy to use
Negatives: Only effective for mild to moderate snorers who do not have sleep apnoea
3. Anti Snoring Mouth Guard
The anti snoring mouth guard is a device which works by manually bringing the jaw forward, lifting the soft palate and holding the tongue forward in order to prevent obstruction of the airways. These devices are worn in the mouth during sleep and are very comfortable and (unlike the commonly used CPAP machine) completely silent. Oral appliances are currently the leading treatment for sleep apnoea due to their high (93%) success rate and ease of use. While the internet is bursting at the seams with low quality, mass produced mouth guards, the highly effective Mandibular Advancement Splint mouth guard needs to be customised to suit the mouth of the wearer in order for it to actually work.
Positives: Highly effective, comfortable and silent
Negatives: Must be fitted by a professional and worn every night to prevent snoring
Laser snoring solutions are extremely new to the Australian market but have been used widely and successfully in Europe for a number of years. The treatment uses laser light to strengthen and tighten the tissue at the back of the throat that would otherwise relax and obstruct the airways. Laser snoring treatment is the closest thing to an actual ‘cure’ for snoring, as it removes the physical cause of snoring rather then just controlling it during sleep.
Positives: Pain free, surgery free and no need to wear any device during sleep
Negatives: Maintenance treatments may be required. Efficacy rate is slightly lower than the mouth guard (Dr Mark Levi and world renowned Dr Harvey Shiffman (Florida, USA) get an average improvement of 75% or greater using the NightLase laser treatment (with the Florida protocols)).
5. CPAP Machine
The CPAP machine, or sleep apnoea machine, is the treatment that springs to most people’s minds when they picture snoring solutions. What many people don’t know is just how effective these machines can be in helping people to stop snoring and improving the overall health of mild to severe snorers. The CPAP machine uses mild air pressure (delivered through a mask worn over the face) to keep the airways open. It is typically used to treat people whose snoring is caused by sleep apnoea. While this machine is incredibly effective when used properly, it is not the right choice for everybody, as many people find the noise and discomfort of the machine off-putting and actually prefer the snoring (despite the negative health repercussions).
Positives: The most effective snoring treatment available when used consistently
Negatives: Can disturb sleep through discomfort and noise
Dr Levi is a snoring and sleep apnoea specialist with over 20 years’ experience. Dr Levi’s Sleep Clinic uses the latest technological advancements to offers customised snoring solutions that really work. He has a number of specialists including dieticians, ENTs, psychologists, cardiologists and physicians which he may refer clients to in order to ensure their treatment is holistic and effective. Don’t waste another night of precious sleep – call Dr Levi on (02) 9283 1900 to book a consultation today.
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.
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.
Many of the people Dr Levi sees at The Sleep Clinic also complain of chronic headaches. Research from the U.S. has confirmed what sleep specialists have long suspected- that people with chronic daily headaches are almost twice as likely to be snorers.
Which Came First – The Snoring or the Headache?
A recent study of more than 600 participants revealed a strong link between snoring and chronic headaches, however researchers were unable to determine whether it was the snoring which was causing the or vice versa. What is clear, however, is the link between the two. “Snoring…is an important predictor of headaches, even in people without apnoea,” said lead researcher Ann I. Scher, PhD, in an interview with WebMD. She and her team found that:
The link between snoring and headaches was even more pronounced when participants’ headache risk factors, including obesity and alcohol consumption, were considered. When controlling for these other contributing risk factors, daily headache sufferers were almost three times as likely to report nightly snoring as people who had occasional headaches.
DrScher believes further study is needed to ascertain whether treatment to reduce snoring will also reduce headaches in chronic sufferers.
Headache Medication and Snoring
It is well documented that chronic headaches can result in disturbed sleep. It is equally well documented, however, that using pain medications to ease headaches and promote sleep can aggravate snoring. This medication-induced snoring disturbs sleep and leads to a cycle of headache, pills, and snoring that can have a profoundly negative effect on a person’s quality of life.
Snoring and Migraine Headaches
Another study published in the Journal of Neurology offers hope for migraine sufferers who are also snorers. The study found that sleep apnoea treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) not only improved the sleep disturbance; CPAP treatment also improved migraines.
There’s no reason to let snoring disrupt your life. Consult Dr Levi, an expert with over 20 years’ experience in sleep medicine, to receive a customised treatment plan to effectively reduce your snoring and improve your quality of life. Call Dr Levi’s Sleep Clinic today on (02) 9283 1900 or use our online booking form.
Imagine this: a patient is experiencing sleep apnoea and snoring. His sleep quality is suffering and this is affecting his health to the point where he decides to go for a sleep test in a hospital facility. He is told to bring everything he needs to recreate a regular evening at home- pyjamas, snacks, laptop, anything he usually uses before bed. He arrives on the night of his sleep test with an entire carton of beer. When questioned about the beer, he explains that he usually drinks about a carton of beer before bed.
This is a true story and although it is an extreme example, it is not uncommon for people to drink relatively large amounts of alcohol in the evening without believing that this affects their sleep disorder in the slightest. While many people believe the relaxing effects of alcohol help them to sleep, physiologically this couldn’t be further from the truth, especially for those suffering from snoring or sleep apnoea.
Why is Alcohol Harmful to Sleep?
The main reason why alcohol is harmful to those suffering snoring and sleep apnoea is that it acts as a muscle relaxant. This means your tongue and the soft tissue at the back of your throat becomes loose and relaxed, and is drawn towards the back of your throat, blocking your airways. Your windpipe is also more prone to collapsing, which makes you more likely to stop breathing or to have disturbed breathing. This is very serious for people suffering sleep apnoea, but can also be problematic for people who do not usually suffer a sleep disorder. It is quite common for people who do not usually snore, or usually snore only mildly to snore quite severely after drinking alcohol. Being inebriated can also impact on sleep position, causing people to sleep on their back which also worsens breathing.
How Does Disturbed Breathing Affect Sleep?
Our bodies have 4 stages of sleep which make up a single sleep cycle and the body likes to go through this cycle multiple times per night. A single cycle takes an average of 90 – 110 minutes to complete. If the body is disturbed in any way (for example, a pause in breathing), this interrupts the cycle, which then needs to be restarted. Therefore, disturbances in breathing prevent the body from completing the sleep cycle, meaning the body is not getting the sleep it needs. This means that even if you are not conscious of having disturbed breathing, the pauses will reduce your sleep quality, leaving you feeling less well rested when you wake up.
So When Is It OK To Drink Alcohol?
The alcohol you drink before or during lunch will not affect your sleep. Sure, it probably isn’t convenient or socially acceptable to drink your 4 glasses of wine before or during lunch, but sleep-wise this is the best option if you are planning to drink that much.
If you are going to drink in the evening, reducing the quantity as much as possible will help with the quality of your sleep. Dr Levi often jokes to his patients that if they currently drinking 4 glasses of $20 wine, they should increase the quality and decrease the quantity by truly savouring two glasses of $40 wine instead.