Sleep apnoea is a disorder which causes either abnormal pauses in breathing or abnormally low levels of breathing during sleep. The pauses can be caused by a physical obstruction of the airway (Obstructive Sleep Apnoea) or a failure of the brain to stimulate the muscles which control breathing (Central Sleep Apnoea) and in some cases, a combination of the two. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. In some cases, OSA is accompanied by snoring, however OSA can also occur with no snoring whatsoever. Similarly, snoring can be present without sleep apnoea, in fact studies have shown that approximately 50% of adults snore, while only approximately 5% of the Australian population suffer from OSA.

OSA sufferers are often unaware of their condition and do not realise that they are having difficulty breathing. In most cases it is the sufferer’s partner who alerts them to the problem, as they notice the pauses in breathing. While many people with OSA may not realise that they have sleep apnoea, they are usually aware of a range of symptoms including:

  • Excessive daytime tiredness
  • Morning headaches
  • Loud snoring
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • High blood pressure
  • Waking up short of breath
  • Irritability or depression
  • Dry mouth on waking
  • Pauses in breathing

Despite the seriousness of many of these symptoms, some studies suggest that up to 80% of all cases of sleep apnoea go undiagnosed. One of the main reasons for this is that many people are not aware of sleep apnoea, so they are unable to identify the symptoms. Another issue is that even when these symptoms are reported to a GP, they often result in a misdiagnosis. For example, recent evidence has shown that many people suffering from OSA have been misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Sleep apnoea is a serious medical condition which can have serious health repercussions including increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and depression. Snoring without sleep apnoea does not carry the same health risks as it does not involve a pause in breathing. In OSA the walls or muscles of the upper airway relax in such a way that they collapse and block the airway during sleep, reducing the supply of oxygen to vital organs. The brain briefly wakes up in order to clear the airway and restart the airflow, causing significant disturbance to sleep, even though the sufferer may not remember these brief awakenings.

Snoring, on the other hand is caused by the vibration of respiratory structures due to obstructed air movement when sleeping. This is a result of an enlarged uvula, soft palate or tongue, or nasal obstructions. The vibration results in the rasping sound described as snoring. While snoring does not carry the same health risks as OSA, it does reduce the quality of sleep for the sufferer and their partner. Snoring also has a serious effect on relationships, and the need for one partner to sleep in another room to escape the noise has been identified as a major issue in many marriages. While snoring can occur without sleep apnoea, those who snore should consider having themselves assessed in order to know if they are also suffering from sleep apnoea.

While snoring and sleep apnoea are not the same, similar treatment methods are often effective for both conditions. The newest technology available is the NightLase treatment method which involves using a laser to shrink and tighten the areas of the mouth and throat involved in sleep apnoea or snoring. This revolutionary treatment reduces the effects of sleep apnoea and decreases the amplitude and frequency of snoring. 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).

Individuals suffering from sleep apnoea or snoring are advised to book a sleep assessment with a sleep specialist. This is especially important for individuals with sleep apnoea, due to the health risks of leaving OSA untreated.

To receive a holistic, customised solution for your snoring or sleep apnoea, using the most state of the art technology, call us on 1300 67 07 74 or email us on info@drlevis.com.au.

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A recent study into sleep deprivation has revealed that a shocking 25% of people are sleeping less than five hours per night. This is no surprise considering that 40% of people suffer from snoring and sleepiness and 70% of those who snore regularly also have obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). If you suffer from one of these conditions it is very possible you are not getting enough sleep. Here are 9 lesser known signs to look out for that indicate you are sleep-deprived.

You’ve lost your sense of humour

Although humour may seem simple, finding something funny actually involves complex brain processes including attention, memory and divergent thinking. These processes are controlled by the prefrontal cortex which is the part of the brain most impacted by a lack of sleep. Studies have shown that people who are seep deprived lose their ability to find things funny.

You eat more

When you are sleep deprived, the hormone that stimulates appetite increases, while the hormone that tells you to stop eating decreases. To make matters worse, the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for controlling willpower, becomes weakened with a lack of sleep. The overeating you do when you are tired is also more likely to lead to weight gain because your metabolic processes are negatively affected.

Alcohol affects you more easily

It is estimated that one standard drink when you are sleep deprived has the same effect as three standard drinks when you are fully rested. This means that drinking when you are tired will result in you become inebriated much quicker than usual.

You get sick all the time

Those who sleep less than six hours per night are four times more likely to get colds and viruses than those who get more than seven hours sleep. The white blood cells needed to fight viruses and bacteria aren’t as effective when you’re sleep deprived, meaning your immunity against disease is weakened.

Your voice is flat and monotone

If a person’s voice sounds emotionless or robotic, this is most likely not due to a personality trait, but a physiological reaction to a lack of sleep. When you are tired, your voice becomes flat and monotone due to a lack of control over the muscles in the throat. For the same reason, you are more likely to trip over your words and pronounce sounds or letters incorrectly.

Everything hurts more

Your tolerance for pain is greatly diminished when you’re overtired, meaning aches and pains will be exaggerated. There are a number of reasons for this; firstly, tiredness lowers your mood, making you more attuned to negative experience like pain, secondly when your body is under-rested, it releases inflammatory chemicals that are implicated in pain sensations.

You look sad and washed out

If people are always telling you to cheer up, it might be because your facial muscles are drooping from lack of sleep. The eyelids and the corners of the mouth are likely to droop downwards when you haven’t slept enough, making you look unhappy. Your face is also likely to look pale due to a reduction in the blood flow to the vessels near the skin’s surface. Those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea are also particularly prone to dark circles, as the lack of oxygen flow makes the skin around the eyes appear darker.

You’re forgetful

While we sleep, our brain sorts through information, deciding what needs to be recalled and what can be discarded then consolidates memories. Sleep is also a time when the brain clears waste chemicals and failing to do so can affect your ability to form memories in the future. Your short term memory is also affected by a lack of sleep, as your attentiveness decreases meaning you are less likely to take notice of information like where you parked your car.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, lack of sleep might be the cause. Those who suffer from snoring or sleep apnoea are particularly prone to these symptoms and many others which can seriously impact psychological and physical health. Our new NightLase system can treat snoring and sleep apnoea quickly and painlessly. 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). To receive a holistic, customised solution for your sleeplessness, using the most state of the art technology, call us on 1300 67 07 74 or email us on info@drlevis.com.au.

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Most of us spend hours in the gym or pounding the pavement huffing, puffing and dripping sweat in our incessant endeavour to lose weight. While any form of physical activity will definitely take you a few steps closer to your weight loss goals, surprising studies have shown that is not enough to achieve successful, sustainable weight loss. The secret to losing weight and keeping it off lies in getting a good night’s sleep! This is because sleep regulates the cortisol levels in the body. When you do not sleep enough your cortisol levels increase, keeping you feeling lethargic, depressed and stressed through the day. This makes it even more difficult to lose weight. The solution lies in improving your sleep hygiene.

Here are five steps that will help you sleep better and also achieve your long-term weight loss goals:

Step 1: Maintain A Regular Sleep And Wake Pattern
The body works most efficiently on a regular schedule. When you maintain a regular sleep and wake pattern, the brain knows what to expect and automatically send out signals to the body to start slowing down. This makes you feel more relaxed and sleepy as you approach your regular bed time and will help you fall asleep more easily.

Step 2: Throw Out All Electronics From The Bedroom
Ipads, laptops, televisions … we take all of these sources of entertainment into the bedroom with us and then wonder why we cannot sleep! The temptation to check what’s playing on HBO or log into Facebook or check out the latest Tweets is just too strong. Surrounded by so much stimulation, it’s impossible for the brain to switch off. You need to help it by ensuring that no electronics find their way into your bedroom when you are turning in for the night.

Step 3: Consider Your Kitchen Off-Limits After Your Bed Time
Nibbling through the night quickly adds on the calories and those nasty inches. You venture into the kitchen for ‘just one nibble’ but more often than not, it’s impossible to stop at just one especially when you see all the delicious goodies in your kitchen cabinets. Before you know it, you’ve added several hundred calories to your day’s total and you feel even worse about it. Make it a rule that your kitchen stays off-limits after your bed time and get a family member to ensure that you do not break this rule.

Step 4: Maintain A Sleep-Conducive Environment In The Bedroom
A bedroom that is dark, quiet, cool and comfortable will help you sleep longer and deeper than a bedroom that is bright, noisy, uncomfortable and too hot or too cool. It’s not too difficult to achieve either. Use a good quality mattress that offers you sufficient lumbar support. Put up dark drapes and close them at night to keep the room dark. Set your thermostat to a temperature that is comfortable for you. If you cannot control the external sources of noise, a pair of earplugs should sort that out easily.

Step 5: If You Snore, Consider Getting A Customised MAS Device
Sleep apnoea is one of the most common reasons for daytime lethargy and drowsiness. When you snore at night, your airway gets blocked, obstructing your breathing. This causes you to wake up gasping for air. As soon as you take that first breath and get the oxygen you need, you go back to sleep. While all of this happens continuously through the night without you even being aware of it, you cannot ignore the persistent feelings of lethargy and drowsiness that linger on all day. Wearing a customised Mandibular Advancement Splint device helps keep your airways open through the night so your body gets the oxygen it needs, resulting in effective weight loss and a overall feeling of well-being.

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Recent studies have shown a surprising connection between sleep and weight gain. According to these studies, lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep is one of the key contributors to the inability to lose weight. What’s more, insufficient sleep impacts different body processes different ways, all of which combine to put a spoke in your weight loss endeavours.

This is not just another fad theory. There is compelling evidence that supports this statement.

A Detailed Look At The Connection Between Sleep & Weight Loss
There are the many reasons why not sleeping well can make you fat.

In review of numerous studies, researchers found that insufficient sleep led to increased cravings for high-carbohydrate, energy-dense, foods and also prompted people to eat larger portions of all types of foods, resulting in weight gain.

When you do not get enough sleep, it increases the levels of ghrelin and decreases the levels of leptin. Ghrelin is a hunger hormone. It tells the brain when it is time to eat. Leptin is a hormone that controls satiety or fullness. It tell the brain when it is time to stop eating. The combination of higher ghrelin levels and lower leptin levels that result from lack of sleep, send the wrong signals to the brain, causing you to eat more than you need. Weight gain is the inevitable result of overeating.

In addition to the ghrelin and leptin levels going haywire, insufficient sleep also causes a spike in the cortisol levels in the body. This is a stress hormone that cues the body to conserve energy to fuel your waking hours. When cortisol levels are high, the body tends to hang on to fat, again resulting in weight gain.

Another reason why lack of sleep can make you fat is that when you do not get enough sleep you wake up feeling tired and listless and less inclined to do any kind of physical activity. To try and get out of the energy slump you tend to snack more and usually, these are high-fat, high-energy snacks. For anyone who is trying to lose weight, this is a disastrous combination.

That’s not all. One of the more recent studies showed that insufficient sleep inhibits the cells’ ability to respond efficiently to the hormone insulin. Insulin is vital for converting starches, sugars and other food into energy. When it does not function as it should, the foods simply get stored in the body, slowly adding on those horrible extra inches.

Sleep is like nutrition for the brain. When you are sleep deprived every process in the body gets affected. Most importantly, you tend to have higher cravings for junk food while lacking the impulse control to say no. If you have been trying to lose weight without much success, take a look at your sleep habits. Are you getting sufficient sleep? If you think you are sleeping enough hours every night but are still struggling to lose weight, ask your partner if you snore while sleeping or do a home sleep study test to find out. If you do snore, get a MAS device customised for you. This device will help you stop snoring so that you get the sleep you need for successful weight loss.

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A boxing glove on a stick isn’t exactly an effective stop snoring aid – but at 3am it sure is useful to stop the freight train sleeping beside you.

Snoring often fosters deep resentments between partners that can erode their feelings for one another. Partners of snorers are often desperate for a good night’s sleep – more often than not resorting to sleeping in a separate room, a habit that can have devastating effects on a marriage.

Is your marriage is suffering because you or your spouse snores?

20% of all Australians snore – two out of every ten Australian adults. That’s one in four men and one in six women.

Snoring is more than a bedtime annoyance and it shouldn’t be ignored. Snoring can indicate a more serious problem, such as sleep apnoea, which is potentially life threatening due to the repetitive pauses in breathing during sleep. Sleep disorders can have a serious impact on your health as well as on your relationship.

You need to know that we can help to reduce or even stop your or your partners snoring. At the Sleep and Snore Centre, Dr Levi works with you to find the correct pathway to the most appropriate treatment.

The first step is to book an initial consultation with Sleep and Snore Centre. Contact us today to make an appointment with Dr Levi.

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