This is an area where Dr Mark Levi is an expert. Dr Levi earned his BDS at Sydney University and has over 30 years’ experience as a dentist, with more than 20 years’ experience in sleep medicine and focusing on sleep disorders.
Beyond his professional expertise, Dr Levi brings a very personal perspective to his work, having himself been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea.
Getting help for a sleep disorder can make a big difference in your life. Below, Dr Levi answers some of the most frequently asked questions about snoring, sleep apnoea and sleep disorders to help you make an informed decision for you and the people around you.
A sleep disorder is any ongoing problem that disrupts and disturbs sleep, and by extension, the overall quality of your life.
When the flow of air slows during sleep (reduced by at least 30%) this is known as a hypopnea. When the flow of air stops completely during sleep (for at least 10 seconds), this is known as apnoea. When these abnormal events (apnoea and hypopnea) are due to obstructive, anatomic causes – often related to the collapse or blockage of the upper airway, a patient is considered to have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, or OSA.
People with sleep apnoea generally have the following symptoms:
Sleep disorders affect people of all ages: children, teens, adults, and seniors. Common risk factors for sleep disorders include:
In most people, snoring is caused by multiple factors, each playing some part in the snoring process. They include:
Snoring can contribute to fatigue and morning tiredness, which increases the risk of accidents on the road, at home, and in the workplace. There also appears to be an increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke in snoring patients. When snoring is accompanied by significant sleep apnoea, additional health problems may develop.
Snoring impacts both the person who snores and his/her bed partner. According to a U.S. study of 4900 couples, as many as 80% of snoring couples end up sleeping in separate bedrooms, while a study from the Mayo clinic showed that snoring also seems to be associated with reduced sexual satisfaction in men.
It’s time to see a doctor specially trained in sleep disorders when you’ve had trouble sleeping for more than a month or if you are tired during the day for unknown reasons. Dr Levi can conduct a sleep assessment to evaluate the severity of your condition and determine the best treatment protocol.
A sleep study/assessment is a non-invasive, painless evaluation of your sleep, often conducted in a hospital. At Dr Levi’s Sleep Clinic, patients can conduct their own studies/assessments in the privacy of your own home.
At Dr Levi’s Sleep Clinic, Dr Levi uses the USA’s #1 home sleep test – the Apnoea Risk Evaluation System (ARES™). It is a revolutionary sleep test designed to collect nocturnal physiological data in the comfort of your own home. You sleep in your own bed and wear the device on your forehead for one night. It assesses if you are snoring, how loudly, whether you are sleeping on your back or side, how much oxygen you are getting and whether you are experiencing sleep apnoea whilst you sleep.
There are several effective treatments for snoring and sleep disorders. These include dental appliances, laser treatment, breathing assistance devices (CPAP or “sleep” masks), and in the most extreme cases, surgery. After an initial consultation, Dr Levi will assess your suitability for a range of sleep apnoea and snoring treatments and recommend a customised solution which meets your needs. From the initial consultation through to monitoring and re-evaluation of patients, Dr Levi will look after you all the way.
Laser treatment is a safe, gentle, quick and non-invasive treatment direct from Europe with a track record for producing a positive change in sleeping patterns.
Dr Levi offers the revolutionary Nightlase™ laser treatment in Dr Levi’s Sleep Clinic. NightLase™ uses the medical power of Er:YAG laser light to strengthen the soft tissues at the back of the throat that would otherwise relax and obstruct the air passage. Nightlase™ is Dr Levi’s most sought-after snoring and sleep apnoea treatment; 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).
An oral appliance is an artificial (often plastic or acrylic) device similar in appearance to a sports mouth guard. It is worn at night during sleep. There are two types of devices:
Surgical assistance may include nasal, palatal or tongue and neck surgery however surgery for snoring and sleep apnoea is rarely used and only considered in cases of very severe snoring when other treatments have failed.