People are exhausted. Between work, commutes, and constant stress, the well-rested are increasingly rare. There’s good reason. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 18 million American adults suffer from sleep apnea and a whopping 45% of Americans say poor sleep affects their daily activities at least once a week. People are starting to accept poor sleep as normal. None of life’s luxuries mean much if you’re too tired to enjoy them.
So, I asked Dr. David Saadat to share his insight on this epidemic. Dr. Saadat is a world-renowned and Beverly-Hills based plastic/reconstructive surgeon, ear, nose, throat and sleep specialist. With his acumen, he helps myriad people with sleep and sleep apnea issues.
Q: What kind of help are your patients typically seeking?
As a facial plastic surgeon and expert in treatments focused on improving sleep, I not only perform aesthetic procedures daily, but also treat patients who deal with symptoms including chronic fatigue, forgetfulness, mood swings, morning headaches, waking up in the middle of the night with a choking sensation, and the list goes on.
Q: Most of us picture a big, obtrusive CPAP machine to be the only solution to our sleep issues. Has sleep science evolved beyond that expectation?
What most people don’t realize is that there are a number of breakthrough treatments that can dramatically change people’s lives by allowing them to sleep more restfully, without disturbances or breathing obstruction, and restoring energy, alertness and enthusiasm in their daily lives. And none of the procedures require that uncomfortable, cumbersome and disruptive CPAP machine that many doctors so quickly prescribe.
Q: What are some of these breakthroughs?
Let’s talk about three of them: Inspire therapy’s hypoglossal nerve stimulation, the Latera nasal valve implant and drug-induced sleep endoscopy.
For those unable to get benefit from CPAP, Inspire monitors every breath you take during sleep. Based on your breathing patterns, the system stimulates the hypoglossal nerve, which controls the movement of your tongue and other key airway muscles. By stimulating these muscles, the airway remains open during sleep. The device is controlled by a small handheld sleep remote, which allows you to turn Inspire therapy on and off before and after bed, increase and decrease stimulation strength, and pause during the night if needed.
This treatment requires a minor surgery to place a device inside the body, so it might not be for everyone, but as one of the few surgeons in Los Angeles certified in this procedure, I consistently see its success in eliminating sleep apnea.
The Latera Nasal Valve is an implant that supports upper and lower lateral cartilage on the inside of the nose, reinforcing the nasal wall to reduce nasal airway obstruction and its symptoms, including nasal congestion and other breathing issues that effect sleep quality. The procedure can be performed in minutes and is highly effective in providing immediate relief and dramatically impact patients’ ability to breathe through their nose.
Before determining the most appropriate treatment for sleep apnea sufferers, I sometimes recommend a sleep endoscopy in order to clearly and meticulously study the airway in a sleeping patient and to accurately diagnose obstruction. During this procedure, a fiber-optic endoscope is passed through a sleeping patients nasal cavity and the results help us determine the exact treatment plan for overcoming sleep apnea.
Q: Some people don’t have sleep apnea, they’re just having a hard time winding down and getting restful sleep. Do you have any tips for them?
Easy fixes for more restful sleep include establishing a regular bedtime routine; taking a hot bath before bed; keeping your bedroom dark and cool; turning off those TV, laptop and iPhone screens; and avoiding exercise before bed. If these don’t work, and you feel like you’re sleepwalking through your day, come visit me at my Beverly Hills office and we’ll help you live a more restful, happy and energetic life.