Sleep & Lifestyle Clinic - Locations

       02 6162 1802   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

"Sleep and Lifestyle Clinic :: A home based approach to sleep apnea assessment and treatment."
Dr Grant Willson (Director)


Please Contact Us us if you have any questions that are not on this page.

For frequently asked questions regarding CPAP acclimatization please see Troubleshooting Your CPAP

Q. Do I need a Sleep Study or a Sleep Apnea Screening Test?

There are a number of differences between these tests. Screening Tests does not require a referral, less equipment has to be worn, results are available sooner and the price is significantly less. Although there are advantages, the screening test may not give a defintive diagnosis and may not be accepted by your health fund to justify treatment.

Take-Home Sleep Apnea Screening Tests provide a portable, lightweight and easy to use home assessment to screen for obstructive sleep apnea. Using ResMed's ApneaLink™, we are able to record up to five channels of information: respiratory effort, pulse, oxygen saturation, nasal flow and snoring. These studies are reported on by experienced physiotherapists and results will be available rapidly (within a week of performing the overnight test). While research show a high correlation between sleep apnea screening tests and full sleep studies, the results may not be definitive and further assessment and/or testing may be recommended alternatively in some cases immediate treatment might be appropriate. Your preference in regards to ongoing assessment and management will be important to us.

Take-Home Sleep Apnea Screening Tests will be perform on a self-referral basis but will not justify a rebate or provision of continuous airway pressure (CPAP)/mandibular advancement splint (MAS) treatments for:

  • DVA card holders
  • ACT and NSW Pension (who plan to have CPAP provision covered by the Government)
  • Private Health Insurance Holders (with appropriate coverage for CPAP provision)

Portable Home-based Sleep Studies provide a more in-depth test which can measure sleep quality, obstructive and central sleep apnea, snoring, periodic leg movements and insomnia. These studies are provided by the Sleep Physicians at Specialist Services Medical Group. A comprehensive report will be provided along with treatment recommendations (consultations with a physician are also available and recommended when sleep apnea is not the primary concern).

A referral from a GP or specialist is required for a portable home-based sleep study and will provide a comprehensive study and measure multiple physiological variables simultaneously. A specialist Sleep Physician reports each test and makes appropriate recommendations as to treatment. Referral Forms are available [here]. These studies are suitable for a large number of patients requiring sleep investigation for a presumed disorder. Ask your doctor or contact us if you have any queries concerning the suitability of a home study in your case.

Q. My child is Under 18 years old; can they perform a sleep study at the Sleep and Lifestyle Clinic?

At the Sleep and Lifestyle Clinic we conduct home-based portable sleep studies and these studies are not yet available for the use of children or those under 18 years old. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. the clinic if you would like a list of paediatric sleep physicians who can perform in-lab sleep studies for your child.

Q. What do we mean by a home based approach to sleep apnea treatment?

The treatment of snoring and sleep apnea is a vital component in promoting health in a sufferer. We see healthy sleep as just one part of our client's general health and well being. Poor sleep often leads to daytime consequences such as sleepiness, fatigue and reduced productivity. Equally a larger number of snorers are unaware that they may have compromised breathing during sleep which could be resulting in damage to their cardiovascular system. Damage which may lead to the development of high blood pressure, heart disease and premature death.

The Sleep and Lifestyle Clinic believes home diagnosis and treatment ofters clients the best chance of a positive outcome. Clients take monitoring equipment home and treatment devices are used in one's own home. Monitoring on the screen of the devices and via the Internet allows us to evaluate therapy and make the appropriate changes. This approach allows clients to accommodate to therapies at their own pace without the expense and discomfort of overnight stays in a sleep lab.

Our approach is to work with Sleep Physicians to perform high quality sleep studies in the home. Our clients report a better sleep when the test is undertaken at home versus in hospital or a sleep laboratory where the environment is foreign. You return to discuss the findings of the study and treatment is based on medical evidence along with your preferences. We objectively monitor the improvements our treatment produce. We address your sleep health not only with PAP devices (e.g. CPAP and APAP) but also by facilitating the lifestyle changes you need to improve your general health. Importantly, our approach is individualised to suit your needs and preferences. Therapies are realistic and based on scientific principles.

Q. Why do we work with physiotherapists?

One discipline within Physiotherapy practice is cardio-respiratory care. Physiotherapists have worked in the area of sleep medicine for over thirty years. Indeed they have been pivotal in advancing the treatment of sleep disordered breathing and these advances have most often been in the practical applications of treatment.

Physiotherapists are generally good communicators who keep their patients informed and educated about their condition and available therapies. Our hands-on approach to treatment allows us to be a trusted mentor to you when commencing or struggling with mask breathing support.

More traditionally acknowledged are their skills in exercise and physical activity prescription. This allows physiotherapists to undertake integrated treatments which more comprehensively address the well being of clients with sleep disordered breathing.

Along with their skills in communication and hands-on patient care, physiotherapists bring their knowledge of anatomy and training in the scientific principles of medical treatments together to achieve excellent results for clients.

Q. What benefits can you expect from our programme?

Our sleep health programme is designed to give you the advice and training you need to maximise the benefits of PAP therapy. These benefits may include, a reduction in sleepiness and fatigue, better quality sleep so you awaken feeling refreshed, improved concentration and mood, and a reduction in the physical manifestations of sleep apnea such as snoring and reductions in blood pressure. We not only address the very important issues of mask fit and machine function, but we also help you understand what other factors impact on sleep health which may be contributing to your symptoms.

Q. What is sleep disordered breathing?

Sleep disordered breathing describes any abnormal pattern of respiration which occurs when a person is asleep. 

Sleep disordered breathing can be seen as a continuum. At one end is simple snoring where vibration within the airway is produced secondary to a loss of muscle activity in the airway during sleep, and at the other end are severe breathing abnormalities where breathing becomes shallow during sleep (nocturnal hypoventilation). This abnormality can lead to respiratory failure and serious health effects. In between these two extremes are those clients who have varying degrees of obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Q. What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

OSA is associated with a partial or complete closure (Apnea) or reduction (hypopnea) of the upper part of the airway during sleep (often in the area around the back of the tongue). This results in an absence of air flowing into the lungs. During an apnea/hypopnea the subject does not breath normally as the airway is constricted. The subject makes continued efforts to breathe, and it is this struggling that eventually causes them to momentarily wake. This short waking period is known as an arousal. This continual waking, often totally unrecognized by the sufferer, in response to OSA is the reason patients may report sleepiness and fatigue.

Sleep apnea varies markedly in its severity and effects. Apneas may last from 10 seconds to in some cases over a minute. These breathing events that occur in sleep are associated with a drop in the blood oxygen level, increases in blood pressure, fluctuations in the heart rate and rhythm and a release of stress hormones. OSA is also associated with a number of adverse heath effects including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and has been linked to diabetes.

The bottom line is that OSA can have serious medical consequences and it should be investigated and managed whenever it is suspected.

Q. What is PAP therapy?

PAP stands for postive airway pressure therapy. It refers to when air is delivered to a patient at a level above that of the atmospheric pressure. When we are discussing patients using PAP for sleep disorders, an interface (mask) held on with straps is usually used. PAP therapy may take a number of forms and new modes of this therapy are devised regularly. The main forms of PAP used for treating obstructive sleep apnea is CPAP and APAP.
Other forms of PAP include bilevel ventilation where the device acts like a respirator (artificial breathing machine) to increase the patients breathing. This type of therapy is usually indicated when the person has a disorder of shallow breathing in sleep know as nocturnal hypoventilation. Other modes of PAP include adaptive servo ventilation. These devices use modern computing to treat central apnea in those cases where more simple modes are shown to be ineffective.

Q. What is CPAP?

CPAP stands for continuous positive airways pressure. It refers to when air is delivered to a patient at a level above that of the atmospheric pressure. The term CPAP is generally used when we are referring to a single level of pressure which is applied across the entire night. Other modes of pressure delivery exist which apply the pressure in different ways including APAP and bilevel ventilation.

The manufactures of CPAP have sought to improve the comfort of CPAP by adding various features including a ramping (i.e. gradual increase) of pressure as desired by the patient and a dropping of the pressure as the patient breaths out (C-flex and EPR).

When we talk about using CPAP during sleep we are in the majority of cases delivering the pressure via an interface which is held in place with straps. The interfaces are of many different types and include nasal masks, full face masks, mouthpieces and nasal prongs.

Q. What is APAP?

APAP stands for automatic positive airways pressure. APAP is known under a number of names including aPAP, autoset and autoPAP. This mode of PAP therapy is also found in a number of different brands of products.
The choice of whether to use APAP versus CPAP will depend on many different factors. These include:

  • the effectiveness of either modality
  • the instructions of the treating physician
  • the desires of the client
  • the potential benefits of one mode over another
  • the budget of the client

In most cases the choice of the type of device will depend on the individual situation and many different factors will be weighed by the client and their healthcare advisors. A period of carefully monitored device usage on a rental basis is always recommended prior to making definitive choices about which device or mode will be used long-term.

Our recomendation is to purchase the machien that us shown to work objectively and is most comfortable to the user. In the vast majority of cases APAP is not required saving our clients a significant sum.

Q. Why can’t I purchase my CPAP device or complete CPAP mask ONLINE?

At the Sleep and Lifestyle Clinic we understand the convenience of buying your equipment online. We have some of our most popular products available online for those who prefer this method of purchasing and know what equipment they require.

We do not sell CPAP machines online as the set-up of your device, mask type and size will be different for everyone. At the Sleep and Lifestyle Clinic we use a personalised approach to your therapy through face-to-face consultation.

We do not sell Complete Mask Sets online as this way we can make sure you have a comfortable and correctly sized mask. It may not be as convenient as purchasing online, however, these masks can be pre-purchased online prior to pick-up if preferred. All spare parts are available for purchase and have mailing and pick-up options.

We do stress the importance of visiting one of our Clinic Locations if you are unsure about any of the equipment you may require and for our full range of products.