Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where your breathing is frequently interrupted during sleep. This can interrupt your deep sleep cycle, resulting in chronic sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation not only causes weariness, but also increases the risk of hypertension, depression, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, waking up choking, out of breath, restless sleep, morning headaches, fatigue, and difficulty staying asleep. 

Dr. Anja Hoffstrom from Levata Sleep reported that over 23 millionLevata Sleep logo Americans suffer from sleep apnea, yet only about 80% are diagnosed. Sleep apnea is a condition that commonly affects older adults, and is more prevalent in males, but at least 2-3% of children suffer from the condition as well.

Dr. Anja Hoffstrom is a sleep apnea dentist at Levata Sleep in Marquette, Mich. Levata Sleep provides Oral Appliance Therapy for people who suffer from sleep apnea or snoring. “Snoring is not normal,” Dr. Hoffstrom states, “When your airway begins to close, the air is being forced through a more narrow opening. This causes a vibration which is snoring. In most cases, this is the first sign of sleep apnea.” Typically, a CPAP machine is the most used treatment for those who have sleep apnea, but Oral Appliance Therapy is an alternate treatment that works by holding your lower jaw slightly forward to prevent it from slipping back and compressing your airway, which is what happens when you have sleep apnea. Levata Sleep collaborates with primary care providers and sleep doctors or specialists to provide the best care possible. Lavata Sleep offers over 50 oral appliance options to choose from that are all FDA-approved. The appliances that Levata Sleep offers are more convenient, easier to wear, and more portable than the typical CPAP machine. Oral Appliance Therapy is also a great non-invasive option that can easily fit into any lifestyle. Since there are numerous oral sleep appliances available at Levata Sleep, Dr. Hoffstrom can design a treatment plan and appliance to meet each patient's specific needs.

Dr. Hoffstrom was drawn to her role within the area of sleep apnea because she has been diagnosed with sleep apnea. “I was tired of being tired. I needed to do something to improve my overall health because I wanted to be able to be active with my kids.” Dr. Hoffstrom was intrigued by the fact that as a dentist, she could be part of the solution. “I knew that I could provide a treatment option for so many of my patients who never knew they had a choice. I have found my passion and am inspired every day to help my patients not only sleep better but live longer, healthier lives.”

Dr. Hoffstrom admits that many people feel that being tired is just their way of life and a part of getting older. “When our patients start treatment, they are normally so surprised at how good they feel, how they no longer need that afternoon nap, they feel refreshed and rested, and how their mood and health improves.” Dr. Hoffstrom says “Even though Oral Device Therapy is not a new treatment and has been around for decades, we often hear that people are surprised there is an alternative option to the CPAP.” Oral Device Therapy is covered through medical insurance, and not dental insurance. This is because it is a medical diagnosis, not a dental one. Levata Sleep is currently working with the state of

Michigan to try and increase insurance coverage for Medicaid patients. All other commercial insurance has coverage for the services provided at Levata Sleep, as does Medicare. Because they bill Medicare, and commercial insurance, accept the Veteran's Assistance benefit, and can provide compliance for drivers with CDLs, Levata Sleep has many patients who travel great distances to see them. Dr. Hoffstrom stated “Unfortunately, many Yoopers are accustomed to driving for their care but it's not always easy to make the drive. We attempt to remove barriers to care and help our patients treat their sleep apnea.”

To improve sleep apnea in our region Dr. Hoffstrom believes that spreading awareness is a huge factor in getting patients screened and the help they deserve. Providers and dentists should be screening all adult patients, once a year, to uncover this condition. Dr. Hoffstrom believes that The Department of Transportation should be screening all drivers as well. Dr. Hoffstrom said that the most important, crucial piece of improving sleep apnea in the Upper Peninsula is that “we have to start uncovering patients with untreated sleep apnea!” Dr. Hoffstrom encourages patients to get screened once a year and suggests that all providers partake in working together to decrease the risk of premature death. “All severities of obstructive sleep apnea can and should be treated. Mild sleep apnea, when left untreated, puts one at risk for several comorbid health conditions and can also get worse over time” says Dr. Hoffstrom.

On being able to collaborate with the NMU Center for Rural Health, Dr. Hoffstrom stated that “Levata Sleep is thrilled to be able to have a positive means of spreading awareness about the importance of screening for, testing, and treating sleep apnea.” If you are looking to get in contact with Levata Sleep, you can call their office at (906) 242-2443 or email Their website also has a lot of great information and a free sleep quiz,

The Northern Michigan University Center for Rural Health seeks to improve the health and well-being of Upper Peninsula residents and communities by developing collaborative partnerships that enhance the access and availability of affordable, quality healthcare services. For questions or comments related to this story, contact