Keep up with Armagh i

Dreaming of sound night’s rest? Sleep Medical Lurgan has the answer

'I set it up to promote the importance of sleep health and increase the awareness of obstructive sleep apnoea because it is quite a serious sleep disorder'

Niall Totten

As the old saying goes, a long sleep is one of the best cures in the doctor’s book – and that’s exactly what Co. Armagh’s Sleep Medical aim to provide you with.

The Lurgan-based clinic aims to provide bespoke and effective solutions for patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea, understanding the profound impact this can have on patients’ wellbeing.

It was set up last year by local man Niall Totten, who graduated in 2008 in Respiratory Sleep Physiology before going on to work in the Northern and Belfast Trusts.

He developed a passion for a good night’s sleep through family experience with sleep disorders and hopes to use his new platform to educate and improve sleep experiences across Northern Ireland.

Said Niall: “I set it up to promote the importance of sleep health and increase the awareness of obstructive sleep apnoea because it is a serious sleep disorder and it is one of the main sleep disorders we would diagnose and treat in the hospital.”

Niall says the condition is estimated to affect over ten million people in the UK.

“It occurs where the individual is asleep and their upper airway completely or partially closes over through the night, which in turn affects their sleep quality.

“They would have symptoms like snoring, pauses in breathing and daytime sleepiness. If this condition is left untreated, there’s a higher risk of things like heart attacks and strokes and road traffic accidents.”

Among the services offered at Sleep Medical is the Sleep Test Plus, a one-night assessment from the comfort of the patient’s home.

It doesn’t require a referral and uses a WatchPAT One device to measure up to seven channels via three points of contact to enable a sleep apnoea diagnosis.

The product has been clinically proven to detect all types of apnoea events and Sleep Medical has immediate access to the data the following morning to allow the team to generate a detailed report.

Explained Niall: “We simply post out the sleep monitor to the patient and then we get the result of their sleep test the following morning and we analyse the data.”

Also available is CPAP Treatment, which involves the use of a CPAP machine, which delivers a continuous stream of pressurised air through a mask worn during sleep, with the aim of disrupting sleep apnoea.

The gentle pressure from the machine helps keep the airways open, preventing the collapse of the upper airway that characterises obstructive sleep apnoea episodes.

The treatment significantly reduces snoring and other symptoms, helping to promote a more restful sleep and improve the patient’s quality of life.

“Some people do struggle with it. It takes a bit of getting used to having a mask on your face and air blowing through, but it is very, very successful,” Niall said.

Both the sleep test plus and CPAP treatment services can be offered to patients whilst they await on their NHS appointment. Therefore it means those sleepless nights can be ended and patients and their family members can get their life back.

Niall says that thankfully, awareness and education around obstructive sleep apnoea is getting better. Niall has tried to raise awareness through Sleep Medical’s social media channels, the Sleep Medical Naptime Podcast, he’s spoken at a number of local respiratory support groups and is due to present a sleep health workshop for the mental health charity Just A Chat.

“Sleep deprivation affects pretty much every part of the body and that’s reflected in the referrals that come in through the Trust sleep services, whether it be cardiology, neurology or mental health,” he explained.

“When I was starting off in the Belfast Trust we were one of the few sleep departments in Northern Ireland. Today, there is a sleep service in every Trust.

“Certainly in the hospital anyway, we’re finding there’s more and more referrals coming through and that didn’t used to be the case.

“I think people are taking more of an appreciation of the importance of sleep, knowing they need to get a good quality sleep in order to wake up refreshed and to live a happy and healthy life.

“If you’re suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned and your quality of life has been impacted, I would say to go straight to your GP and get referred. We have a tendency to let these things lie, but lack of good, quality sleep can impact many other things, physical and mental.”

You can find out more information about Sleep Medical’s services by visiting their website which was created by Reality Digital.

If any organisations or mental health charities would like to arrange a Sleep Health workshop please email

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Most read today

More in Features