Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep.
Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They often occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.
Sleep apnea usually is a chronic (ongoing) condition that disrupts your sleep 3 or more nights each week. You often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep when your breathing pauses or becomes shallow.
This results in poor sleep quality that makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is one of the leading causes of excessive daytime sleepiness.
Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. Doctors usually can't detect the condition during routine office visits. Also, there are no blood tests for the condition.
Most people who have sleep apnea don't know they have it because it only occurs during sleep. A family member and/or bed partner may first notice the signs of sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea can be very serious. However, following an effective treatment plan can often improve your quality of life.
Treatment can improve your sleep and relieve daytime tiredness. It also may make you less likely to develop high blood pressure, heart disease, and other health problems linked to sleep apnea.
Treatment may improve your overall health and happiness as well as your quality of sleep (and possibly your family's quality of sleep).