Sleep apnea is a common disorder that causes your breathing to stop or get very shallow. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour.
The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea. It causes your airway to collapse or become blocked during sleep. Normal breathing starts again with a snort or choking sound. People with sleep apnea often snore loudly. However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.
Doctors diagnose sleep apnea based on medical and family histories, a physical exam, and sleep study results.
When your sleep is interrupted throughout the night, you can be drowsy during the day. People with sleep apnea are at higher risk for car crashes, work-related accidents, and other medical problems. If you have it, it is important to get treatment. Lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, surgery, and breathing devices can treat sleep apnea in many people.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
- Sleep Apnea (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Sleep Apnea in Adults (Beyond the Basics) (UpToDate)
- Sleep Apnea Information Page (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) Also in Spanish
- Struggling to Sleep? Don't Let Apnea Steal Your Sweet Dreams (National Institutes of Health) Also in Spanish
- What Is Sleep Apnea? (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) Also in Spanish
Treatments and Therapies
- Always Tired? You May Have Sleep Apnea (Food and Drug Administration) Also in Spanish
- CPAP Machines: Tips for Avoiding 10 Common Problems (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Genetics Home Reference: obstructive sleep apnea (National Library of Medicine)
Videos and Tutorials
- CPAP Tips (Food and Drug Administration)
Statistics and Research
- Sleep Apnea Facts (American Association for Respiratory Care)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Sleep Apnea Syndromes (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
Find an Expert
- American Sleep Apnea Association
- Find a Sleep Center Near You (American Academy of Sleep Medicine)
- National Center on Sleep Disorders Research
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Also in Spanish
- Central sleep apnea (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Nasal CPAP (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS) (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Obstructive sleep apnea (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Pediatric sleep apnea (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish