Sleep Apnea Info
An estimated 1 out of every 25 middle-aged men and 1 out of every 50 middle-aged women has sleep apnea that causes them to be very sleepy during the day. But what is sleep apnea, exactly? This is a type of sleep disorder that is both common and serious. It is characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep.
During an episode of obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type, the person's effort to inhale air creates suction that collapses the windpipe. As a result, the person's air flow is blocked for 10 seconds to a minute while they struggle to breathe. When the person's blood oxygen level falls, the brain responds by awakening the person enough to tighten the upper airway muscles and open the windpipe. When this happens, the person may snort or gasp and then resume snoring. This cycle may be repeated hundreds of times a night.
(For more info on this condition, including the risks of leaving it untreated, click Sleep Apnea.)