What is Sleep Apnea?
An “apnea” is a pause in breathing, and in those afflicted with sleep apnea, these pauses occur during sleep, continuously waking the person up and preventing them from getting a good night’s sleep. Many sleep apnea sufferers are not even aware of the condition at first, and only become aware after their irregular breathing is pointed out by a family member, or they undergo a sleep evaluation.
There are two forms of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are continuous pauses in breathing caused by blockages in air flow. When the passage to the lungs is obstructed, lack of oxygen causes the person to wake up in order to clear the airway and take deep breaths again.
Central sleep apnea (CSA) are pauses in breathing caused by deficiencies in the nervous system. Essentially, the brain “forgets” to tell the lungs to keep breathing during sleep.
A bad night of sleep can affect you from the moment you get out of bed. It can affect your daily routine if it happens once, but imagine what can happen when your sleep is compromised on a nightly basis. Sleep apnea is a common condition characterized by pauses in breathing or poor flow of oxygen while an individual is sleeping. These disruptions can be caused by obstruction of the airway most commonly, but also can be caused by the interruption of complex brain signals to the lungs. This disruption of the natural rhythm of a person’s breathing will render a person unable to achieve REM sleep.