By George Royal
One of the most well-known sleep disorders, sleep apnea is a fairly common condition. Marked by interruptions in breathing during sleep, sleep apnea causes the person suffering from this condition to wake up, or partially wake, several times during the night. Because of the frequency of these interruptions in breathing, a person with sleep apnea will have trouble getting a restful night’s sleep, causing them to feel the effects of sleep deprivation during their waking hours.
Two types of sleep apnea have been diagnosed: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea. OSA is caused by the soft palate becoming so relaxed that it actually blocks off the breathing passageway, while central sleep apnea is caused by the brain relaxing to the point that it does not remind the body to breathe. While both types can cause interruptions to breathing on their own, most people with sleep apnea actually have mixed apnea, which is a combination of both forms.
Sleep apnea is sometimes difficult to diagnose, simply because it only strikes while the person is asleep and won’t notice that it is happening. Because most people with sleep apnea awake only partially – not fully – so they do not actually notice that they have had their sleep cycle interrupted. Thus, if someone wants to determine if they have sleep apnea,