What is sleep apnoea?
Apnoea literally means "no breath" or "stopping breathing".
If you have ‘Obstructive Sleep Apnoea’ (OSA), the muscles in your throat relax while you sleep. Your throat closes completely and you temporarily stop breathing. This is called an 'Obstructive Sleep Apnoea' or 'OSA'. Other reasons for an obstruction can be a large tongue, obesity or weak muscles in your airway.
When you stop breathing, there is not enough oxygen in your blood, so your brain briefly wakes you up so you can breathe again. This means that throughout the night you keep waking up, possibly hundreds of times, causing you to be extremely sleepy.
There are three different types of sleep apnoea:
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is the most common type of sleep apnoea, which is mainly due to: menopause, weight gain, asthma, large tongue or tonsils. These increase the likelihood of an obstruction of the airways.
Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA)
People with Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA) have a disorder with their central nervous system. The breathing centre in the brain fails to trigger breathing or the signal to inhale is not communicated properly to the rest of the body.
Mixed sleep apnoea
Mixed sleep apnoea is a combination of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) and Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA). While mixed sleep apnoea is more common than CSA, it is less typical than OSA.