How does sleep apnoea occur?
Obstruction of the upper airway occurs when the muscles of the upper airway (including the tongue and soft palate) become relaxed during sleep narrowing significantly, or completely blocking the airway, and preventing breathing.
This leads to snoring and breathing difficulties, and breathing either reduces or stops for more than 10 seconds.
The brain then reacts to the stopped breathing, and alerts the body to wake up or move to a lighter level of sleep. In most cases, the sufferer will be unaware of this.
This can occur several hundred times during the night and may cause broken sleep, causing the sufferer to feel sleepy and lethargic the next day.