Sleep apnea is a disorder which causes one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep.
Paused or shallow breathing caused by sleep apnea causes shifts from deep sleep into light sleep, reducing the overall quality of sleep and causing ongoing sleep disruption.
Sleep apnea can be treated with lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, breathing devices, and/or surgery.
For mild sleep apnea, a custom fitted mouth piece or some lifestyle changes (weight loss, smoking cessation, clearing nasal passages) may be helpful.
For moderate to severe sleep apnea, a breathing device called CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), or surgery to widen the breathing passages by shrinking, stiffening, or removing excess tissue from the mouth or throat or resetting the lower jaw may be helpful. A CPAP machine uses a mask that fits over your mouth and/or nose and gently blows air into your throat. The continuous air pressure helps keep your airway open while you sleep.