- Relaxation of muscle at the back of throat
These muscles support the soft palate, the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate (uvula),
the tonsils, the side walls of the throat and the tongue.
When the muscles relax, your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in.
You can't get enough air, which can lower the oxygen level in your blood.
Your brain senses your inability to breathe and briefly rouses you from sleep so that you can reopen your airway.
This awakening is usually so brief that you don't remember it.
You might snort, choke or gasp. This pattern can repeat itself five to 30 times or more each hour, all night,
impairing your ability to reach the deep, restful phases of sleep.
- Central sleep apnea
This less common form of sleep apnea occurs when your brain fails to transmit signals to your breathing muscles.
This means that you make no effort to breathe for a short period. You might awaken with shortness of breath or have
a difficult time getting to sleep or staying asleep.