What is sleep apnoea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a breathing disorder which occurs during sleep and leads to the narrowing or total closure of the upper airway. During sleep, the body’s muscles relax. This causes the soft tissue at the back of the throat to sag and lessen or completely obstruct airflow.
OSA sufferers typically fall asleep and snore until the airway narrows or close. The lack of oxygen causes them to gasp and they become semi-aroused from sleep in order to reopen the airway. With airflow secured, they return to sleep. This alternation between sleep and semi-arousal continues throughout the sleeping period. OSA sufferers may experience hundreds of these apnoea episodes per night but they are unlikely to remember them. It is often the partners of OSA sufferers that become first notice the symptoms of OSA, which include:
- Loud snoring
- Fragmented sleep, causing morning tiredness, daytime drowsiness and poor cognitive function