Book Definition: A respiratory disorder in which the person intermittently stops breathing many times while sleeping.

In Your Own Words

  • When a person stops breathing while asleep. Their distress hormones kick in, they wake up, start breathing again, and fall back asleep.
  • The stoppage of breathing while sleeping.
  • The person usually doesn't remember having these episodes.
  • While sleeping, a person who stops breathing completely or is unable to take less than 25% of a normal breath for a period that lasts 10 seconds+.
  • You don't get into a deep sleep, you are stuck in a stage of poor quality resulting in tiredness the next day.
  • Each spacing of breaths can last from a few seconds to minutes, and may occur 5 to 30 times a night.


  • Sleep apnea
  • A result of sleep apnea could be excessive daytime sleepiness, for instance falling asleep while watching T.V. or in school.
  • Very intense snoring.
  • Common in overweight people.
  • It is likely to occur in premature infants.
  • Can be treated with a CPAP machine that continuously forces air into your airways.
  • It is very common among adults but rare among children.
  • It also has biological results, such as elevated blood pressure and dangerous levels of stress being placed on the blood vessels and heart. (To watch an example of sleep apnea occuring use this website. It shows a visual and explains it clearly.)

Sleep Apnea Machine
Sleep Apnea Machine

(this is CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine)

Additional Resources