What exactly is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when a patient’s breathing during rest ceases for ten or more seconds. These pauses may be brief, but they can repeat dozens, even hundreds of times every night.

There are two main types of sleep apnea: central sleep apnea (CSA) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). CSA occurs when the brain simply fails to send a signal to the patient’s brain for them to inhale and exhale, while OSA takes place when breathing cannot occur because of a partial or full blockage in the patient’s airway. Some patients may even experience a combination of CSA and OSA.

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Man sitting on the edge of bed in nightwear resting his face in both hands

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

woman pinching the bridge of her nose with her eyes closed

Sadly, there are so many possible symptoms for sleep apnea that a wide majority of cases (around 80%) are either not diagnosed or diagnosed incorrectly. Some of the most common indications include the following:

  • Chronic, excessively loud snoring
  • Morning headaches
  • Morning sore throat and/or dry mouth
  • Constant feelings of fatigue and exhaustion during daytime hours
  • Difficulty with concentration and/or memory
  • Mood swings
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Regularly waking up and having to gasp for air

Let us help you get better sleep


If you suspect that you’re suffering from sleep apnea, the first step is for your case to be correctly diagnosed. At Sleep Better Illinois, we recommend completing our sleep quiz. It’s a simple exercise and will allow Dr. Tim Stirneman to have a clear indication of whether or not further intervention is required.

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