Sleep Apnea

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Example of normal breathing during sleep, obstructive sleep apnea, and treatment through an oral device.


Sleep apnea is a medical disorder where one has one or more pauses in their breath or shallow breaths during sleep.There are two main types of sleep apnea; “Obstructive, the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax and can result in loud snoring; And Central, which occurs when your brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.”(Mayo Clinic) Sleep Apnea occurs when you stop breathing for 10 seconds or more while sleeping. this decreases the blood oxygen level and can wake you up. Sleep Apnea is not a problem during the day because when you are awake, there is good “muscle-tone” and your brain is still maintaining the breathing process. However at night, your throat muscles are relaxed and “the brain is not tentative to the airway”(OSA). AHI or Apnea/ Hypopnea Index is essentially a way to measure sleep apnea severeness. By use of a polysomnogram (PSG), can help determine how often a patient is experiencing sleep apnea in one night and can help determine the severity.
There are many factors like anatomy and lifestyle choices that affect sleep apnea such as body weight, alcohol consumption, tongue and tonsils, head and neck shape, and aging (ASAA).


There are many different ways that Sleep Apnea can utilize HIT. As of right now, there are a few different types of mobile applications that can be used by patients and doctors alike that will help track the sleep cycle and even help people fall asleep. These apps can be used to detect any disturbances within a patients sleep cycle and can then be shown to a physician to help diagnose a patient with sleep apnea and move forward to help treat the condition. The application emits inaudible sound waves towards the patient's body while they're asleep, similar to a PSG and oximetry, a way of measuring the concentration of oxygen in the blood.
There are apps for iOS devices, Android devices, and Windows phones. This makes the apps very accessible to anybody who would like to track their sleep cycles and would be able to show their physician if sleep apnea is suspected. Sometimes changing your sleeping pattern, positions, and lifestyle could help with sleep apnea, and these apps would be able to help determine whether or not they are still experiencing disturbances in their sleep after changing their sleeping and lifestyle habits.

Web Resources:

Oregon Sleep Associates

Mobile Sleep Apps

Mayo Clinic- Sleep Apnea

American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA)

American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Sleep Education

Extreme Tech

Related Terminology:

  • AASM (American Academy of Sleep Medicine) - The American Academy Of Sleep Medicine, the governing body for sleep medicine and sleep disorders centers.
  • CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure - A machine that creates a pneumatic split in a persons airway, thus allowing them to breathe.
  • CSA (Central Sleep Apnea) - Pauses in breathing while asleep that are not caused by an obstruction but rather by a disorder of the central nervous system.
  • Complex Sleep Apnea - Sleep apnea that displays both obstructive and central characteristics.

Source: (OSA)


Sleep Apnea. OSA. n.d.

Sleep Apnea. Mayo Clinic. 7/24/2012

"American Sleep Apnea Association." American Sleep Apnea Association.

"What Is Sleep Apnea?" - NHLBI, NIH. Web.

"Snoring and Sleep Apnea." American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. 22 Apr. 2014. Web.

Pappas, Stephanie. "A Good Night's Rest: The Best Sleep Apps." LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 23 Jan. 2015. Web.


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