What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that causes breathing problems during sleep. Your breathing may slow down more than it should, become too shallow, or stop altogether. Sleep apnea is a serious but treatable medical condition; consult your doctor if you have concerns.
What causes sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea can be caused by:
- Medical conditions that affect your hormones
- Disorders that affect your brain or nerves, such as a stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Chiari malformations
- Heart problems
- Kidney conditions
- Certain genetic disorders
- Large tonsils
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Colleen Ehrnstrom is a licensed clinical psychologist with a specialty practice in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Areas of expertise include insomnia and other sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression.
Dr. Ehrnstrom is not a medical provider and is not providing any recommendations regarding medications. Rather, she is sharing and reviewing the research as it relates to education when learning how best to treat insomnia.