Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) are breathing disorders which occur during sleep due to the narrowing or total closure of the airways. Unlike snoring, sleep apnoea is potentially a killer and requires attention. If you snore you may not have OSA but OSA is often associated with heavy snoring.
When snoring, the flapping, noise-creating soft nasal/throat tissues collapse and the airways partially or completely close for some time. This may result in very shallow breathing or no breathing at all for a time – this is called an Apnoea. Apnoeas may be as short as a few seconds or as long as several minutes resulting in a lack of oxygen supply to the blood and brain. The sufferer has to wake him/herself up to breathe again. Thus sleep is disturbed and interrupted. Even though OSA sufferers may experience hundreds of apnoea episodes each night they are unlikely to remember any of them. Partners of OSA sufferers are often the first to bring this to their attention.