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What is sleep apnea? People with sleep apnea stop breathing for 10 to 30 seconds at a time while they are sleeping. These short stops in breathing can happen up to 400 times every night! If you have sleep apnea, the periods of not breathing may make you wake up from deep sleep. If you are waking up all night long, you aren't getting enough rest from your sleep. There are two kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive apnea and central apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type. Nine out of 10 people with sleep apnea have this type of apnea. If you have obstructive apnea, something is blocking the passage or windpipe (called the trachea) that brings air into your body. You keep trying to breathe, but you can't get enough air because of the blockage. Your windpipe might be blocked by your tongue, tonsils or uvula (the little piece of flesh that hangs down in the back of your throat). It might also be blocked by a large amount of fatty tissue in the throat or even by relaxed throat muscles. Central sleep apnea is rare. This type is called central apnea because it is related to the function of the central nervous system. If you have this type of apnea, the muscles you use to breathe don't get the "go-ahead" signal from your brain. Either the brain doesn't send the signal, or the signal gets interrupted.