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Sleep Apnea Overview  |  Types of Sleep Apnea  |  Sleep Apnea symptoms  |  Video  |  Causes of Sleep Apnea  |  How to get tested  |  Sleep Apnea FAQs 

Sleep Apnea is a common sleep disorder that's treatable

Sleep apnea (also spelt sleep apnoea) is a common sleep disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour. Typically, when normal breathing resumes, this can sometimes begin with a loud snort or choking sound.

Your breathing is affected most often when the muscles that control the upper airway relax too much during sleep. If they relax too much, the upper airway narrows and you may begin to snore. If the airway narrows even further it may become completely blocked and you temporarily stop breathing. This ‘obstructive’ apnea can last for ten seconds or more, it may happen frequently and even several hundred times a night. If this sounds familiar, you may have sleep apnea. Take our Online Sleep Assessment.

Airway Open
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Airway Narrows
Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Airway Closes

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea OSA (described and shown above) is the most common, central sleep apnea and mixed sleep apnea or treatment-onset central sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea symptoms

Common Male Sleep Apnea Symptoms:

  • Fatigue / excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Heavy snoring
  • Poor concentration
  • Poor memory
  • Low Energy
  • Waking up unrefreshed
  • Gasping / interrupted breathing while asleep

Common Female Sleep Apnea Symptoms:

  • Fatigue / excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Heavy snoring
  • Insomnia
  • Restless legs
  • Morning headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Depressed mood
  • Waking up unrefreshed
  • Gasping / interrupted breathing while asleep 

How can sleep apnea affect your health?

Every time an apnea occurs, your body increases its effort to breathe and your vital organs struggle for oxygen. This alerts your brain to wake up and make you breathe again. This can lead to experiencing the kind of tiredness that affects your quality of life, work and relationships. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.

What are the causes of sleep apnea?

  • Throat muscle weakness causing the throat or tongue to relax more than normal during sleep.
  • Obesity (fat gathering in and around the throat in particular).
  • Obstruction in the nasal passageway or nasal congestion.
  • Relaxants such as alcohol or drugs that cause the throat muscles to relax too much.
  • Sleeping on your back (this may result in your tongue dropping to the back of the mouth).
  • Pregnancy
  • Swollen adenoids or tonsils, especially in children.
  • Medications, including sleeping tablets.
  • Age - as you reach middle age and beyond, your throat becomes narrower and the muscle tone in your throat decreases.
  • Small upper airway (large tongue, large uvula, recessed chin, excess tissue in the throat and/or soft palate).
  • Shape of your head and neck - may create a smaller than normal airway.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea video

Watch this video from ResMed, which provides a simple explaination about what Sleep Apnea is:

Sleep Apnea's effects on daily life

The fatigue, daytime sleepiness, poor concentration, low energy and depressed mood caused by the disorder can have a major impact on your everyday life. These symptoms should signal the need for sleep apnea solutions. In addition to complications with work, family and friends, one of the greatest concerns with these symptoms is the risk associated with motor vehicle accidents. With its serious health risks, many are in search of a sleep apnea cure.

A number of studies on this condition in Australia have highlighted its relationship with the increased risk of motor vehicle accidents. Austroads cited a number of studies in their 'Fitness to Drive Guidelines' (Austroads 2006) which indicated that:

  • People with this condition are two to seven times more likely to have a motor vehicle accident than people without the condition; and
  • The disorder impairs driving performance to a similar extent to illegal alcohol consumption or sleep deprivation

When a person undergoes cpap treatment, these risks greatly decrease.

Other health risks

When you experience breathing problems while sleeping as a result of this condition, extra strain is repeatedly placed on the brain, heart and other vital organs. Every time an apnea occurs, your body increases its effort to breathe and your organs struggle for oxygen. Over long periods of time, the lack of oxygen and strain on the body can take its toll. Some of the other known risks linked to the disorder are hypertension, obesity, stroke, heart attack, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and increased susceptibility to motor vehicle accidents. Many sufferers today are looking for a sleep apnea cure and treatment is the only way to eliminate these symptoms. It is recommended to seek sleep apnea solutions as soon as possible to avoid further complications. At ResSleep, you can find a range of sleep and snoring solutions that can help improve your sleep’s quality.

How do I know if I have sleep apnea?

Doctors are unable to diagnose sleep apnea during a routine visit, nor can any blood test help. To test for this we offer a Medicare rebated sleep apnea test, which can be done at home.

Some of the signs of having sleep apnea are a good indication, as follows:

  • Has anyone said that you snore?
  • Has your partner witnessed you gasp or stop breathing during sleep?
  • Do you sometimes wake up unrefreshed in the morning?
  • Do you sometimes wake up with a headache in the morning?
  • Do you sometimes struggle to stay awake at the end of the day?
  • Have your energy and motivation levels decreased?
  • Do you find it difficult to concentrate?


If you have answered ‘Yes’ to two or more of these, then you are at a higher risk of having sleep apnea and should seek further medical advice.

Ready to improve your sleep?

icon-sleeping.pngAt ResSleep we offer a sleep test that can be administered in the comfort of your own home. To find out if you should have a home sleep test, complete our online sleep assessment.

Once you submit this, we will review your assessment and contact you to advise what steps you should take next. 

Take our FREE Sleep Assessment

If you or your GP decide that you should take a sleep test at home, ResSleep can help. Here's what you need to do:

3 simple steps to taking a Sleep Apnea test at home

Step 1

Get a referral from your GP

If you would like to claim the Medicare rebate, you will need to get a referral from your GP.

Click here to download a printable referral form for your GP to fill out. Please be sure to bring this with you for your sleep apnea home test.

Step 2

Book a Sleep Test appointment at ResSleep

Call 1300 925 387 to book a time to see one of our Sleep Therapy Consultant who will guide you through the home test process and equipment. You'll take home the testing device to record your sleep. It will measure factors like snoring, frequency of apneas, oxygen levels, sleeping positions, and more. 

Step 3

Sleep Test results review

Upon returning your Sleep Testing device, an independent Sleep Physician will analyse the results of your test and issue a diagnosis and treatment recommendation report. This doctor specialises in treating patients with snoring and other sleep disorders. A Sleep Therapy Consultant will then meet with you to discuss your test results.  

Book your at home sleep apnea test

To book a sleep apnea test at one of our sleep clinics or to take a home sleep apnea test, simply fill in the form below or call us today on 1300wakeup (1300 925 387).

We can answer any questions you may have and arrange a convenient time for you to take the test. We have sleep clinics throughout Australia in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and beyond - view all our sleep clinic locations here.

Sleep Apnea Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-diagnosis FAQs
  • How common is sleep apnea?
    In truth, it affects men and women, young and old, and fit and overweight people and can also be hereditary. In Australia, sleep apnea affects 3 in 10 men and 2 in 10 women. Read more

  • Is sleep apnea hereditary?
    While there are many factors that can put someone at risk for sleep apnea, there is a strong possibility that sleep apnea can be hereditary. To understand how sleep apnea comes about, it’s important to understand what it is caused by and the main misconceptions. Read more

  • Is snoring and sleep apnea related?
    Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea.

    Sleep Apnea is a condition borne of snoring. It is estimated one in five snorers have Obstructive Sleep Apnea where the upper airway partly or completely collapses during sleep, making it difficult to breathe.

  • What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
    Morning headaches
    - Memory or learning problems and not being able to concentrate
    - Feeling irritable, depressed, or having mood swings or personality changes
    - Waking up frequently to urinate
    - Dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up
    Daytime sleepiness
  • Who is at risk of sleep apnea?
    There are many different types of people who think they couldn’t possibly have sleep apnea, like younger women. But young, fit women can still have sleep apnea. Read more

  • Can you snore and not have sleep apnea?
    While snoring is a strong indicator of sleep apnea, it doesn’t always indicate sleep apnea. The best and most conclusive way to determine whether your snoring is a sign that you have sleep apnea is to have a sleep test. ResSleep has a sleep test that you can do in the comfort of your own home. Click here to find out more.
Getting Tested & Diagnosed FAQs
  • I suspect I have sleep apnea, what should I do?
    If you or a loved one suspect you have it, you should be tested as soon as possible.
    Start by completing our online sleep assessment . This free assessment has been developed by our Medical Director, a practising Sleep Physician, and evaluates you for the most common symptoms of sleep apnea. Once submitted we will review your symptoms and advise you of what next steps you should take.
  • Is there a sleep apnea assessment quiz?Yes, we have an online sleep questionnaire that’s designed to evaluate the most common symptoms of sleep apnea.

 Take our FREE Sleep Assessment

  • How are you diagnosed with sleep apnea?
    A home sleep test is a very accessible and cost effective way of diagnosing sleep problems, such as snoring or sleep apnea.  It is important to recognise the symptoms and take this simple test to see if you're at risk. This will enable you to seek quality treatment for sleep disorders as early and as quickly as possible. Read more
Post-diagnosis FAQs
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