Feeling out of breath after running a few miles is normal. Being out of breath while you sleep is not. But millions of people with sleep apnea are literally out of breath every night, according to the National Institute of Health.
If sleep apnea sounds Greek to you, that's because it is -- apnea is Greek for "without breath." People with sleep apnea stop breathing in their sleep -- sometimes up to 100 hundred times an hour -- for one minute or longer.
There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and mixed sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common and is caused by a blockage of the airway that occurs when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes.