Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person stops breathing or has pauses in their breathing during sleep. These breathing interruptions are caused when there is a partial or complete collapse of the upper airway or throat during sleep. These breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and may occur 30 times or more an hour! Anyone who stops breathing 30 times or more an hour likely has severe sleep apnea. And the brain and the body may not get enough oxygen. Sometimes after a breathing pause, a loud snort or choking sound can be heard when the body returns to normal breathing. And if you have a bed partner they may complain of your loud snoring which is often a sign of sleep apnea.