While reading about sleep disordering is Chapter 5 I came across a section that I found particularly interesting. The section was on sleep apnea, which is a disorder that causes people to stop breathing in their sleep and wake up frequently throughout the night. According to the book, sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of airways during sleep, but I also read in my second source that another cause of this can be from the brain failing to send signals to the muscles to breath.
This disorder strikes particularly close to home because my family has a long history of sleep apnea. For years we've known my grandfather, aunt, and a few uncles have this disorder, but recently my father was diagnosed as well.
The book describes symptoms of sleep apnea as snoring loudly, gasping, and sometimes stopping breathing for more than 20 seconds. My father snores louder than anyone else I've ever met and when we finally coerced him into doing a sleep study we fully expected his diagnosis of sleep apnea. What we didn't expect was the extent to which he has it. He was informed that he stops breathing 138 times and wakes up 145 times an hour! Although the book mentions people with this disorder can stop breathing hundreds of times a night it's still hard to grasp this kind of frequency. He was told that to be diagnosed with sleep apnea you have to stop breathing for more than 10 seconds 20 times an hour. Needless to say he far exceeds the minimum. I find it fascinating that a person can stop breathing over twice a minutes and remain completely unaware of it.
Textbook:Psychology-From Inquiry to Understanding