Sleep apnea is a serious, potentially life-threatening disorder. It occurs when the flow of air during breathing decreases or is completely blocked during sleep. It may be accompanied by a lack of oxygen and a disruption of deep sleep. People who have sleep apnea usually snore heavily, gasp for air and toss and turn throughout the night. Typically, a family member brings the disruptive sleep pattern to the attention of the patient, after all you don’t know what you do when you are asleep.