Breathing problems during sleep are usually first recognized by others who observe you while you're sleeping. A common breathing problem that affects many people is sleep apnea (AP-nee-uh). If you have sleep apnea, you're likely to fall asleep easily, but then stop breathing, and wake up suddenly gasping for air. Some people experience this several hundred times a night. Sleep apnea is caused by a temporary blockage of your upper breathing passages, and often results in heavy, loud snoring and restless sleep. Other symptoms of sleep apnea include daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, short-term memory loss, impotence, and personality changes. These symptoms result from the lack of quality sleep caused by the condition. If left untreated, sleep apnea may lead to an increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke, or heart attack. Quitting smoking and losing weight loss can sometimes help reduce the symptoms of this condition. Treatments, which may involve minor surgery, generally focus on attempting to ensure that airways are kept open, allowing oxygen and air to be taken in freely. For more information, consult a local health care provider.