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HealthInfo Canterbury

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)

Obstructive sleep apnoea (known as OSA) is a common medical problem where you stop breathing in your sleep for 10 seconds or longer. You wake up briefly each time you stop breathing, which means you have a very disturbed sleep. People with OSA tend to feel very sleepy during the day, and are more at risk of having a car accident.

While OSA can affect anybody, it's more common in middle-aged people, especially men, and people who are overweight and who snore. OSA is also very common in people with diabetes.


If you often feel very sleepy during the day, especially if you have a job as a driver, or operating machinery or aircraft, make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible.

Do I have OSA?

If you think you might have OSA, or if you (or your partner) are worried about the quality of your sleep, make an appointment with your GP.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Sleep Unit, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed June 2016.

In this section

Sleep assessment

Living with OSA

Treatment options for OSA

CPAP therapy

More information about OSA

Page reference: 46061

Review key: HIOSA-12505