By Dr. Mercola Sleep apnea occurs when you have obstructions in your airway that interfere with your breathing during sleep. The flow of air can be partially blocked or even completely stopped altogether. Sleep-disordered breathing, a common problem, affects more than half of all men and over one-quarter of women.1 Disturbingly, it’s also becoming more prevalent among children, largely due to processed food diets and lack of breastfeeding. Sleep apnea in childhood has been linked to adverse brain changes that can affect behavior and cognition. Estimates suggest up to 5 percent of children are affected by sleep apnea.2 An even larger percentage of children may be susceptible to sleep-disordered breathing, which is characterized as snoring, noisy breathing or open-mouth breathing during sleep. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent sleep apnea from occurring in the first place, and ways to address it without having to resort to a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.