Sleep Terms Glossary

The “voice box”. This is the organ of speech, breathing and swallowing. It is located in the neck at the level of the “Adam’s apple”. The vocal cords are located in the larynx.

This term is used on our web site to describe the air passages in the nose and throat, leading to the lungs.

The part of the soft palate that hangs down in the middle of the throat.

Acid Reflux
Food, acid and digestive enzymes that flow up into the throat from the stomach. This can happen more often at night and cause sleep apnea.

From the Greek, meaning want for air. It means that breathing at night while asleep has stopped for at least 10 seconds. Some episodes can last longer than one minute.

Oval shaped tissue in the back and side of the throat that can become enlarged by infection and lead to narrowing of the airway with resultant snoring and sleep apnea.

A mound of tissue in the back of the nose that can become enlarged by infections and lead to narrowing of the airway.

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In some cases hyperactivity in children is caused or made worse by sleep apnea.

BMI (Body mass index)
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both adult men and women.

The CPAP machine delivers a stream of compressed air via a plastic tube to a nasal pillow, nose mask or full-face mask, splinting the airway (keeping it open under air pressure) so that normal breathing becomes possible, reducing and/or preventing sleep apnea. This has the additional benefit of reducing or eliminating the extremely loud snoring that sometimes accompanies sleep apnea.

Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI)
This is a measure of the number of apneic events per hour of sleep detected during a sleep study. It is commonly used as a clinical measure of the severity of sleep apnea. 5 events or less per hour is considered normal. 5-15 is considered mild sleep apnea. 15-30 moderate, and greater than 30 is considered severe.


BlueSleep Medical Center  65 Broadway, Suite 901  New York, NY 10006  Office Phone: 212-683-0174