Sleep apnea occurs when throat muscles relax, thereby collapsing the airways and resulting in short periods of disruptions in the breath during sleep. These pauses in breathing can occur 30 times or more an hour, and often disturb deep sleep, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, leaving people with sleep apnea overly tired in the morning.
But sleep apnea in particular may have an effect on long-term brain power. A 2008 study found a link between sleep apnea and tissue loss in memory-storing areas of the brain, according to Life's Little Mysteries, and a 2011 study suggested, at least among women, that sleep apnea upped the risk of developing dementia later in life.
Luckily, treatment can be quite successful in limiting symptoms and long-term risks like those below.