An implant placed in the chest can monitor a patient’s breathing and stimulates the airway muscles to open without awaking the brain or the patient, reports 9WAFB.

Ear, nose, and throat surgeon, Dr. Kevin McLaughlin, explains when the brain senses you can’t breathe, it wakes up just enough to stimulate your throat and open the airway. That often results in the choking, snoring sounds so many loved ones of sleep apnea patients know. The extra brain activity also prevents the patient from fully resting at night.

“It would be like someone constantly shaking you every 10 to 15 seconds telling you to hey, take a breath,” said McLaughlin. Lack of sleep can lead to several serious health problems, including increased risk for high blood pressure and heart attack.

While a CPAP machine is the go-to treatment for sleep apnea, Oster says the machine doesn’t work. He’s also had several surgeries, removing tissue from his throat in an attempt to prevent blockages. However, he says nothing has helped.