For Jason Johnson, nights were anything but restful. The 16-year-old high school student would often wake up with difficulty breathing.

“I would wake up in the middle of the night really congested,” Jason said. “It was hard to breathe.”

Loyola Medicine otolaryngologist Paul Jones, MD, diagnosed Jason with sleep apnea, a sleeping disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted. It is usually caused by something blocking the airway.

While sleep apnea can occur at any age, it is less common in teenagers. Sleep apnea is usually discovered in school age children ages 3 to 6 and in older adults.