Sleep apnea is a direct result of the airway getting choked by the tongue. The tongue is attached to the center of the lower jaw and lays over the top of the airway. During sleep, the jaw drops and the tongue may slide and block the airway more intensely. If this should happen, there is not enough air entering the lungs, the amount of oxygen in the blood drops, and this in turn places a strain on the heart and brain. With time, this sequence of events can contribute to an increased risk of blood pressure, heart attack, heart rhythm problems such as atrial fibrillation, stroke, and even death in sleep.