Sleep apnea is a disorder which is characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing (apneas) or abnormally low breathing (hypopneas) during sleep. These apneas can occur due to a lack of respiratory effort, due to a physical blockage to airflow, or a combination of both. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of apnea and occurs where there is a physical blockage of airflow.
Snoring, on the other hand, is caused by vibration of respiratory structures due to obstructed air movement during breathing while sleeping. This is often caused by the uvula (the tissue that hangs down in the back of your throat), an elongated soft palate, a large tongue or obstructions in the nasal area.