Summary Introduction The obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSA) is a frequently occurring condition, which is becoming a major public health problem because it can be responsible for accidents due to excessive daytime drowsiness and because of associated cardiovascular complications. This study was aimed at testing the practice and knowledge of general practitioners relating to OSA. Methods Three hundred and thirty-four French military practitioners were surveyed using a questionnaire sent to them by post. Their results were analysed and compared to previously published data. Results Hundred and eight (32%) practitioners answered our questionnaire. About half of them (the younger practitioners) were comfortable with the management of this condition. Their knowledge about the risk factors and the symptoms of OSA was good but their knowledge about the physiology and the possible complications of OSA was insufficient. Conclusions The results of this study are on the whole better than those previously published, and show that education has had some effect in this area. However, it remains the case that OSA is under diagnosed and a further intensification of efforts are needed to address this.