In this work, a detection and classification method for sleep apnea and hypopnea, using photopletysmography (PPG) and peripheral oxygen saturation ( SpO2) signals, is proposed. The detector consists of two parts: one that detects reductions in amplitude fluctuation of PPG (DAP) and one that detects oxygen desaturations. To further differentiate among sleep disordered breathing events (SDBE), the pulse rate variability (PRV) was extracted from the PPG signal, and then used to extract features that enhance the sympatho-vagal arousals during apneas and hypopneas. A classification was performed to discriminate between central and obstructive events, apneas and hypopneas. The algorithms were tested on 96 overnight signals recorded at the UZ Leuven hospital, annotated by clinical experts, and from patients without any kind of co-morbidity. An accuracy of 75.1% for the detection of apneas and hypopneas, in one-minute segments, was reached. The classification of the detected events showed 92.6% accuracy in separating central from obstructive apnea, 83.7% for central apnea and central hypopnea and 82.7% for obstructive apnea and obstructive hypopnea. The low implementation cost showed a potential for the proposed method of being used as screening device, in ambulatory scenarios.