This paper aims to investigate and present the numerical investigation of airflow characteristics using Turbulent Kinetic Energy (TKE) to characterize the upper airway with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) under inhale and exhale breathing conditions. The importance of TKE under both breathing conditions can show an accurate method in expressing the severity of flow in sleep disorder. Computational fluid dynamics are used to simulate the upper airway's airflow via steady-state Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) with k–ω shear stress transport (SST) turbulence model. The three-dimensional (3D) airway model is created based on the CT scan images of an actual patient, meshed with 1.29 million elements using Materialise Interactive Medical Image Control System (MIMICS) and ANSYS software, respectively. Both high TKE and Rev were noticed around the region after the necking (smaller cross-sectional area) during the inhale and exhale breathing. The turbulent kinetic energy could be used as a valuable measure to identify the severity of OSA. This study is expected to provide a better understanding and clear visualization of the airflow characteristics during the inhale and exhale breathing in the upper airway of patients for the medical practitioners in the OSA research field.