This doesn't happen often to me, maybe 2 times a month. When I go to bed I feel fine etc. but the moment I cross over from being awake to unconscious sleep, I stop breathing and instantly wake up, gasping for air. It feels like all my air is exhaled but my brain forgets to do the important inhaling part because I have to do it "manually" once this starts to happen. I get a rush of adrenaline and my heart beats fast when I jolt awake - its quite terrifying actually. But it makes it hard to fall asleep.
When this does happen, it happens every time I finally drift into sleep all night, possibly 100 times (I never bother counting because I just want to go to sleep). I'm not really sure how I fall sleep eventually, but it takes hours sometimes. At one point I must just be so tired that I fall into deep sleep faster than it takes my body to realize that I'm not breathing inwards and wake me up. However, I'm always alive in the morning, hooray. Once I get over the bridge to sleep, obviously my brain must kick back in and breath for me.
I have no trouble actually sleeping, I am the deepest sleeper in my family and only wake up because of thunderstorms, earthquakes, or having to pee really bad. I don't snore or choke in my sleep, I'm not tired during the day except when I can't fall asleep till 3 am, and I don't have any other sleep problems. I'm 21 years old, female, and not overweight. Also, this is not something that happens throughout the night, only when I'm awake trying to fall asleep, suggesting that it's not sleep apnea. There are many other people I have found with this identical problem, and most of them (except for the ones that also have sleep apnea) have failed sleep tests for apnea. Also it only happens once or twice a month. I'm guessing that it might be triggered by stress or anxiety, but this also causes me to freak out every 5 minutes when I start to cross into sleep so "trying to be calm" isn't really a viable option.
Also, another thing to note is that I have a inner ear disease that causes vertigo and deafness, but if other people who experience this also have ear problems, then it might be related.
I want to know if anyone has been given a name for this strange condition by a doctor? Anyone have anything they have done to make it stop when it happens so I can just go to sleep? I haven't found any recent forum post about it so I was thinking maybe there have been super awesome advances in understanding this in the last year? If anyone has any information at all, please share! I want to figure this out before it starts happening more often. Thanks people!
Your symptoms describe exactly what is happening to me. I am a healthy 61 year old woman and this started happening to me in January of this year. It was happening two or three times a week. I went to the doctor who didn't seem overly concerned and prescribed me antidepressant/sleeping tablets which I was too frightened to take because I thought I would not be able to wake myself up. It gradually got better and was only happening about once a month up until this week when it seems to have come back with a vengeance. Last night it happened 4 times until I finally went to sleep about 4 am. I am shattered today and already dreading going to bed tonight in case it happens again. Like you, if I wake up during the night and then go back to sleep, it never happens then. I can't seem to find an answer to this problem. I am not at all overweight and am usually a good sleeper.
See the relationship between congestive heart failure and these two sleep conditions:
Orthopnea (shortness of breath while lying down)
Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea (waking up from sleep feeling short of breath)
Summary: Shortness of breath is caused by congestive heart disease. This shortness of breath is often made worse when you lie down. The blood in your leg flows back into the heart. This can bring the heart more blood than it is able to pump.
Wow I just made a thread on this exact thing since its been happening to me. Havent slept in 2 nights because of it & Im also scared of taking sleep meds since I want to make sure my body reacts to me not breathing
I read something online about not sleeping on your back, and something else about cortisol the stress hormone being released, and something else about not having a bright light on.. which I did..
so I put a bunch of pillows up. Laid on my left side (which is good if you have any gas or indigestion which contributes likely) and got a peaceful book and reading lamp.. read for a while, drank some water, ate some whole wheat bread - to keep my stomach calm... and somehow went to sleep easier.
Wow! I've been going through this for a few years now. I am tired. Fall asleep and minutes later jolt out of bed and it feels like I'm either holding my breath or maybe that I panicked when I started to go under. So this goes on every few minutes until maybe about 6 in the morning and then I finally fall asleep without jumping up in a panic. I don't have a job now but when I did I was a zombie going in. I've tried xanax, reflux meds, hot milk, eating before bed, not eating before bed, meditating, having some wine, exercising, now the latest zzquil. It is the most horrible thing to happen because you are so tired and have no control at all over the sudden flight or fight response every few minutes waking you up. I'm so so glad I'm nost alone at least.
I'm 17. When I come home from school sometimes I take a long nap, and the nights that I took the long nap earlier is when this happens to me. I'll almost be asleep, then I wake up in a panic because I feel like I stopped breathing. I feel very aware of things around me, but still very tired. I think the nap might be the reason it happens. It feels like I must not be ready to go to sleep because I've already had enough sleep. Does anyone else think that could be the reason it happens to them?
Am most curious to know if anyone has resolved why this occurs and if, in fact, there is a cure? I've been experiencing the same for many months now and am reading books and trying every alternative other than sleeping pills. Am doubtful it's apnea as I've already completed 2 studies showing 2 different results. In a nutshell, when I get very close to reaching a sleep state, breathing becomes very relaxed but then all stops as I catch myself holding my breath. As a result, I abruptly wake to a more conscious state ... the cycle continues throughout the night. I've been getting very little sleep for several months now (if any - like 1-2 hours). I want to resolve and not simply rely on sleeping pills! Can anyone shed some new light so I can get some sleep.
About 20 years ago I caught a cold, and ever since I was congested. Went to the doctor, got tested for allergies and got scoped. Found out I had developed allergies and had a deviated septum. Surgical and weekly allergen shot solutions seemed to guarantee they would temporarily make you worse, with far less guarantee they would eventually make you better. So I coped with combinations of nasal sprays, Claritin and a Netipot for the past 20 years. Sometime early on in the 20 years I developed the sleep jumps you all described. I believe it was because I was so in tune with my breathing and if I was stuffed or not, I developed the breathing anxiety. Over time I have become much better at remedying my congestion issues, but I still have the anxiety jumps even if my nasal passages are clear. I am married and like many people with breathing problems I like a fan on me and window open, even in the winter, which of course the spouse loves. About 6 months ago I fell asleep in the front room, fan on, window open and got the best sleep I had in a long time, so I started sleeping out there. My wife is not thrilled about it, but she can be toasty and I can freeze my butt off and we both sleep great. Up until two months ago, I could begrudgingly handle everything. Two months ago, the sleep jumps came back, but now the duration I can sleep is also being affected. Now I get 2-5 hours a night max. Saw my doctor yesterday, he didn't mention sleep apnea, getting tested, etc. I think I need a new doctor because you tell him what you think is wrong and that is what he treats he doesn't look at other options. Last night I took the new treatment, had clear nasal passages, but still the sleep jumps. So I guess what I am trying to figure out is if a) I have sleep apnea or anxiety. Short of a test, does anyone know if apnea is consistent or can it leave for months on end and then return. b) If you can easily sleep 8-10 hours and then within a few days drop consistently to 2-5 hours a night would this be more indicative of apnea or anxiety.
I believe it's caused form stress, even if you don't feel stressed, I think subconsciously our minds are and they are still running around even after we fall asleep and are overly exhausted. i have alway had anxiety (never seen a doctor about it) and recently the last few months it has gotton really bad where I have actual panic attacks(where I feel disconnected or out of control of my body and everything around me, it surreal and scary) out of no where even when I'm not thinking about anything. Since I have been dealing with these crippling attacks I started having the same issue with the sleep spells. I have never had a problem with sleep before I could sleep for 24 hrs and not even know it I love sleeping. But the last few months, not every night and not even on the nights that I have attacks, I get woken up thinking I am holding my breath. I believe my mind is not fully shutting down because even though I might not feel stressed my body is. I wish there were more studies done on this because it is a real pain.
I completely agree and I believe its stress related. Few month ago I had breathing issues everyone was describing and it went away eventually. The last nights it came back and last night I had it for much longer than usual, this was when I started to worry. I was scared to fall asleep just to experience it again. I turned on TV and listened to it whilst having my eyes closed since I was so tired. I have a history of panic attacks and anxiety on and off since 20years. My life has been rather stressful and sad recently so I am not surprised it came back. Our mind needs an exhaust and stress must come out somehow. Some people develop a strange nervous habit, some people experience a pressure in the throat (like feeling something is in there) although everything is medically fine, can be anything and some stop breathing when they fall asleep. Does make sense, doesnt it? Some of you may think but I dont have anxiety, it can manifest in different ways and can be rather subtle. If I dont have severe anxiety, deep down I at least worry a lot. What a waste of time really. But stress alone could do that I am convinced. I guess doing exercise would be a good exhaust or yoga. BTW when I feel anxious during the day I sometimes have issues breathing in deeply. It takes a bit, like breathing shallow few times until I can breathe in deeply. I reckon its the same sort of thing. If you read up on anxiety and panic attacks its all too normal I guess once we accept it, it gets easier whilst working on stress relief.
I like everyone that posted also have sleep apnea symptoms. I have had a breathing problem since my Jan 2011 lung surgery. So it scares the hell out of me when I fall asleep I wake up gasping for air and my heart rate is fast. It would only happen to me once in a while and I would take tums and I would be fine as it seems like acid reflux may be a contributing factor to this problem. Last night every single time I dozed off I would wake back up almost immediately gasping. I did have acid reflux symptoms and took 5 tums as well as pepto bismol and nothing helped. Now I am fearful that it is going to happen all the time and I won't be able to sleep at all. Was awake all night. I was taking Ativan to help me sleep and want to go off it because it is addictive and wonder if that could have happened last night because I stopped taking them without weaning myself off them. If that will prevent the gasping then I will stay on them. Any thing is better than the feeling that you just stopped breathing. I dread going to bed soon because I am fearful of it happening again tonight. The breathing issue that I was left with was difficult enough to deal with now this. If it wasn't for bad luck I would not have any at all. I do agree that more studies should be done so we all have a better understanding of it. I hope it goes away for all of us as it is really scary.
What you're all describing is called Hypnic Jerking. Often brought on by an infection or inflammation from toxicity. Benzodiazepines are sometimes the only (temporary) way to break through to sleep. I don't know any more re: long term fix. Does anyone have an update on their progress?
This might contribute, or be worst ended by anxiety, but anxiety is not the cause of this disruption in crossing over to sympathetic nervous system. I have a situation also where if I turn my head to the right to sleep, I don't just jerk, I stop breathing.
Hypnic jerks and what's being described here is two different things. Hypnic jerks is the feeling of being jerked awake as you are falling asleep. What's being described here is the feeling that you stopped breathing/or was holding your breath as you fall asleep. I experience both and would prefer hypnic jerks anyday. I also suffer from extreme anxiety and before developing anxiety I never experienced any of the two while trying to fall asleep.
Wow just read this and you d swear it was me that started thread, I have had this for years, infact have it right now so I turned to Dr Google, I've as always put it down to a few things change of hormones each month with cycles, anxiety, over tired strangely have problems with ears nothing diagnosed but have tinnitus and vertigo. This has always happened on flights too.
i just returned from Dominican Republica today and have this exact issue. I am scared.
I was worried go to DR because i developed a cold/bronchitus the week before leaving...the last thing i wanted to do was go to a foreign country with a low immune system. i did anyway...and drank and drank and drank and hardly slept for 5 days...further running my body into the ground.
Now...3 days before i left i went to the doctor and he gave me steroids and antibiotics to take to help my body get back into gear before my trip. i took them and took some of them while on my trip...but i partied instead of helping my body
also...all that being said...since i was drinking...and smoked a gazillion cigarettes on this trip(not a normal smoker) which wasnt good for whatever i developed before i left my trip
I am 17 years old, and I also have a similar sleep problem. I've had it for 10 years now, and it doesn't happen very often but sometimes when I sleep I stop breathing, only my body doesn't wake me up. I have to first realize that I am not breathing(because I am usually so entranced in my dream or getting enough sleep that I don't notice until my head starts hurting really bad) then I have to make a sudden movement like throwing myself to one side of the bed (I have fallen off a couple times from this) to wake myself up. I didn't think it was sleep apnea really because it doesn't happen that often and it only occurs once when it does happen.
If anyone knows how to fix this or what it is at least, let me know! I would really appreciate it!!!!
This has been what's happening to me. But it hasn't happened since I've started anti-anxiety medication. I think it has something to do with stress and anxiety because I'm full of it unless I take my meds.
Well I googled, "shallow breathing keeping me awake at night." And so here I am. For the past two nights, this exact thing has been happening to me. I am overweight and have attributed this problem to that but maybe it is more....my stress level has been way higher than normal. I remember having this before....but my doctor prescribed Ambien and so I usually don't have that problem (or if I do I don't remember). However, I have not taken it the past two nights. The past two nights have been horrible, waking up (what seems) every five minutes and feeling like I am not breathing. Just wondering if anyone else here has a weight problem?
I realize this is an old email trail but wanted to share that I stop breathing and it’s NOT sleep apnea!
I would just start drifting asleep and immediately wake up gasping for air! Or even when I laid down, I would feel myself stop breathing! SCARY!
For me is was my GI track, GERD/Acid reflux/ maybe even Hiatal Hernia!
Follow the GERD diet (look it up) no acidic foods, no chocolate (until this clears up) no alcohol, etc!
And Drink plenty of water when THIS happens (day or night).
I am not sure why it effects our breathing but it DOES! Especially when I am trying to fall asleep, it wakes me up IMMEDIATELY (Gasping for air) and I realized I had stopped breathing and it causes your heart to beat fast and can cause anxiety! I am curing it and it is almost gone, but if I cheat on the diet and have fried foods AND Cheetos and BAM that breathing thing started again!
Here is what I am taking and I promise I am NOT a seller of any of these items, I feel you can buy anything you want, but this is what has me back to NORMAL:
I want to tell you FIRST it took me a good 2 weeks to start getting back to normal BUT you will start seeing results immediately!
I went to Whole Foods (my husband calls it "Whole Paychecks:!!!) and bought everything :
1. Stomach Formula (in the pink and white big bottle) by Lilly of the Dessert, I drink 2 cap fulls first thing in the morning and 30 minutes before each meal. And yes it’s not the best tasting thing but I would rather get WELL.
2. Digest Gold by Enzymedica (THESE HAVE SAVE MY LIFE) I take 1 with every meal!!! It stopped my burping and any acid reflux!! I won't go anywhere without these. I am getting better and I stopped taking them with every meal HOWEVER, I started eating crappy again and got that breathing thing again and I started back with every meal and it works like a charm!
3. Chewable Super Papaya Enzyme Plus (these are just like TUMS but all natural and they work)!
4. Last but not least Probiotics, this one you will have to test on your own, for me I have to take it WITH FOOD in the morning and put food on top of it, or else I get trapped gas!! NOT FUN.
So just a recap, I take the Stomach Formula first thing in the morning and 30 before each meal
I take the digestive enzymes WITH each meal, breakfast lunch and dinner.
I take the probiotics once to 3 times a week
And I take the Chewable Papaya enzymes whenever I feel heartburn or acid reflux or uncomfortable stomach
AND DON’T FORGET TO DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. Especially if you wake up and have DRY MOUTH with that gasping breath thing!!
I pray this helps someone! I was so scared when this breathing thing happened (night and day) I started taking anxiety medicine but found out it was my GI track (GERD) all along and I finally weaned off of my anxiety medicine (but it will give you anxiety because it’s so scary)
I prayed in Jesus name, give me the Wisdom and He did! God Bless you all. Stephanie
If I had to say what has helped me the MOST is Drinking water as soon as I get those breathing things, I also get shortness of breath!!
So drinking water, Stomach Formula and Digestive enzymes!!
Thank you for that. I have suspected GERD also and have found that when i treat myself for GERD it sometimes helps but not always. i have also suspected chocolate to be a problem. i will certainly try your suggestions... in fact i will try ANYTHING to get on top of this!
This keeps happening to me too it is so scary!! I am 26 years old, healthy weight. Last night was terrible as im falling asleep I stop breathing and gasp for air. its terrifying, sometimes taking that breath in that I need feels hard. I too cant get an answer from doctors etc but I cant keep going on like this. I will lose my job soon if it continues though lack of sleep. Im shattered. I cant believe there's so many of us going through such an awful thing & no-one has been given a diagnosis. Im scared 1 of these nights im not gonna wake up in time Has anyone else managed to get an answer yet? Hope we all sleep well tonight! x x
The same problem happens with my mother. It is really scaring. She is 45years old and the same thing happened with her last night. I do not understand what the actual problem is. is it sleeping disorder or something else