All my life I've had this issue, sometimes once a year, sometimes every night for a week. I'll be asleep, dreaming, and I will simultaneously become aware of the fact that I am dreaming, and the fact that I am not breathing. I suddenly remember where I fell asleep and where I am (even though I cannot open my eyes to see). I'll make every effort I can to either wake myself up to remember how to breathe, or to signal to someone else to wake me up. I think I can wiggle my finger a little, oh if only they could wake me up. 30 seconds feels like hours. I feel just what I used to feel when I was young and we would have "how long can you hold your breath" contests, except with the added panic of being murdered by my own brain.
Finally, I jump up, gasping for air.
Sometimes it doesn't last 30 seconds, but those are the ones I remember most. I've tried searching websites and asking my friends and family, but people have told me that this is just "sleep paralysis", and even though I feel like I'm not breathing, I actually am. They say that people who have sleep apnea aren't aware of it until someone else takes notice. But it just feels too real to put it away. What are your thoughts?