This area is for Sleep Apnea questions and general Sleep Apnea Discussions.
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?
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- Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:12 pm
Hi and welcome to the forum,
You know, I have heard a number of people describe dreaming of not breathing. Many describe waking up gasping. And those were later tested and diagnosed with sleep apnea.
And it's true that many people who have sleep apnea aren't aware of it until someone else takes notice. Some are surprised to learn they have apnea. Others are aware of strange dreams or having problems breathing upon awakening. For those who don't notice anything, I suspect they might not reach REM sleep often enough, or don't reach deep sleep, or they are just not as aware as others as they wake up.
I don't remember dreams of sleep, but I frequently woke up, bolted up in bed, wondering why was it that I didn't want to lie down, especially since I was so utterly exhausted. I later realized I was having trouble catching my breath while sleeping, but it took a long time to notice it.
Anything that indicates trouble breathing is worth taking seriously. Your description alone should be enough to warrant seeing a sleep specialist, perhaps a pulmonologist. Do you have any other symptoms of sleep apnea? Are you more tired during the day, have any morning headaches, or any other symptoms? Even if you don't have other or few other symptoms, it could be sleep apnea. Not everyone who has apnea exhibits most of the symptoms.
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Ditto what Linda says. Get to a physician who is accredited in sleep medicine and get tested. I call those kinds of dreams my "apnea dreams". For years I couldn't figure out why I was having these dreams where someone was trying to hurt me or I was suffocating. I never woke up gasping for air so whether you do or don't, or have dreams or not, what you describe is enough to get evaluated.
Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.
Marilyn Vos Savant
That which does not kill you makes you stronger-Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich must of had apnea.
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