Stop breathing at onset of trying to go to sleep

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Stop breathing at onset of trying to go to sleep

Postby lgerst » Fri Nov 24, 2006 11:59 am

I stop breathing during the beginning stages of sleep and wake up ia a panic, often jumping out of bed gasping for air. It started 28 years ago and only happened about once every couple of months. Now, it happens daily, even when I try to nap. The only was I can drift off to sleep peacefully is with either, Ambien, Lunesta or a BENZO (like Valium or Lorazepam). The last week it is getting even worse. I get a throbbing small pain near either my right temple area, sometimes either temple area or on the top/side middle of my head. I have been to two sleep studies, but the last one was 2 years ago and that night I didn't have an event. However, I was diagnosed with having mild OSA. The sleep doctor put me on a CPAP machine (which I bought) and it only made the condition worse. He tried every titration and still was bad. I don't know if I have mixed sleep apnea. I had a neurological study done and it turned up negative. I have read about Central or Mixed Sleep Apnea and in my opinion, I might be suffering from it. It seems that my brain-control center for going to sleep have gone haywire. I have read about taking Medroxyprogestorne (Provera, Cycrin, Amen), Acetazolamide (Diamox). Theophylline (Theo-Dur, Respbid, Slo-Bid, Theo-24, Theolair, Uniphyl, Slo-Phyllin), traicyclic antidepressants and selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRI's). I am currently taking Surmontil 100 mg. per day and and Lamictal 125 mg. Please help me if you have any ideas or suggestions. I feel that my body can't handle the stress of this much longer.
Larry
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Postby Linda » Fri Nov 24, 2006 1:49 pm

Hi Larry,

You really ought to know what you're dealing with when it comes to sleep apnea. You really should get a copy of the sleep study report from your last sleep study. I'm guessing from what you wrote that you hadn't, that you were told you have mild obstructive sleep apnea. The report should tell give you a lot more detail about your condition. It should specify both the type and quantities of apneas you experienced during your sleep study. Yes, there are obstructive apneas and central apneas, and mixed is a combination of both types. But the report should give an indication of how many and which type. Also, it will give the severity. You were told mild, and mild is categorized as having 5-15 apneas per hour (called AHI or RDI in the report). Moderate is 15-30, and severe is 30 or over per hour.

As far as medications, I don't know much about those or their effects on apnea or anything else. Perhaps someone else will know.

Have you talked to more than one doctor? Have you talked to any specialists? You mentioned using cpap. How long did you use it? What was your prescribed pressure? The answers may not have any significance, but I'm curious.


Linda
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Postby Guest » Fri Nov 24, 2006 4:04 pm

Hi Linda,

Thanks for your informative and kind reply. I do have a copy of the sleep study report. I spoke to the sleep doctor twice about my symptoms, he doesn't have a clue whats going on. He wouldn't really listen to me, just suggested a CPAP machine. I can not tolerate a CPAP machine, it makes my condition worse. I only stop breathing a the onset of going to sleep... sometimes up to 45 minutes. I don't have any problems after I have been asleep for awhile and don't have any problems if I have been asleep for awhile and then go back to sleep. It is only at the beginning of sleep or a nap. I am convinced that I do have Obstructive Sleep Apnea... but I don't think that it has anything to do with my initial inability to sleep without the ability to breath. I will encourage my doctor to try some of the medications that have been used to try to help those with mixed or central sleep apnea... medroxyprogesterone (Provera, Cycrin, Amen), acetazolamide (Diamox) , theophylline (Theo-Dur, Respbid, Slo-Bid, Theo-24, Theolair, Uniphyl, Slo-Phyllin), tricyclic antidepressants, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). I read on the internet that acerazlamide, theoplhyllinr... are prescribed to stimulate the need to breathe.
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Postby Morpheus » Sat Nov 25, 2006 12:22 am

I'd definitely ask your doc for an auto or flex CPAP, sometimes called an APAP. It adjusts automatically to varying pressure needs.
Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain
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Postby artie » Sat Nov 25, 2006 1:22 am

Be careful with all the sleeping pills, they are all addictive if used for more than 2-3 months on a daily basis and then causing you withdrawal symptoms (weird aches and pains,palpitations, insomnia,shortness of breath, etc.)
The only sleeping pill which is not addictive seems to be Rozerem, which is a melatonin agonist.
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Postby Guest » Mon Nov 27, 2006 12:23 pm

I have this exact same problem. I used to wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air, but for the past several months it only happens when I am trying to go to sleep. It seems if I have a lot of thoughts going on as I'm trying to fall asleep, my mind / body is concentrating on the thoughts and forgets to breathe! Or I don't have many thoughts going on, but as I start to drift asleep I wake up gasping for air. It has happened 20 times in one night lately. I'm trying to wait until January when my new insurance kicks in to have a sleep study, but I'm wondering if there is more to the story. What if your brain just forgets to breathe?
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Postby Jeff12 » Wed Nov 29, 2006 11:30 pm

I have this exact same problem. I have been having anxiety attacks, depression, and alot of stress lately and wondering if that is part of the problem. I take Ambien and that helps, but im completely unable to sleep during the day. I also often wake up very early (around 6-ish) but can go back to sleep without it happening agian. I have a psychiatrist appointment in a week and im hoping i can get some answers.
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Postby lgerst » Wed Dec 06, 2006 3:11 am

Jeff and Guest,

I just saw a sleep doctor today and he knows what I have. I stop breathing at the onset of the transition from awake to sleep. My condition has gotten so bad, that it literally happens everything I try to go to sleep and when I try to take naps. I need to take sleeping pills to make the transistion. After I have been asleep for awhile, I can successful wake up and go back to sleep without an event. The doctor suggest Sonata... because it is short acting. I have been taking either Lunesta or Ambien until now, but they make me sleep too many hours (9-10). The doctor said that I will have to take sleeping piles for sleep and naps the rest of my life. I guess that part of me is satified that I finally have found a sleep doctor that understands and knows eactly what I am experiencing and will help me to try to deal with it. I have another appointment is 6 weeks and will ask the name of my disorder and then share with all that have the same problem. Thank you everyone... I wish the best for you all.

I forgot to add that I have had acute anxiety and depression most of my adult life.... the sleep discorder that I have is getting worse and very scary... when I stop breathing... I wake up with no breath and have to wait for my breathing to start again. Even though the doctor said these episodes are not life threatening, I believe he is wrong... I am 56 now and the heart and brain stress that I feel after each event is taking a toll on me.
Larry
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Postby Hosehead » Thu Dec 07, 2006 3:01 am

Hi guys,
I have OSA and repetetive sleep onset central apneas (i.e. as I'm falling asleep I have a bunch of central apneas until I reach the deeper stages of sleep during which I am remarkably fine). If I am aroused for whatever reason during the night I fall into the same pattern of centrals untill I reach the deeper stages of sleep again. I used to describe it as, "It feels like my body is just too lazy to breath". This may be mixed apnea, but I am not clear on what constitutes a diagnososis of mixed apnea. I am on CPAP (titration showed my snoring/obstructive element cleared at a pressure of around seven) which helps with the obstructive component. Titration has been very difficult because of the centrals and their random appearance. I currently have a pressure of 10.4 which leaves me on average with an AHI of 12-20 - seems to be the best setting so far, but I seldom feel rested and still have excessive daytime sleepyness. I have noticed an alcohollic drink before bed does at times give me better results (really don't want to do that long term though). Also noticed a dramatic improvement if I sleep on top of the bedding (i.e. not under the sheets - guess they can disrupt my sleep at times). The PSG at the lab suggested the centrals may have an anxiety component. I am still very much looking for answers myself. Because of wait times to get into the lab and to get results it has been over a year since I was diagnosed and started CPAP. Have been into the lab three occasions + one MSLT. Keep me posted on whatever you find works for you and I will do the same.
Cheers
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Re: Stop breathing at onset of trying to go to sleep

Postby Lynn Trundle » Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:31 pm

OH MY GOSH..I totally know the feeling you are talking about. I have really noticed it more lately. I will be getting to sleep and all of a sudden feel as if I had stopped breathing and I wake up and focus on trying to breathe out of my mouth to get more air. IT is a really scary feeling. And I'm afraid to go to the doctor because I feel sometimes that all they want to do is tell you your stressed and need an anti-depressant. I will see a new doctor on Monday and I'm going to bring this to his attention to see if it is something he has heard of. I have heard of sleep apnea but I always thought that was something that your body did while you were sleeping and you didnt even notice it. This is truly something I feel before I even truly fall alseep..... LEt me know if you have found out any other information and I to will do the same.
THanks,
Lynn Trundle
lgerst wrote:I stop breathing during the beginning stages of sleep and wake up ia a panic, often jumping out of bed gasping for air. It started 28 years ago and only happened about once every couple of months. Now, it happens daily, even when I try to nap. The only was I can drift off to sleep peacefully is with either, Ambien, Lunesta or a BENZO (like Valium or Lorazepam). The last week it is getting even worse. I get a throbbing small pain near either my right temple area, sometimes either temple area or on the top/side middle of my head. I have been to two sleep studies, but the last one was 2 years ago and that night I didn't have an event. However, I was diagnosed with having mild OSA. The sleep doctor put me on a CPAP machine (which I bought) and it only made the condition worse. He tried every titration and still was bad. I don't know if I have mixed sleep apnea. I had a neurological study done and it turned up negative. I have read about Central or Mixed Sleep Apnea and in my opinion, I might be suffering from it. It seems that my brain-control center for going to sleep have gone haywire. I have read about taking Medroxyprogestorne (Provera, Cycrin, Amen), Acetazolamide (Diamox). Theophylline (Theo-Dur, Respbid, Slo-Bid, Theo-24, Theolair, Uniphyl, Slo-Phyllin), traicyclic antidepressants and selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRI's). I am currently taking Surmontil 100 mg. per day and and Lamictal 125 mg. Please help me if you have any ideas or suggestions. I feel that my body can't handle the stress of this much longer.
Lynn Trundle
 

Postby Lynn Trundle » Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:35 pm

Oh my goodness.... THis sight has finally been a good source for me...... I didnt know how common it truly was...... But it is sooooo scary........ I hate it...... I think it is worse thatn doing it while your sleeping and not knowing...... My husband does have sleep apnea mild.... however he doesnt know he stops breathing... I actually feel it before I ever actually fall asleep... I to plan to have a sleep study......Hopefully that way I might find a little something out...... however if im not actually sleeping while it happens i wonder if they might call it a pre-sleep study...lol
Argh I hope I can find an answer somewhere....Goodluck to ya.....
Anonymous wrote:I have this exact same problem. I used to wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air, but for the past several months it only happens when I am trying to go to sleep. It seems if I have a lot of thoughts going on as I'm trying to fall asleep, my mind / body is concentrating on the thoughts and forgets to breathe! Or I don't have many thoughts going on, but as I start to drift asleep I wake up gasping for air. It has happened 20 times in one night lately. I'm trying to wait until January when my new insurance kicks in to have a sleep study, but I'm wondering if there is more to the story. What if your brain just forgets to breathe?
Lynn Trundle
 

Postby christine » Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:53 pm

Central events during sleep onset are very common, even in people without sleep apnea. It happens because our O2/CO2 balance needs change as we go from one stage of sleep to another. If we think of the O2/CO2 balance needs as a speed limit on highway, I'm sure we have all been guilty of not dropping our speed as quickly as we should when the speed limit changes from 55mph to 35mph (unless there happens to be a cop sitting right by the sign ;-) ). When we see the new speed limit, we often just take our foot off the gas, coasting to lower speed; but sometimes we have to gently brake to bring our speed in line with the posted speed and sometimes the new speed limit sneaks up on us suddenly and we end having to slam on brakes to correct our speed. A sleep onset central is sort of like that- our body is trying to coast from one need level of O2/CO2 to another, and sometimes that means we're not going to breath for several seconds, maybe even more then 10 seconds, until we're 'going the correct speed limit'. But if you panic and think something is wrong because you are not breathing, its like you stomp on the breaks- which not only terminates the apnea event, but also fully wakes you back up. Have you ever been heavy traffic and everyone is slowing down at about the same rate in unison? And what happens if one person panics & slams on their brakes? It throws everything out of wack, the comfortable rhythm & unison all the drivers were experiencing is gone, replaced by chaos.

For the majority of people, like 99+ out of 100, the only concern/problem/issue with sleep onset centrals is any anxiety the person may attribute to them. The sleep on central itself is not stressful on your body anymore then if you hold your breath while walking near an obnoxious odor. Now if a person panics or feels overly anxious when they notice a sleep onset central central, that anxiety can be stressful on the body, making it difficult to fall asleep, as some of you have noticed. And of course once you start feeling anxious & panicky, it only makes the situation worse, as then you're hypervigilant, waiting for the next indication of a sleep onset central event to stomp on the brakes, waking yourself up out of Stage I sleep. Your sleep onset has become like the chaos on the highway from one person slamming on their brakes. The trick is how to keep your sleep flowing & not being the one to slam on the brakes ;-)

I happen to be that 1 out of 100 that experiences significant sleep onset centrals, though for the most part, I just sleep through them. My central events are not limited to sleep onset either, I have Central Sleep Apnea, with an AHI of 60+, which has only recently been able to be fairly well controlled since I switched to the new VPAP Adapt SV from the best available treatment of the time, BiPAP ST. Last fall I had to do another split night sleep study, which was one of the few times I had tried to sleep with BiPAP ST in over 3 years. During the 2 hours without BiPAP ST, I spent over an hour having sleep onset centrals that were so bad they couldn't even score them as apneas because they were happening so rapidly and the sleep between most could only be described as 'microsleeps'. Never once did I panic- central apneas & periodic breathing are normal for me, thought at that level, they are far from normal 'normal'. I knew I was having more problems falling asleep and staying asleep, and that it was due to central events, but the reason I knew it was because my history, not because I was acutely aware of each centrals happening. I could feel my breathing rate slowing down as I drifted off to sleep like it normally did when I used my BiPAP ST, but that was it. I honestly thought I was asleep most of the time, and only woke to the point of being aware I was awake once or twice. Once I did get into Stage II and deeper stages of sleep, I continued to have central events & periodic breathing consistently throughout the sleep study, both without & with BiPAP ST. Even with the VPAP Adapt SV, I still have sleep onset centrals, though they are not nearly as bad as I experienced during the non-treatment portion of that sleep study.

When it comes to sleep onset centrals, if you've had a sleep study that has ruled out CSA as a problem, then it is one of those times when you really need to listen to your doctor when he tells you not to worry about them. Alone, the central events are not harmful, but overreacting to them can be. Central sleep apneas are a normal part of variability in our breathing while we sleep- having some central apneas doesn't mean you have CSA; you have to have a certain number per hour, which excludes those centrals events which are perfectly normal. If you've been diagnosed as having OSA and been prescribed a CPAP, you really need to work with your doctor & DME to make it work for you- as frightening as a few onset central can seem, its nothing compared to the battle your body undergoes as you struggle to breath against an obstruction while you sleep.
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Postby Jack Secret » Mon Jul 02, 2007 5:16 pm

Wow, I am glad to have read this...it happens to me all the time. So much so, that I have a hard time falling alseep for fear it will happen again. Also, sometimes when it wakes me up I feel like me body can't move which also makes me freak out. UGH! What an unpleasent feeling!

I do use a CPAP but over time this started happening even when I wear it. It sounds like I need to make another visit to the sleep doctor.

Thanks for sharing your experiences, as now I know I am not "going crazy".
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Heart weakens or feels like it stops returning to sleep

Postby justme78734 » Wed Jul 04, 2007 8:39 am

I didn't see anyone mention this problem, so I am worried. Usually if feel better when I google search my medical problems and find a forum where people experience the same thing. So far I haven't found ANYTHING on the subject. I am 28 yr male who is having trouble sleeping. Not insomnia for I fall asleep fine usually. It usually happens 3-5 hours after I have been asleep and get up to use the restroom. Upon laying back down I am not able to return to sleep. I feel physically exhausted but just as I am about to drift off, I have heart flutters and feel as though my heart is coming to a stop. I then have to literally jolt myself awake and try a different side to try to sleep on. A lifetime of fighting alcohol addiction has not helped. I smoke very little (3-4 a day) and do not believe this is a factor. Nor the alcohol for I remember many ablissful night of sleeping 9 hours and waking up rested and awake and alert. This has only been going on for the last couple years and was only occurring once every couple months. Sometimes I am SO sick of the feeling, i lie there and say to myself "ok, guess I am just going to die trying to go to bed." Other times it is too frightening feeling my heart slow in such a way that I jolt myself out of my half daze and get up and start my day. I do suffer from GERD, but this is not pain per say in my chest. More like the winding down of my heart to a slow stop. EKGs and ECGs and Stress Test came back normal when last done. Don't think is sleep Apnea nor it does not seem like shortness of breath that I noticed mentioned in earlier posts. Does somebody out there have this problem? Could gas be causing this? Sometimes I don't eat hours and hours before bed because I have woke up with heartburn. I know that feeling and this is NOT it. Even the nights where I drank heavily the night before I could sleep GREAT through the night but this is not happening anymore. PLEASE if you have come across anything similar in a post somewhere let me know.....
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Maybe heart

Postby merywidow » Wed Jul 04, 2007 9:16 am

I am no doctor but the same thing happened to my uncle. He ended up with a pacemaker. Get checked out for heart problems.
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