Gasping for air while awake
However, science shows that there may be several reasons why a person would wake up in the middle of the night, gasping for air. If you constantly experience such episodes, be sure to consult a doctor or specialist to treat the problem, as some medical conditions with this symptom can prove to be fatal if undiagnosed or ignored. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that can wake people up in the middle of sleep due to the possible obstruction of the breathing airway.
The reasons of airway obstruction can range from excess tissue, weak airway muscles, position of the jaw, or a large tongue and tonsils.
Be sure to seek the opinion of a sleep doctor if you suspect you have sleep apnea, because if undiagnosed for long periods of time, it can become lethal.
Heart failure can cause shortness of breath that wakes a person up in the middle of the night. This condition is also known as paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, and can be fatal if left untreated.
For those prone to nasal allergies or have bad nasal colds, post nasal drip may be a familiar discomfort, and can definitely cause you to wake up in the middle of night, gasping for air. Since individuals typically sleep on their backs, nasal secretions can migrate down to the throat, which in turn, can block the airway.
Since your throat sensors can notify the brain that the airway is blocked and oxygen cannot flow to the lungs, the brain would send signals to the chest muscles to cough and gasp for air. Thus, people wake up feeling like they are suffocating. Post nasal drip can usually be alleviated with antihistamines or nighttime cold medicine.
It is quite possible that gasping episodes in the middle of sleeping is caused by an asthma flare. Usually, it is accompanied by wheezing, shortness of breath and a sense of tightness in the chest. During an asthma attackthe lining of the airway becomes swollen and thick mucus is produced, which in turn can be the culprit of air shortage. These episodes can be tamed by an inhaler, having regular exercise or medication from the doctor. Another common cause for shortness of breath during sleep is pulmonary edema.
This is characterized by an accumulation of excess fluid in the lungs in the small lung sacs and makes breathing a difficult chore. When an affected individual is lying down, shortness of breath is increased, thus also increasing the risk of waking up gasping for air. Acute pulmonary edema, which is characterized by a sensation of drowning, is considered a medical emergency and should be seen by a doctor immediately.
Sometimes, waking up in the middle of the night, gasping is more of a psychological problem than a physical one. When a person is under extreme stress, suffers from anxiety or has panic attacks, it is very possible to suddenly wake up in the middle of the night with excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat and shortage of breath. You may be in the middle of a vivid nightmare and not even know it until you escape it. As strange as it sounds, it is possible to have a panic attack while sleeping.
Breathing difficulties - first aid
During these instances, seeing a therapist or adopting stress relieving methods can greatly decrease the instances of gasping for breath in the middle of the night. Disrupted sleep, in general, can lead to other medical conditions, such as depression, mood swings and an inability to focus.
Eventually, it can lower your quality of life and potentially be fatal. Be sure to see your doctor if you wake up gasping for air during sleep, because that is not a normal condition by all means. Hopefully this information will lead you to more restful nights and sweeter dreams! May 7th Sleep Apnea Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that can wake people up in the middle of sleep due to the possible obstruction of the breathing airway. Heart Failure Heart failure can cause shortness of breath that wakes a person up in the middle of the night.
Post Nasal Drip For those prone to nasal allergies or have bad nasal colds, post nasal drip may be a familiar discomfort, and can definitely cause you to wake up in the middle of night, gasping for air. Asthma Flares It is quite possible that gasping episodes in the middle of sleeping is caused by an asthma flare.
Pulmonary Edema Another common cause for shortness of breath during sleep is pulmonary edema. Stress Sometimes, waking up in the middle of the night, gasping is more of a psychological problem than a physical one.More than half the patients in cardiac arrest gasp. Gasping has been described as snoring, gurgling, moaning, snorting, agonal or labored breathing. However, bystanders often misinterpret gasping and other unusual vocal sounds as breathing and do not call or begin lifesaving chest compressions quickly enough.
A few minutes later, the gasping stops, and only when the rescuer reports back to the dispatcher do they realize they are dealing with cardiac arrest. Usually, this gasping or agonal breathing stops within about four minutes, which is why many experts have not recognized this phenomenon so far!
Gasping is a survival reflex triggered by the brain and can increase the chances of survival for someone in cardiac arrest. The challenge is to educate bystanders that if they are helping someone in cardiac arrest, not to mistake gasping for breathing.
Contrary as it may seem, a person who is gasping is not OK — they need chest compressions. Many bystanders are hesitant to perform mouth-to-mouth ventilation, and in a case of a witnessed seen or heard collapse, so-called rescue breathing is not necessary and may be harmful.
When the patient gasps, there is a negative pressure in the chest, which not only sucks air into the lungs but also draws blood to refill the heart. In contrast, mouth-to-mouth breathing creates overpressure in the chest and actually inhibits blood flow back to the heart. Gasping during cardiac arrest is much better than mouth-to-mouth breathing.
But what about choking? These individuals need the Heimlich maneuver. A primary cardiac arrest is the witnessed, unexpected collapse of an individual who is not responsive. Cardiac arrest will cause the stricken individual to pass out and collapse within seconds.
Rarely, a patient with cardiac arrest will have a seizure. Bentley J. Transcripts from the Phoenix Fire Department Regional Dispatch Center included information on gasping in patients found by bystanders, whether their collapse was witnessed or not. Among the patients who received bystander CPR, 39 percent of gaspers survived, but only 9 percent of those who did not gasp survived.
Performing uninterrupted chest compressions may cause a person who has stopped gasping to resume gasping. Keep up continuous chest compressions! If you appreciate the content found on our website, please consider a donation to the Sarver Heart Center.
Skip to main content.Q: When I go to sleep at night, I occasionally find myself waking up just as I start to doze off, gasping and choking for air. A: Well, we can probably rule out Freddy Krueger dream-choking you. In the latter case, your choking or burping is caused by improperly digested food flushing upward in the throat.
The solution may be as simple as taking an antacid, having a light and early dinner, or elevating the head in bed. If the periodic choking is sleep-related, your ENT will need to look at your throat for a possible obstruction like sleep apnea, Krespi says.
There is also a similar phenomenon known as a hypnogogic jerk, where you feel yourself falling and suddenly wake up to one of your limbs going haywire: legs kicking, arms waving.
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Quick links. Stopping breathing while awake. It seems like I might be breathing very slowly and shallowly and then I suddenly gasp for air and start breathing again. Sometimes it feels like maybe I forgot to breathe. Is this normal? Is this something common to OSA patients? Am I having some kind of waking central? Does anyone know anything about this kind of symptom? I am going to mention it to the doc but just wonder if it is anything significant.
Re: Stopping breathing while awake.
Wake Up Gasping for Air
Gasping for breath afterward sounds less common, but maybe you're just more aware of it. How hard and for how long do you breathe to recover? Do you feel lightheaded or short of breath when this happens? It's just that I become very aware that I'm not breathing and it's like the breathe is a huge relief. Otherwise, no significant reaction from it. But it is something that I only became aware of in the last six months or so. I'm not terribly concerned about it unless there is cause to be.
Sleepyhead and Encore Pro 2. Last edited by lars4life on Mon May 23, pm, edited 1 time in total. Interesting to know that it has a name. Definitely is on the list of things I'll mention to the doc. AND especially during periods of relaxation. Also I seem to take a big quick deep breath involuntarily ever so often. I think anxiety plays a role in this. My wife says she does the same and she doesn't have Sleep Apnea. Anyways, I asked my doctor about it, and he said it was normal for people to do that.
Gasping for breath while awake tomds. For several months I have been experiencing gasping for breath while I am awake. I will be breathing normally and suddenly my chest heaves and I take a fast, almost alarming, gasp of air. This happens while sitting calmly, walking, or laying down.
It is not related to active or stressful behaviors. I am a male, age 59, weighing about lb, and about 5' 11''. I know I have sleep apnea and it has been diagnosed as being central sleep apnea as opposed to obstructive sleep apnea.
I use a bipap machine, but I am asking about gasping for breath while awake. I don't notice stopping breathing just prior to the gasp. I don't know if this is lung related, heart related, or central nervous system related.
It feeling alot like a stroung hiccup, but involves a gasp.
It has happened twice while I typed this, but I can go hours and not experience one of these gasps. Any ideas? Answer Question. Read 15 Responses. Follow - 6. My idea is for you to head for an emergency room. There about a zillion possibilities, including space aliens. One possible cause is a great big clot that periodically interupts blood flow in the vessel that leads to the lungs. This causes sudden inexplicable air hunger. These clots can develop in healthy person due to dehydration, inactivity, or perhaps a co-factor involving low vitamin K levels.A good night's sleep is important for daily performance.
Anxiety & Panic Disorders Support
However, many people have some issues with sleep and may actually wake up several times a night, with or without some other symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, etc. Do you find that you often wake up breathless? There are a number of reasons why this may occur, ranging from simple nasal congestion to a life threatening condition such as heart failure.
Read on to find out what may be causing this symptom and what you can do to alleviate it. Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder whereby the airways are obstructed. The pause in breathing that can range from a few seconds to over a minute causes you to wake up gasping for air.
Sleep apnea normally occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat relaxes, but may also be a result of excess tissue, weak airway muscles or the position of the jaw. If you think you suffer from sleep apnea, you should undergo a sleep test performed by a sleep doctor. Additionally you may find it beneficial to sleep on the side, avoid alcohol, sleeping pills or any drugs that make you drowsy.
Sudden waking up at night after a couple of hours of sleep with the feeling of anxiety, suffocation and breathlessness as well as a decreased exercise tolerance and swollen ankles is normally a result of heart failure. The condition referred to as paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea is usually relieved by sitting up for about half an hour and individuals are advised to seek the help of a specialist as the condition can be fatal if left untreated.
Nasal allergies and bad colds are often associated with nasal secretions travelling down the back of your throat when you lie down. In severe cases, these can lead to you to wake up gasping for air.
While the condition is not life threating, it is sleep disruptive and you may want to consider taking antihistamines or a cold medication. In the long term it is best to have these medications prescribed by a doctor. Furthermore, an allergy test may help identify the cause of the reaction and you may be able to alleviate your symptoms by simply avoiding the allergen. An asthma attack occurs when the airways are blocked as a result of swelling of the lining and accumulation of thick mucus.
This leads to a shortness of breath and chest tightness, symptoms that will cause you to wake up gasping for air if the attack occurs during your sleep. Asthma attacks should be managed with inhalers that can be prescribed by your physician after a few simple tests.
In patients with acid reflux, the acid from the stomach moves up to the throat. This is particularly worse when an individual is lying down. The acid causes the passages to swell in a reaction that is similar to an asthma attack.
The patient, therefore, wakes up with shortness of breath. Acid reflux can be alleviated by simple lifestyle measures as well as a range of medications depending upon the severity of the condition.
Over the counter remedies for acid reflux should only be used for up to two weeks without medical advice. Stress is another contributing factor in people who complain that they wake up gasping for air.
Stress can lead to severe panic or anxiety attacks that are associated with a number of symptoms such as sweating, feeling worried as well as waking up suddenly with heavy breathing.Gasping behavior in infants and toddlers means that they aren't getting enough air. Many times, this indicates that the airway is obstructed. Gasping can indicate a number of serious conditions.
While some cases of croup and bronchiolitis are mild, if your child is struggling to breathe, it probably indicates a more severe infection. If your child experiences these symptoms, take him to the emergency room to get them quickly evaluated and treated. Toddlers may put objects in their mouth, leading to a dangerous obstruction of the respiratory tract.
According to an article published in in the "International Journal of Medical Sciences," these events are the most common cause of accidental death in childhood.
Children who aspirate a foreign body can have choking followed by noisy breathing. If the airway is completely blocked, children cannot breathe and the condition is serious. If you think your child has inhaled an object, slap your baby's back if she is less than 1 year old. If she is older, try the Heimlich maneuver. Bring your baby to the hospital immediately. Bronchiolitis and pneumonia are common infections that can happen in babies and toddlers. Bronchiolitis is usually caused by viruses and affects babies between 3 and 6 months of age.
Pneumonia can be caused by bacteria or viruses. Both diseases can cause difficulty breathing with gasping breaths, along with fever and cough.
If your child has this set of symptoms, bring him in for a prompt medical evaluation. Croup is an infection, usually caused by the parainfluenza virus. The infection is involves the trachea, larynx and epiglottis. Children are most affected between 3 months and 5 years of age and may have a characteristic "croupy" cough, which sounds similar to a seal bark.
Children may have difficulty breathing as they inhale, and they may produce a high-pitched sound due to partial obstruction of the airway. Croup varies in severity, and while mild cases can be treated at home, severe cases should be treated in the hospital to prevent the airway from closing.
You may think of asthma as a disease of older children, but toddlers can be affected, too. According to Baby Center, 80 percent of children with asthma are affected before their fifth birthday. Asthma is a disease in which the airways episodically constrict, leading to difficulty breathing.
It may be hard to distinguish asthma from bronchiolitis. Children with asthma often have parents, grandparents or siblings with allergic diseases. Asthma can be treated with drugs delivered through the respiratory tract. A variety of metered-dose inhalers are available for very young children. Congenital heart diseases include a variety of malformations of the heart.
Some of these diseases may not cause symptoms at birth. Depending on the type of heart disease, children can have episodes of gasping for air and and a bluish discoloration of the extremities, called cyanosis.