I am an epileptic, I don't know if that has any relation with these symptoms. When I'm finally reaching a deeper sleep, my heart actually wakes with painful pounding and I'm drenched with sweat. I feel a rush, I'm light headed and there is a choking feeling, right before my body gasps for air. This has been happening nightly, and only when I'm just about to enter deep sleep.
I know I'm a shallow breather; but a lot of my symptoms point to a panic attack as well. I have been stressing more than usual lately. This could possibly be related to my seizures.
My neurologist didn't seem concerned, he told me to find a psychiatrist..
I too am a victim of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, in my case only at advanced age and mild... so I'm mostly lucky on this count.
A home test I made that go me on the track to a sleep study, very expensive so insurance is a important help, was the purchase of an Oximeter (over the web for under $30). This allowed me to check my oxygen saturation level when I awoke with symptoms similar to yours. The meter also give a quick and dynamic read on on heart rate. To the point I found some saturation level in the low 80% range. I discussed this with my primary care doctor who prescribed an at home (very economical - even if no insurance) recording Oxymeter test. That confirmed I had periods of low oxygen when asleep...this lead to a full sleep study which diagnosed me a mild and overweight (hey I am/was almost 6'6" but 240 pounds it seems was too much) I lost about 10% of my body weight (20+ pounds it varies based on my will power) and the symptoms stopped as far am my feelings go. I do not plan to undergo another sleep study and adoption of a CPAP (is that the right designation) sleeping mask until I am again troubled. I suppose I'm taking some risk, one can suffocate I believe, but being mine is mile and I sleep with my wife of 50+ years it is unlikely that will happen.
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