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Strange Involuntary Breath
I am a 53 year old female, non-smoker and have no weight problems, and no known health problems.

Over the past two years, I've had numerous episodes where my body takes involuntary deep breaths, one every 7-8 minutes, interspersed with my normal breathing.  The intake of breath can be when inhaling or exhaling, and it when it occurs, it disrupts a normal breath.  Often the involuntary breath feels "catchy" as if I'd been crying or sobbing when in fact I have not.  

When the involuntary breaths first started, Sometimes I would go for 3 months without an episode, but then it would come back again, last for a few weeks and go away again.

Within the past 4 months, I had a horrible cold, and then a bad case of bronchitis.  The involuntary breathing has started up with the cold, and it is now contiunous, every 7 to 10 minutes or so.

I recently had an upper endoscopy, and finished a regiment for h pylori bacteria, however this annoying problem remains.

Is it possible this could be related to stess?

I've mentioned it to my doctor, and she doesn't seem to be concerned about it,  Unfortunately, it is of concern to me, and I have no idea what might be causing it.

Any assistance that can be provided would be greatly appreciated.
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Not sure if you got my reply post. Have they assessed you for cystic fibrosis? Trouble with fatty foods? Mucus in your stool?
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Thank you for your input.  I have issues with my neck, such as a herniated disk.  Im not sure when I started this annoying breathing problem.  I hope it is what you say.
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I was randomly gasping for air,very frequently,mostly in the evening,long story short ended up having pulmonary function test done,which resulted in a diagnosis of Asthma, was put on a puffer with great improvement,, recently had sleep study test done,which concludes I don't have sleep apnea, when I mentioned that I still have occasional gasps, the Doctor felt that was an indicator that my Asthma is not yet under control and that my puffer may need to be changed,we'll see.
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I agree!
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I also have the same problem. for a few years now and it seems to be getting more frequent. it can happen at any time with no warning whatsoever. It always attracts attention when I am in company and distresses me because it is antisocial and embarrassing. if I am lucky it is just a sharp intake of breath, but that still can attract attention as it can be mistaken as a reaction to someone's discussion.At worse it is a loud snort which sounds horrible. My father used to suffer the same infliction. I am a 43 year old male. I can best describe it as an involuntarily sharp intake of breath, which doesn't feel anything like a hiccup. More a hiccup without the immediate halt of inhalation.
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im 15 almost 16 im a huge cross country runner i run 6 times a week anywhere from 5 to 9 miles daily and recently i get these strange sharp involuntary gasps/hiccup type things and it hurts sometimes but i dont wanna tell anyone cause i dont want them to have me go to the doctor and it be really bad. it mostly occurs when im really pushing myself like up hills or sprints but it happens after words for awhile and during school randomly or when i get nervous ( because i do have anxiety and minor depression) im very worryied about this it affects my running sometimes but does anyonehavea clue what it could be?
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See your doctor.  
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I am a 15 year old female, with no health problems, and i am not overweight. I also have this annoying hiccup type thing, it has been happening for about a month now,
Sometimes it occurs every few hours or sometimes its only like 2-3 times a day. I do not know why it happens either, but i am going to do more research on it
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Yes, I have sleep apnea and also numerous surgies
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Did a course of action help with this problem.   I have same issues. Incl snorting from time to tiem
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That's exactly what's happening to me at the moment. I had my gallbladder out 10 days ago. I still feel like  I have stitch in my side and keep getting these involuntary intakes of air.
Do you know if this happens to a lot of people or can it mean something more?
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I experience one or two of these involuntary breaths each night as I am going to sleep.  It brings me to complete relaxation and oxygenation of my body, followed by deep relaxed sleep.  I wish I could voluntarily replicate the wonderful depth of breath, but I can't if I try. My body does it on its own, apparently as an indication I am reaching a peaceful place. I love it, and see it as a gift my body gives me.

Does anyone else enjoy their deep involuntary breaths?  
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Something tells me it's not just one reason. The stories vary in that some have had no health issues and others have had strokes or major surgery.

I am curious if anyone else has Mediterranean Anemia. I read that it can 'cause shortness of breath. I have it. I wonder if it contributes at all.

Since some say it has to do with nerve damage...I wonder if a lot of people experience these breaths crack their joints a lot. Maybe cracking one's neck/back/feet can 'cause nerve damage? No idea.

Also, I have restless legs as well. They used to be a lot worse but have calmed down over the past 1-2 years.

I still get the involuntary breaths. They can stop for weeks and sometimes I get them several times a day. I really hope I find the reason why one day.

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Take Magnesium for Restless leg syndrome it works marvolous!
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Take Magnesium for Restless leg syndrome it works marvolous!
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atelectasis is the complete or partial collapse of the lung or lobe or the lung and is actually quite different. We will see it in the hospital if someone after surgery doesn't exercise their lungs well.
I find your other group of diagnoses very interesting though...especially hypothyroidism & gallbladder disease or removal.
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Thanks for this information about the phrenic nerve problem.  I also take massive gabbapentin for spine issues.
I also experienced a loss of strength in the left hand first 3 fingers several months back.  A neurologist dr asst said it was coming from my neck.
I damaged the occipital nerve in my neck 20+ years ago in a car wreck.  Nothing could be done, just lived with the pain and issues.

I need 4 bones removed from my back for stenosis, degenerated disc, herniated disc. plus fusion.  3 doctors would do different surgeries.

I ended up at a pain clinic and dr said to put it off as long as possible.  I have for 1 year so far.  I also had lumbar laminectomy in 1990.  Horrible experience and 2+1/2 years to not be in pain daily!

So, I suppose I will be back at neurologist for the fingers and breathing issue!  Geez.  Live is not good except in small doses!
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I also have had hypo-thyroidism 45 years.  I suppose the phrenic nerve may be an issue as well as my spinal conditions.
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Im 22 and experiencing these symtoms for a month now im scared so muxh once it happens once in the day I cant control my worry its starting to happen one after another I went to hospital who said they think its anxiety/stress related but I dont belive it is I dont have it while having a panic attack or anything I get it at random times I first had ot in my sleep now and again for years but its now a day thing I cant leave my house it scares me so much that im going to stop breathing because sometimes when it happens I feel im not getting a breath in even though I am ? I cant belibe how people have described it perfectly as I tried to tell the doctor at hospital what was going on he had no idea what I was talking about and even giggled abit but im so scared and just need reasurring that this isnt something sinister
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I am a 49 year old healthy, non smoking female and had my gallbladder removed this past Monday, Dec 1, 2014.  Since the removal of my gallbladder I have been experiencing sudden involuntary gasps of breath and noticed it shortly after surgery on way home from hospital.   Have not spoken to the doctor about this as I am hoping that it's just part of the healing process; however, after reading all of the posts regarding such - I'm not so certain anymore?
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I have only read a few of the entries on this forum as there are so many but my status is as follows:
64 year old female
divorced but living with partner who has cancer
two grown up children
three grand children
lansoprasol & naproxen taken for osteoarthritis
work p/t through choice (love my job)
I consider my life good with nice holidays but would say I can easily get 'down'
My sudden intakes of breath always happen when I am trying to get to sleep at night and at no other time.
I wonder if this problem is related to anxiety as I have huge difficulty sleeping at night and although I try not to worry about it I wonder if I am getting anxious at bedtime because of it.
Also I have noticed a lot of people's symptoms seem to happen following surgery which could be as a result of anxiety too.
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Teddyeddy, did you ever find out the problem?  My symptoms are a lot like yours.
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Hello. Thank you all for this subject. I was able to put my problem in and this site came up. I have been doing this involuntary intake of air for over a year now. Mine is all the time day and night. Over a year ago I had been to a Neurologist which thinks it's not a "nerve thing", a Lung Specialist who did some tests and says my lungs are fine and then a Heart scan which my heart is functioning normal. I just gave up after that and was ready to live with it until a month ago. I have gotten worse. My intake is much deeper now causing pain just below my ribs and above my stomach when I do that intake. I am very fatigued and just want to lay down all the time now. I was having lightheadness but that has gone away. I haven't been at work for two weeks now and trying to get approved for Short term disability since I am just not functioning right.
I just went back to the Neurologist and again without any test being done he said he has no answer for me and is sending a referral to a local University. I don't understand why when they can all hear me doing this involuntery intake of air, that they don't know who can help me. I don't know about the rest of you but I just can't live like this. I am totally interrupted! Has anyone had any successful diagnoses? Please help me.
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I have a feeling that this is a neurological issue.
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Has anyone found out anything new about this condition. I have it also. A lot of people on this thread were going to have follow ups with their MD,s but I never heard back. Mine happens while trying to sleep, even wakes me up. Have not had a good even 5 hours of sleep in a Year. It's taking it's toll.
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  Hang in there !  The answer is out there somewhere. Don't give up !
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I am 43 and have recently started having problems breathing on my left side while sitting down for about a month and a half now. I have spent much time researching online the possible cause and of course over thinking the worst possible outcome. At the  same time I am not one that likes to see a doctor about every little problem. I went to my chiropractor and explained the problem, he made adjustments,  felt a little better, but still happening. So I decided to go back and have him do an xray. Looking at the xray sure did explain ALOT! I knew I had scoliosis,  but never thought it was bad enough to cause any problems. Well, it so happened that the small curve in my spine was the exact spot where I am having breathing difficulties. My spine is being compressed causing my ribs to feel almost out of place. There really is nothing that can be done due to the maturity of my bones. He suggested doing daily stretches (away from the side that hurts) and of course more regular visits to him if needed. I hope this helps. I didn't want to go to my regular doc because I knew they would probably send me 10 other places to no avail. Get an xray, look at it yourself, you'll know if that's the problem.
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Do you have the  Involuntary breaths too ?  So many people have posted about this problem 4 & 5 years ago. Yet no one has posted back with any positive results or answers. I guess that is kind of a bad sign for all of us.
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yes i do.  do you?
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Yes. Mine happen at night, just as I'm about to fall asleep. They can even wake me out of a sound sleep. Just a deep uncontrolled breath, sometimes a snorting sound. They can happen 5 or 6 times, or every 10 minutes. Makes it hard to get a good night sleep. Do you get them at night ?
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Where did everyone go ? Well I'm hoping it's a good sign no one has posted in a while. Maybe , in time, it just all goes away. It stops as strange & unexplained as it came. Good Luck Everyone !
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still trying to contact you.
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I've also got the same problem and after studying all comments on this thread the first thing that jumps out mostly is the strong connection to sharp intake of breath and sleep problems.  My reason for sleep problems is due to severe depression. Sleep depravation can be due to many different reasons but mostly as I've observed here it's the most common reason for the sharp intake if breath syndrome on this thread . We know that most doctors are a bit dismissive of this condition and I think we should be a bit more demanding of our GP's. It is uncomfortable for some, a nuisance, can be embarrassing not to mention worrying. So! I for one am going to push for some Tests to be done which a lot of GP practice's are reluctant to do unless its an obvious matter of life and death due to the financial impact it has on their practice's. Whilst we respect the fact they have a budget I feel it should still  be taken more seriously.
We have to look after ourselves so let's all give an extra push and make sure we are healthy after all we pay our national health so they should help..let's not be put off OK.  Good luck everyone and I wish you good health.
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I've also got the same problem and after studying all comments on this thread the first thing that jumps out mostly is the strong connection to sharp intake of breath and sleep problems.  The reason for my sleep problems are due to severe depression. Sleep depravation can obviously be due to many different reasons but mostly as I've observed here it's the most common reason for the sharp intake if breath syndrome on this thread .  The second one seems to be  thyroid problems. We know that most doctors are a bit dismissive of this condition and I think we should be a bit more demanding of our GP's. It is uncomfortable for some, a nuisance, can be embarrassing not to mention worrying. So! I for one am going to now push for some tests to be done which a lot of GP practice's are reluctant to do unless its an obvious matter of life and death due to the financial impact it has on their practice's...these tests cost them which makes an unwelcome dent in their budget...I think it's only the people who insist and won't be fobbed off with perhaps  a home remedy suggestion? Are the people who are heard.  Whilst we respect the fact they have a budget I feel it should still  be taken more seriously.
We have to look after ourselves so let's all give an extra push...maybe talk a bit louder...or listen to their suggestion and then repeat what we want....(at least a referral) ... That would be a good start right! We need to make sure we are healthy after all we pay our national health so they should help..let's not be put off OK.  Good luck everyone and I wish you good health. Right I'll step down off my soap box now.
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Yes I also enjoy them. They started a few years ago, when I was about 56, and after going through a particularly stressful several years. I get them infrequently, like once a week. It does seems to relieve stress, it's calming - and feels good.
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Hi, the involuntary breaths also happen to me and started when I was pregnant with my first child 12 years ago.  I would like to know what kind of cancer you had and if you had any other symptoms.  I would love to hear back form you.
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I have to say that I also enjoy my sudden involuntary intakes of breath and find them relaxing and strangely comforting. I too feel oxygenated and whilst relaxed also feel invigorated. They somehow seem to 'cleanse' and clear my brain in readiness for sleep. I've recently had reason to have my blood oxygen checked and it was absolutely fine. I personally think it's a perfectly normal bodily instinct for survival, a natural oxygen leveler at times of physical stress (illness), emotional stress or environmental stress.

I'm 62, overweight (according to national statistics), Hypothyroidic (for 33+ years), family history of cardiac problems, still working, still happy (probably because I'm now single) and still loving life. I realise some people are very poorly and they have my greatest sympathy, but really folks I think de-stressing, chilling out and being more laid back is more of a lifesaver than any medication. Que Sera Sera.

I wouldn't be without my 'sharp intakes of breath' - love 'em!!

I wish you all the best.
BQSS

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I am a 69-yo male who started having this breathing issue about 10 days ago. Every so often I find myself taking a deep, sighing breath and on the inhale I have that sob interruption. My theory is that in my case it is caused by my starting to take a beta-blocker which reduced my pulse by about 33% around the same time these symptoms started, and that I take these deep breaths in order to compensate for shallow breathing and lower oxygen uptake due to a slower pulse. That does not explain the hitch or sob during the inhalation, however. If I find out anything more, I will reply again.
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I was reading about what Natalie Cole just died from and I have those same symptoms. Which seems similar to what you are speaking of here.
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I have been taking medication to lower blood pressure and now I have a low heart rate (52 thumps a minute).  I have a feeling this might be the cause of my involuntary breaths,gasp,sighs (whatever) as my problem started about the same time too.
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I too lost a child 4 years ago. Have been under a lot of stress with her leaving five kids.  The snorts (I call them) just started after a copd exacerbation episode for which I was hospitalized. I Have been home for 3 weeks snorting. Had sleep study, 02 was dropping to 70. They said I just stop breathing. Smoker for 48 years I quit six months ago, overweight, I am 60, have panic attacks, both hips replaced. Sound a mess.  Also get acid reflux. I Was on steroids and wondering their effect on this. When I came home this last time. my back hurts if I stand longer than five minutes, the left side of my bum goes numb and I have to sit down, and the snorting stared. So this really makes me wonder about a pinched nerve issue causing it from laying up In the bed for weeks. I do catch myself not breathing and shallow breathing, they make a breathing tube called a flutter/flute. I have  started using that to build lung capacity and it also breaks up mucus. Going to do the breathing exercise someone else suggested too. I'm hoping to find an answer here, I see a lot of ideas.

Very sorry for your loss, no one should have to feel the pain of losing a child should they.
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I am a 68-year-old female, and I have been having these involuntary breaths for about two weeks.  I was diagnosed with sleep apnea several years ago but do not use the CPAP machine.  I wake myself up out of a deep sleep when I have held my breath and gasped for air.  It doesn't seem to bother me, as I feel rested after eight hours of sleep and do not feel sleep deprived.  I don't like this sudden involuntary breathing.
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My mom (52) has similar problem. Though it does not hurt but still is discomforting as the reason is not known. One person mentioned that it stopped for her after stopping neurotin. Hope for my mom also it stops.
She is currently taking TB medicine as well as Neurotin for partial seizures.
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What is "sobbing breaths' attributed to?
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I was told by my doctor that the "sob breathes" were due to being fatigued.
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19542098 tn?1479678999
I have Sleep Apnea, have had it for years and use a CPAP every night. I've never had the sudden breath intake problem before. Since August 26, 2016. I was in a chemical accident where I was doused with gasoline for approximately 45 seconds. Needless to say it burned my eyes, as well as ingesting and breathing both fumes and liquid. I have had chemical pneumonia since then. That is when my sudden breath intake began. I will either be stationary or ambulatory and it will occur, day or night. My belief is it is a pulmonary issue. You might want to check to see if you have come into contact with chemicals, even if you were in a room where someone was using a strong cleaner that was overwhelming. Deffinately see a pulmonologist.
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Panama85,
Sunshine of Michigan,
Well in Michigan they approved the medical marijuana law, but it has created a huge problem in apartment living because the smell is seeping into my apartment at night and I will cover my nose with my blanket and I will try not to breed deep afraid of inhaling the smell and smoke into my system and that's when it all started. But if I am outside in the fresh air, it doesn't happen. I complained to the landlord and she said she's working on the problem. If the problem is not resolved by August, I will be moving. I am 62 and I don't need to be exposed to that.
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Has anyone found a solution? Or at least a placebo? The involuntary inhale of breath started for me 6 months ago (January). Sleep used to be so easy for me, but then a few years ago I began to have blocked sinuses. Eventually, I learned I had a deviated septum. So sleep just became semi more difficult to obtain. Then came January. This “thing” came out of nowhere and kept me awake for three days. It eventually lessened, but it came and went the months to follow – only happening when I’m close to sleep. But now it’s doing it every time I try to sleep. I’ll blissfully nod off and *sniff* my nose inhales enough to wake me, and my heart starts pounding. And once my heart starts pounding, it’ll stay that way all night. I know it must be a number of things: stress, my deviated nose.

But why did it start in the first place? And why is it getting worse? Last night I got no sleep at all. I’m scared it’ll be like this for the rest of my life.

I wondered if anyone found anything that helped them control it or at least stay asleep when it happens?
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I have the same problem. I've posted about it 2 years  ago under sleep-e. It has been off & on for about 4 years. I just went 2 weeks with no problem and now last 2 days symptoms back (just as you describe) maybe 2 hours of sleep. I'm sure the heart pounding is caused by the anxiety of knowing you won't be able to fall back asleep. I get the same thing. If I didn't get the involuntary inhales I would sleep just fine. I've tried a Benzo (Clonazepam .5 mg) and it helps me get 3 straight hours of sleep. I didn't need for the last 2 weeks,but will take tonight. I'm still trying to figure this thing out too. Stay strong, the answer is out there .
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Hope you've been able to get some sleep ReadingInEden. I'd like to hear how you're doing. Our symptoms are exactly the same (they only happen when I try to sleep not during the day)  My "thing" has been pretty bad since the 4th of July. I'm getting about 3 hrs. of sleep a night if i'm lucky.
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Hey, Sleep_E. I apologize for disappearing. I genuinely hope you have been getting more sleep. I know all to well the struggle and frustrations and horrendous effects that comes with our infliction.

I've been better. The last few months have had good and bad. It's 4:30 in the morning and I've been trying to going back to sleep and staying sleep for the last 2 and a hour hrs. Obviously, no success.

So, not sure how long this'll be but here it is:

I used to sleep upright in my bed, supported by pillows and pillows, and eventually a wedge. It didn't help, so I moved to the floor with only one pillow to support me and noticed a huge change. And for two weeks or so, I was sleeping beautifully, even if I was sleeping on a thin topper mattress and dog bed - why argue with results? I wasn't dreading going to bed, slept through the entire night, woke up without begging to be put out of my misery - even took long, peaceful naps. It was heaven and I honestly thought I had been cured. Wrong.  

Slowly, but surely, the symptoms started to come back. It wasn't as bad as before, so I kept sleeping in my makeshift bed. It wasn't until I had a Doctor appointment that I feel must have jinxed it. I told him that, while it was still bothering, wasn't as nearly as bad as it once been. Lies!

Even since then, I've been declining into madness. This morning has been the worst in a long time. In the last week or so, I've been able to eventually stay asleep without that "sniffing" thing waking me back up. But not this morning. I must have dozed off about a minimum of 6 or 7 times in the course of 2 1/2 hours, only to be awoke by that "sniff" every time.

It are mornings (or times) like this when I don't get enough sleep that I get unhinged.

I see a sleep specialist next week. Hopefully, I will learn something - anything.

I wonder though, if it might not have something to do with my deviated septum. I was curious if you or anyone else here has one? Mine came out of nowhere. They say it happens when there is trauma to the nose or something, but all I remember was one day I young and sleeping wonderfully and able to breathe - the next, I was struggling to sleep and my nose was always plugged.

Anyway, that's more or less what's been happening. I utterly pray for everyone here to find out why this is happening. Or just to be able to sleep every night without having to fight a war to feel rested. Those two weeks when I slept were absolute glorious. If only it had stayed that way.
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Hope the Sleep Specialist was able to give you some answers
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Hi ReadinginEden. It was good to hear you were able to get 2 weeks of sleep. It helps to know it can get better even though you're having a rough time now. No I don't have a Deviated Septum, yet our symptoms are the same. The longest I can go is 2 weeks too with normal sleep, then back to problems. It does seem to be at it's worst in the early mornings. Good Luck with the sleep specialist. It don't think my problem is Apnea related. I don't ever stop breathing or feel like I can't get air. It's just a abnormal sharpe breath that can come in the middle of a normal breath. If it's ok let me know how it went with the specialist. Keep the Faith the answer will come.

   sleep_e
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Hey, Sleep. I agree, our symptoms are very much alike. I tried describing the very same thing to the sleep specialist and, unfortunately, he couldn't wrap his mind around what I was describing. He was less helpful than the ENT, whom I saw and suggested it might be a part of the nose that closes or something something. She spoke, using medical terminology and left before I could ask any questions. So, the sleep specialist was a dead end. He thought it might be allergies and suggested a nose spray, but I don't feel that's the answer. I will still try it, just, ugh. I wish I knew the answer. Thinking that I'll suffer from this for the rest of my life, always tired, doesn't help the morale. I know, I know - have faith.
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I know the feeling of coming home from the Doc disappointed. I think the answer will come from someone on this thread getting lucky and finds an answer. The bad thing is you and I are the only one's left that post anything. I think in my case it's a type of Hypnic Jerk (limb movement or jerk right as you're about to fall asleep) but instead of a limb it effects my diaphragm. This causes the sniff or snort that wakes us up. I have a Dr. appointment Oct 5. I'll ask some questions. Check back here now and then. I'll keep trying.

Good Luck

    Rick
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I know the feeling of coming home from the Doc disappointed. I think the answer will come from someone on this thread getting lucky and finds an answer. The bad thing is you and I are the only one's left that post anything. I think in my case it's a type of Hypnic Jerk (limb movement or jerk right as you're about to fall asleep) but instead of a limb it effects my diaphragm. This causes the sniff or snort that wakes us up. I have a Dr. appointment Oct 5. I'll ask some questions. Check back here now and then. I'll keep trying.

Good Luck

    Rick
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It'd be wonderful if someone on this thread found an answer, but I'd love for them to post what they discovered/found/thought it might be. I'm so desperate, I'm clawing at anything at this point. I have a working theory that mine might be the result of an overacting heartbeat, but a theory, nonetheless. The sniffing is mostly random, yet I also noticed that when the "sniff" happens and wakes me up, my heart begins to race and once the racing begins, the sniffing is more incline to happen. It is like an unending circle - one feeds off the other. Good luck with your DR appointment! I always try to have my questions ready, but count on me to think of more the moment I step out of the office. I really hope your Doctor has an inkling of what it might be.
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Hey, sleep_e, I was wondering, how did your Doctor's appointment went?
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Hi Eden. Sorry I didn't post right away. I told my GP the symptoms so she sent me for a Chest X-Ray. It showed some scarring at the base. She ordered a CT Scan and everything seems to be ok. I have a sleep study (overnight stay) on Nov. 1st. Not sure if that will show anything. How have you been doing. I'm still sleeping bad. Hope you're doing better.

     Rick
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Hopefully your sleep study will wield some results. At least, more than mine did. If you or they find anything, feel free to keep me updated. All these tests and drs appointments and no closer to an answer. One day, hopefully.
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