In the last month, I can recall two times where I've been woken up due to the fact that I couldn't breathe and was gasping for air. I could breath, it just felt like it was hard to do and I wasn't getting enough air in. But also, those two times I could remember having a bad dream also. I was wondering if my dream sent me into a panic mode or is it something totally different.
It sounds like you're having obstructive episodes. Depending on how long you stopped breathing before you woke up, it could have been an apnea. Apnea means that you stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer and then you'll suddenly wake up, gasping or choking. The reason why your dreams are so vivid is that REM sleep (when you're dreaming) is the state when your muscles are most relaxed. This is the time when you're most likely to stop breathing and wake up.
These episodes are typically treated as panic attacks, and quite often, patients are placed on anti-anxiety medications rather than diagnosing and treating an underlying sleep-breathing problem.
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