Every so often when I'm just about to fall asleep I get a feeling that starts in my chest and radiates to my head. I can only describe it as a flushing/fluttering feeling. Or the feeling you get when you're meditating and going into deeper relaxation. I get this flushing/fluttering feeling in my chest and then feel like I can't breath and my eyes open quickly. This seems to happen as I'm falling asleep, not when I'm completely asleep. It happens infrequently, but has happened more recently since I'm on a course of Metronidazole for an infection. I am 51 year old female of average weight. I do not snore, but have told I breath heavily as I sleep. The flushing feeling is kind of scary and makes me wonder if I will awaken at all if I fall back to sleep. So it is a concern. My mother has sleep apnea and uses a breathing machine. Thank you for your advice.
What you're describing isn't classic for obstructive sleep apnea, but could be one of the early signs, especially since you're in the perimenopausal age. Hormonal fluctuations can cause or aggravate sleep-breathing problems, leading to neurologic symptoms such as flushing, fluttering or weakness. You don't have to snore or be overweight to have sleep apnea. Another possibility is one of the parasomnias, such as sleep paralysis.
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