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Couldnt Catch Breath When Waking Up. Puzzled!
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Couldnt Catch Breath When Waking Up. Puzzled!

Before I explain I will give you some background. I'm 26, male, in good health. I do drink 2-4 cans of light beer per night to help me wind down as I work from home.

What I am about to explain I have experienced 3 times. The worst time was about a month ago.

I was very stressed out with work. I took a nap. I was propped up on my pillow, on my back, at a slight gradient. I must have been asleep about an hour. The next thing I know I was awake, but asleep. It's strange. My girlfriend was sitting next to me I moved enough to put my arms around her and I was saying "I'm scared". But as I was saying this I could not move my body.

Now, the breathing part. It felt as if I could breath, but I could not catch much air. I wasn't struggling for air like you would if you went running. My girlfriend said my breathing sounded normal. Try breathing really shallow right now, small bits of air in and out, it was like that. It lasted about 20 seconds. Soon as I woke up properly it quickly returned to normal. I was shocked for a long time after.

Anyway, yesterday night I was asleep about an hour again. This one was different. I remember being in a restless state, still asleep, but my eyes could see around me. I noticed my heartrate was slow and I could feel a feeling that felt like adrenaline release, or butterflies. At this point I was still asleep, but awake.

Everything from this point is hazy. About a couple hours after it happened I forgot the fine details I remembered when I woke up. It's the same thing when you dream, and you shortly forget it. This is why I think its related to dreaming.

When I woke up for about 5 seconds I had that feeling of not being able to get full breaths. I had water at side of my bed and I was fine. I had an anxiety attack soon as I woke up, scared the life out of me.

I did have 2 beers that night, and I was suffering with very bad influenza. But it's important for me to say that the breathing feeling was not an "out of breath" feeling.

The 3rd time it happened was 2 years ago at university. I've forgot the details, but I remember it happened because I quit smoking the day after because of it.

Am I alone here? Does anyone know if this could be some sort of sleep paralysis or apnea?

It almost feels as if my muscles are relaxed, and they don't wake up until I'm fully awake. The slow heart rate though, that was strange. If it was apnea related, would the HR slow down because of less oxygen?

Thanks for any advice.
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5 Comments Post a Comment
Avatar m tn
Someone mentioned Hypopnea. Is that possible?

I think I will ask my doctor for a sleep study.
Avatar f tn
Hello, sleep took the words right out of my mouth... there is a short phase between the full awake and sleep stages in which it is goverened by the circle of willis, in the brain, close to and surrounding the brain stem...Is the breathing thing as though there is no air in the air feeling?....Just wondering, I do hope you get some answers...Please keep us updated...Have a wonderful Blessed day!!! GOD BLESS!!!      loimmarmar
Avatar m tn
Hi loimmarmar,

I really can't explain the feeling apart from it feels like breaths are very shallow. As if my lungs won't expand.

The only way I can get someone to understand is by asking them breath in and out with very short breaths of air. That's what it feels like.

I do notice that as soon as I am awake it stops. It's when I feel stuck in the awake and sleep state.

It never lasts longer than 20 seconds. I don't even think it's lasted that long.
1670856 tn?1316777368
Again, id suggest looking up Sleep paralysis.

Aside from it will leave you paralyzed for X amount of time (seconds to minutes)- It can give you hallucinations. It can bring about a sense of fear that someone is looking at you from a angle you cant see.
In this state you can only move your eyes and nothing else. You cant speak.

A other thing, which kinda sounds like you described. . . Is a sense of adrenalin source traveling through your body.

this might be cause by a other factor to Sleep paralysis. . . .
To cut it short. Sleep paralysis is an abnormality in your brain (now dont be scared, its harmless and only messes up your sleep)-
but it will be in conflict about what state your body is in.
So youll be awake, while your body is sleeping. and you will dream while you are still conscious.  
Now a question.
When you fall sleep "normally" how does it feel?  It doesnt does it?
You feel tired, and maybe you just wake up suddenly in the morning cause you didnt even notice you where about to sleep-
Or you feel tired, close your eyes. . . and for a long time you feel. . . Soon. . .Soon ill fall asleep. . . . but you never notice when you do,.

Now imagine being able to feel the stage between being awake and asleep. . . Can you imagine what such an experience must feel like.
It must be terrible.
Youll lay down. Close your eyes. . . then feel your about to fall asleep. . . .
THEN- you start feeling your body shutting down while your still aware. Its going into sleep mode while your still conscious and aware of your own thoughts. ''

Well thats scary if you ask me. And that would jolt me- And it does. Happens often to me.

Actually it happens to may people. And ive provided an answer to another thread in this forum ill link to-
Just look at the last post- for my reference. Other wise read the others- They have some similar experience.

Of course im not saying "THIS IS IT"- But sounds like it might be.- And its scary as hell.

I woken up with the covers (from the blanket) over my head. . Had a hard time breathing and could move my body so i could remove it.... until i felt i was gonna suffocate and i ripped it away from my head.
I woken up to see a person standing in my room, who then ran over to my bed to attack me.
And ive had a night where i "woke up" 9 times right after i fall asleep due to what i simply think is adrenalin  from me noticing my own body shutdown for sleep mode.

But yeah look it up-
In old days this event was chained together with a spiritual monster or an old lady who would sit on your chest, taking your breath away.
People now suspect it to be of course the sleep paralysis kicking in. + that sometimes laying on your back for long will add pressure to your muscles and lungs making it harder to breath due to your state of paralysis. (remember your whole body is paralyzed- if it lays in bad position, you cant change it before you get ouy of the paralysis,. )

Well done here. Dont take my word for a doctors. There are other things that could make you short of breath while sleeping.
But Ive researched this quite a bit since im a victim to it myself.
Any questions concerning it, well feel free to ask. Other wise good luck with it.
534785 tn?1329595808
It could've been a laryngospasm. Try Googling this and reading about the symptoms to see if this might be what you experienced. Laryngospasms can be caused by acid reflux or neural miscommunication (aka drinking the night before can disrupt neural signals), among other things, and a person essentially wakes up finding it very difficult to take a breath. The only difference is that you mentioned you couldn't move your body, as well, for part of the episode...this would be more indicative of sleep paralysis. While not an uncommon occurrence in people, it is uncommon to have sleep paralysis several times a year or more, so you should mention this to your doctor, especially if you are experiencing other symptoms, like excessive daytime sleepiness, insomnia, brain fog, etc. Sleep paralysis has been linked to narcolepsy. I doubt your sleep paralysis was linked to quitting smoking, but it may have been linked to your alcohol usage.
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