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11109734 tn?1415378395

Too scared to sleep

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.

Any ideas?
5 Responses
1423357 tn?1511089042
The first thing that would come to mind is either Obstructive Sleep Apnea or possibly Central Apnea.  I've been through the former and had symptoms very similar to what you're describing.
Avatar universal
I agree with Tom.  I have Obstructive Sleep Apnea and have very similar symptoms.  Wouldn't hurt to get a sleep study.
11109734 tn?1415378395
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..
612551 tn?1450025775
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.  
Avatar universal
Hmmm, have you ever googled 'nocturnal panic attacks'?

That said, I do think your problem cannot be fully addressed without thoroughly checking out the possibility of sleep apnea.
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