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Avatar universal

Wake up in the night breathing very hard and very dizzy?

Occasionally I will wake up in the night or morning pulling in air through my nose really hard, not voluntarily, I will just wake up, sit up very fast and breathe in through my nose very hard (I assume just my nose because I do not breathe through my mouth when I sleep.

I always feel extremely dizzy, to the point where I feel nauseous, and it can leave me feeling bad for hours to come, with a headache or nausea.

This doesn't happen very often, maybe once or twice a week ( not counting more than one episode in a night, this can happen twice or so in a night ).
2 Responses
7656825 tn?1393087370
The thing that springs to mind is sleep apnea. There are two types:

1) Obstructive - a blockage, typically in the throat, stops you from breathing. This mostly affects overweight people but not always;
2) Central - your brain 'forgets' to tell your diaphragm to move. I think this can happen to anyone but is quite rare.

You then wake up. Typically as far as I know most people with sleep apnea don't know they have it as it occurs during REM sleep and so by the time they have woken up they have started breathing again and the heart rate has returned to normal.

This isn't always the case though as I know someone who wakes up choking and gasping for air about twice a month.

Sleep apnea causes blood oxygen (SPO2) levels to drop which may account for your feeling dizzy when you wake up.

You may want to try the Berlin Questionaire that has been shown to be a good predictor of sleep aponea. You can find a copy at:


If you want to track drops in blood oxygen levels yourself then you can buy an oximonitor. The CMS-50 is the only one I know of that can be used during sleep and it costs about £100. You may be able to borrow one from your doctor.

I don't know anything about sleep paralysis but this post:


describes it like this:

"I've had sleep paralysis ever since I was a kid. My very first time I could not breathe, and "broke out" of the paralysis gasping for air and heart pounding away in my chest."

Good luck.
Avatar universal
Ask your doctor to refer you to an ENT, who will most likey have you do a sleep study. They are totally painless (you just have electrodes stuck to you and go to sleep). If you do have sleep apnea, it's dangerous not to get treated. Most apnea sufferers are unaware they have it, or severely underestimate it because people do not remember their own sleep. A person could remember waking once and find out you wake hundreds of times.

Good luck!
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