1423902 tn?1282666102

Strange experience while sleeping

I've had these wierd experiences a couple of times since I was about 11 (im seventeen now) and just had it again last night after it hasn't happened for awhile. (Note: it ALWAYS happens when Im in the process of falling asleep)  When Im falling asleep, my breathing pattern startles me awake cause I feel like I can't breath, and basically what happens is I feel this wierd pressure in/on my head and feel like Im shaking or trembling fiercly but at the same time I can't move and my breathing is smothered or I feel like Im not breathing at all. I strongly recall having to struggle to move and to stay awake at the same time (wierd I know). And after a few seconds I black out. To describe my blacking out I compare it to when your eyes are adjusting to the dark. I know that when people eyes are adjusting to the dark they see these strange blob like things (well, im guessing everyone does) or can't see at all until the eyes have adjusted. So I go blind for a few seconds an then when my eyes re-adjust Im fully awake and am able to move again and the shaking has ceased. Usually by this time Im FREAKED out and I wonder if it even happened at all cause it happens so fast. But last night, it happened and I know that the experience is real (I know cause I remember being freeked out while it was still happening) Even better is the fact that it happened AGAIN! Twice in one night!?! I mentioned it to my family and got one concerned parent who thinks im having seizures or anxiety attacks, a grandmother who thinks the devil is trying to possess me, and an aunt who says she "thinks" it happened once to her. But because Im moslty sane and don't believe in devils, I seek a second opinion. Has anyone had anything similar happen to them? Or is this a medical or psychological problem? Id be happy to give more details if needed, please reply cause I'd like to know what the heck is goin on!!
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Avatar universal
Hi sweety!

I have had the same problem for almost 5 years. Usually just when I try to sleep on my back. Even raising pillows didn't help! But i found comfort in laying on either of my sides (left predominantly) and it stopped, as far as I could tell.  If i laid on my left side ( where heart is ) it felt like i was smothing the rhythm and then it made me feel like my heart would skip a bit.  I described all the feelings like butterflies in your stomach.

Right now I am having stomach issues and even laying on either my sides don't help. I sometimes find that sitting straight up weith back against wall helps me right now. But I also have a tendency to suck in my gut all day and breathe that way which i think can put a lot of stress on your diapraghm. which I am told that you will have to strengthen again by doing breathing excercises ( Breathe in through your nose while stomach is inflating, then exhaling through mouth and letting stomach deflate ) this helps strengthen it.

I am no doctor, but i feel your pain and i really sympathise with you.  this could be sleep apnea too due to a possible blockage in your airways ( tissue inflammation, etc ) I would suggest you see your GP and get it looked at. it's better safe than sorry and it's always good to relieve the stress/anxiety of not knowing what's going on.
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Avatar universal
Hiya, I've had the same problem for as long as I can remember. I didn't know what the "attacks" were, but I have been diagnosed with narcolepsy and thought they were a secondary symptom to that. Does it feel as though your mind and eyes are awake, but your body is asleep? It could be cataplexy, which IS a secondary symptom to narcolepsy, as is sleep apnoea.
Helpful - 0
351246 tn?1379682132
Welcome to the MedHelp forum!
No, you are not insane or anything like that. You are probably suffering from sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of apnea and results from blockage of air flow. The upper airway can be obstructed by excess tissue in the airway, large tonsils, large tongue and usually includes the airway muscles relaxing and collapsing when asleep. Another site of obstruction can be the nasal passages. Sometimes the structure of the jaw and airway can be a factor in sleep apnea. Any of these obstructions can cause the breathing to stop for more than a minute at times.  Hence it is important to correct any problem with the nasal passages such as deviated or bifurcated nasal septum. Losing weight and sleeping on your side often helps. There are oral mouth devices that help keep the airway open in the market that may help to reduce snoring. CPAP machines also help.
Please consult your PCP for primary examination followed by proper referral to a sleep specialist.
Hope this helps. It is difficult to comment beyond this at this stage. Please let me know if there is any thing else and do keep me posted. Take care!

Helpful - 0
1291268 tn?1274810922
It sounds like you are having a panic anxiety attack.  They frequently happen while sleeping or falling asleep. All the symptoms your describe are very common symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks.  Are you anxious?  Do you have stress or other problems during the day?
Get a good physical exam and discus these symptoms with your doctor.
Check out the anxiety forum for more info.
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