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Suffocating In My Sleep


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#1 abetterjulie

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 07:33 PM

Hi,
I have dreams where I can't breathe in my dreams, and I wake up short of breath and my heart fluttering. It takes me a bit to recover. I am normal weight and have not been told I snore.
I get short of breath at times throughout the day when I am in a flare. This is the same feeling, and I am in a flare right now.
I am just wondering if anyone else wakes this way.

#2 Mack's Mom

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 07:35 PM

Does it happen when you are flat on your back? Is it better when you are elevated with pillows or on your side?

The "worse" Julie :D

#3 abetterjulie

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 08:25 PM

Does it happen when you are flat on your back? Is it better when you are elevated with pillows or on your side?

The "worse" Julie :D


It seems to be worse on my back, but I have noticed it on my left side, too. This was actually the symptom that propelled me to see the cardiologist, which got the whole ball going. I guess it is just because I am in a flair. :(

#4 Dianne

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 10:51 PM

Hi. Yes! I get the same thing during exacerbations of my illness - I'll dream I'm suffocating and wake up feeling oxygen-starved. It first happened to me more than 20 years ago when I had a vivid dream that I was drowning. My boyfriend at the time was panicked - he'd been woken when I'd made weird noises in my sleep, then I'd stopped breathing and he struggled to wake me.

My night-time respiratory symptoms are the most frightening of all my symptoms - at one stage I genuinely believed that I would die by suffocating while I slept. Apart from my suffocation dreams, I also sometimes become aware, right on the edge of sleep, that I'm not breathing. Other times I have woken feeling as though the muscles at the back of my throat have collapsed, cutting off my airway.

These symptoms come and go with the ebb and flow of my dysautonomia. My last exacerbation was a couple of years ago and, while my recovery was very slow, I've been much more well over the past 6 months or so. Its probably been 18 months since I had my last suffocation dream - I dreamed I was trying to escape from someone, and I slid into a vat of grain, which completely covered me, making it impossible to take a breath.

I've found that my night-time respiratory symptoms are relieved by rest and intensive general dysautonomia management, and (more quickly) by a one-off 1/4 dose of Lexapro.

I had a sleep study in the past year or so, but it was conducted when I was reasonably asymptomatic and it showed just a couple of harmless hypopnoeas.

I would really recommend that you see your doctor about the possibility of a sleep study to investigate what is going on with your respiratory system at night.

Good luck and best wishes

Dianne

#5 Chaos

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 01:18 AM

I'm not usually aware of dreaming associated with my periods of not breathing in my sleep but I definitely have woken up in a panic with my heart pounding and feeling like I wasn't breathing or had just taken a huge breath to re-start breathing. For me it's worse on my back, with or without a pillow.

I also have that feeling of pressure in my throat a lot- usually only when I'm lying on my back. Feels like it's around the thyroid gland area but haven't been able to identify a cause for it. I frequently wake up feeling like I'm drowning. The docs have said they aren't sure if that's my reflux or sinus drainage but either way it really interferes with my sleep patterns.

Can't offer much in the way of solutions, but for what it's worth, you're not alone.

#6 abetterjulie

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 01:20 AM

I'm not usually aware of dreaming associated with my periods of not breathing in my sleep but I definitely have woken up in a panic with my heart pounding and feeling like I wasn't breathing or had just taken a huge breath to re-start breathing. For me it's worse on my back, with or without a pillow.

I also have that feeling of pressure in my throat a lot- usually only when I'm lying on my back. Feels like it's around the thyroid gland area but haven't been able to identify a cause for it. I frequently wake up feeling like I'm drowning. The docs have said they aren't sure if that's my reflux or sinus drainage but either way it really interferes with my sleep patterns.

Can't offer much in the way of solutions, but for what it's worth, you're not alone.


Yes, I think that is what I needed...to not feel alone. This disease leaves me with that alienated feeling quite often. I have noticed it even more with the winter months.

#7 mwise

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 10:43 AM

You are not alone. We are all here for you. Wanted to know how you are doing with the Midodrine? I was diagnosed in Dec. 2010 and started on Midodrine 5mg 3 times a day. I have been taking it now for the past 2 weeks. I also take 60mg of Mestinon 3 times a day. Was on Florinef, but had bad side effects and went off it. The Midodrine appears to be working as I can stand up with out feeling like I would pass out and take short walks around the house. Before, I was predominantly couch, chair, or bed bound. I do experience goose bumps and my head itches at times, but no other side effects.

#8 lieze

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 11:20 AM

I do a variation of this where I wake up with my heart just pounding right out of my chest.
Interesting my last ER visit when I told the doc I thought I had GERD he said,"and do you wake up gasping for breath?"
I said no with my heart pounding right out of my chest.
It always feels as if I my heart will just stop when this happens.
But eventually it slows down.
I think I have a breathless sensation with this.
Slow easy breaths would probably help come to think of it.
But I have been able to eliminate it by sleeping way propped up and staying off my left side

#9 issie

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 11:53 AM

It sound like sleep apenea. There are two kinds - one in the throat and one from the brain. You have to have a sleep study to find out.

#10 Sarah4

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 11:42 AM

I have a variation of this feeling at night, much worse when I sleep on my back. Doxepin 20 mg before bed has helped a lot.