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Cant Breathe Upon Falling Asleep?! I Just Want To Sleep!!


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I get this often and its very scary. I will lay down and attempt to fall asleep...as soon as I feel myself drift off it feels like my heart stops (or skips a beat) and this sends and adrenaline rush throughout my entire body and causes me to loose my breath. When I sit up I still can't breath and it takes a second to get back to normal. I also went numb last night but I think I had a panic attack when I couldn't catch my breath. Its SO frustrating! It happens several times a night and it takes me until about 3 am before I finally pass out. I just want to sleep! I work full-time and its affecting my job performance :( Has anyone had this experience?

Ps: I know all about sleep paralysis as I practice lucid dreaming often...this is not what im describing. It also happens when I get overly tired!

Thanks for any advice :)

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I've had falling asleep weirdness, too. I've had a few nights where I've had to sit up to catch my breath, but most of the time mine involves a strange pressure in my chest and a feeling of falling like I'm on an amusement park ride or going over a bump in a car. At first it used to freak me out but now I think "oh good, I'm falling asleep".

I wonder if there is some autonomic shift that goes on when we fall asleep?

Maybe get a sleep study?

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I hate that your experiencing this, and I can relate.

I have some sort of transition issues every night. The breathing issues in the transition go from spells of being mild to major. When it gets bad, I can go days without sleep. It seams that the more tired I get, the worse it gets. I have trouble with my transition to being awake also.

There is a lot of physiological changes that happen in the transition from wake to sleep, and sleep to wake. It does not surprise me that those of us with autonomic dysfunction would also have these problems.

Like yourself, just getting real tired can trigger it.

It seams that autonomic problems and sleep transition is not widely understood. It is difficult to get it identified by a professional.

I suspect that some of us have mini panic attacks in the transition. Not that we emotionally panic, but the body does. Also there is a type of transition sleep apnea, that is central in nature. We enter a period of subdued breathing drive, and our CO2 builds up. We are startled awake, with a need to deep breath. The deep breathing can lead to hyperventilation. The deep breathing is a natural response to the higher CO2 levels.

Bipap with O2 helps with this type of apnea. The problem for me has been getting it diagnosed. I have never been able to get to a sleep study while in a flare. A home study might be in order for the next one. We will see.

Investigate these things for yourself, and discuss this with a doctor. If you have the problem every day, you may be able to present during a study. It would be helpful to find a sleep specialist that is familiar with autonomic dysfunction. Make sure they take you seriously. You might be able to get some help with this. I know that I am not giving up. It is an awful symptom to have.

If you do not have one, get a oximeter. It will be a way for you to check it when you want to. I have found that my O2 is regularly dipping to 90 in my sleep, but they will not call that anything until it gets to 88.

I am sorry for the rambling post. I have been trying to figure this out myself.

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Understand this happened to me word for word wed night. Saw cardiology next day. They did an EKG all ok. Offered a holter and stress test. But I said if you think it's ok and you are ordering for peace of my mind, I'll keep my money. My employer cut the few hours that I've been building up to since coming back to work. Hang in there

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I have definitely experienced something like this too although not for a long time...gjensen's theory is interesting! I remember feeling that something must be happening in that wake to sleep transition to trigger panic-like episodes. I also had thorough work ups (although not a sleep study) and no problems other than POTS were ever found.

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I go through phases of this exact thing. The feeling like heart stopped/stopped breathing and sudden jolt. Happens more when I'm under extreme stress, but never happened before POTS (though I think I used to actually stop breathing for a second sometimes when I was scrunched up on my side; slightly different feeling). People with panic disorder get this too, so I figure it's an adrenaline/sympathetic nervous system thing that POTS makes us more prone to.

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Hi,

If you are on meds, one of them could be a possible cause. One med I was taking for another health problem did something very similar to me. It didn't went I first started it but after a while it caused the problem. I did not realize the connection until I had to come off the med -- due to other side effects -- when the frequency dropped back to normal. I'm predisposed to it happening, occasionally, without meds and figured it was either a sleep apnea problem (I have positional sleep apnea), or a pots/anxiety thing. The med just made it occur more often. Often more than once a night.

I've trialled a lot of meds and many of them impact negatively on my sleep, I've found. Things like anti-histamines, anti-depressants etc.

blue

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I've experienced this as well as the "BOOM" that many people report startles them from sleep. My beta blocker keeps my heart around 50 bpm during the day which is very much needed otherwise my resting pulse would be around 100 bpm. I feel like as soon as I lie down at night my pulse drops well below those 50bpm to around 30 or so which is a little scary to me. I think many times my body overreacts to this low HR and overcompensates thus I wake with tachy along with SOB. That's my theory at least. My most concerning sleep related issue as of late has been numbness in my limbs even when I am positioned well with no pressure on any portion of my arms or legs.

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BSmith85, I used to get that limb numbness too. I would wake up with tachycardia and one of my arms dead if it was resting on me, for no reason I could figure out. I can only assume maybe I was hyperventilating in my sleep. It used to happen more when I was on beta-blockers or benzodiazepines.

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I also used to wake up with a 'dead' arm and have to use the other arm to lift it, so I could move it around and get movement back into it. It felt just like my arm had 'gone to sleep' as though I'd been lying on it but I was not. It wasn't until I read your posts -- freaked and bsmith -- that I remembered this used to happen to me. I'd forgotten about it. Yet it wasn't that long ago when it was happening to me...........

I've got other sleeping issues now that are bothering me... :unsure:

blue

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I hate that your experiencing this, and I can relate.

I have some sort of transition issues every night. The breathing issues in the transition go from spells of being mild to major. When it gets bad, I can go days without sleep. It seams that the more tired I get, the worse it gets. I have trouble with my transition to being awake also.

There is a lot of physiological changes that happen in the transition from wake to sleep, and sleep to wake. It does not surprise me that those of us with autonomic dysfunction would also have these problems.

Like yourself, just getting real tired can trigger it.

It seams that autonomic problems and sleep transition is not widely understood. It is difficult to get it identified by a professional.

I suspect that some of us have mini panic attacks in the transition. Not that we emotionally panic, but the body does. Also there is a type of transition sleep apnea, that is central in nature. We enter a period of subdued breathing drive, and our CO2 builds up. We are startled awake, with a need to deep breath. The deep breathing can lead to hyperventilation. The deep breathing is a natural response to the higher CO2 levels.

Bipap with O2 helps with this type of apnea. The problem for me has been getting it diagnosed. I have never been able to get to a sleep study while in a flare. A home study might be in order for the next one. We will see.

Investigate these things for yourself, and discuss this with a doctor. If you have the problem every day, you may be able to present during a study. It would be helpful to find a sleep specialist that is familiar with autonomic dysfunction. Make sure they take you seriously. You might be able to get some help with this. I know that I am not giving up. It is an awful symptom to have.

If you do not have one, get a oximeter. It will be a way for you to check it when you want to. I have found that my O2 is regularly dipping to 90 in my sleep, but they will not call that anything until it gets to 88.

I am sorry for the rambling post. I have been trying to figure this out myself.

Good theory. I wonder if there are issues with impulses to breathing muscles during this phase. Also if electrolytes are balanced, and potassium and magnesium is good. Sleep position is important also, as well as confirming no apnea. Not just standard apnea, but a need fo bilevel, snoring, and if you are stopping breathing or if thats just a sensation.

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