Waking up unable to breathe

These 6 simple steps are designed to dramatically change the life of anyone who suffers from the debilitating effects of anxiety and panic attacks.

Waking up unable to breathe

Postby RedSoxGirl77 » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:39 am

Does anyone have episodes waking up in the middle of the night feeling like you can't breathe and their heart is racing? This has happened to me on and off over the years. I'll get where I have months between episodes of this, while other times I have this happen several times in a week. Since I'm overly concerned about my health I have had many tests done: EKG, echocardiogram, stress test, holter monitors, event monitors (since I have palpitations too), gallbladder function test, sleep study. All have come back normal so no doctor knows why this is happening to me at night. Does anyone have this as an issue with anxiety? That is the only thing I can think of contributing to it even if I go to bed relaxed. It's actually been worse since starting this program. I'm towards the end of session 2 and I've had these episodes every night for the past week. I do have acid reflux too which is unresponsive to treatment.....I'm at the max of medications I can take but they don't help. I'm hoping if I take care of the anxiety/depression issues the reflux will lighten up if that's a contributing factor. I used to be a healthy person but since I gave birth to my 2nd child just over 3 years ago I seem to develop problem after problem.
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Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:15 pm

Re: Waking up unable to breathe

Postby Nugget28 » Sat Aug 27, 2011 6:22 am

Hi RedsoxGirl77,

It totally sounds like anxiety. With me I wake up in the middle of the night and I actually have a feeling that I have been overbreathing.
My chest feels like its filled with to much air and I can't really breath right. I used to jump of the bed with panic and anxiety everytime it happend. But I talked to my psychologist and he told me that the next time it happens I should just stay calm. So I did just that. With me It happends about ones a month and when I take a couple of slow breaths the palpitations will stop. Try not to panic when this happends and take a couple of slow breaths. Tell yourself: this is just anxiety and it can't hurt me. I'm sure there will creep in a couple of what if thoughts but don't pay attention to them. You'll see that you will calm down and that the palpitations will stop.
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:31 pm

Re: Waking up unable to breathe

Postby CHamilton » Sun Nov 20, 2011 3:53 pm

Hi there,

A few years back I was dealing with the same thing. At the time, My boyfriend of 4 years and I were trying to work things out after a big break up. For about a month I would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air. The only way I can describe it is if someone was holding me under water for a long time and I finally got up out of the water gasping for air. It was terrible. I wouldn't remember what I was dreaming. I got a lot of test done to try and figure it out and my doctor ruled it as anxiety. After we got back together I've never experienced them again. I hope it gets better for you.
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Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2011 3:37 pm

Re: Waking up unable to breathe

Postby jmewhite » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:33 pm

I feel that a lot too. I've noticed that some of it has to do with where I am in my cycle. I work in a sleep science lab and what I've learned about sleep is amazing. sleep anxiety is a real thing and can cause all of these symptoms you've descrbed. remember, the brain is still active, and not always in dream sleep so part of you is aware and you can still have anxious thoughts even though you think you are asleep. all you can do is positive self talk. you know you are okay, and you know you are getting enough air. what we tell our patients at the sleep lab and something I try to follow is don't eat 2 hours before you go to bed, make a nighttime routine and stick with it everynight regardless of the situation. actively try to get more sleep than you have been and maybe drink some chamomile tea before bed. journal all your bad thoughts out and write down everythng positive you did in one day. it's amazing how a depressed and anxious state of mind can make you FEEL as though you can't breathe. but you are. prayers to you.
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:27 pm

Re: Waking up unable to breathe

Postby shannluv28 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:37 pm

I get that quite often as well. I think they are called "spontaneous attacks'?" Since I have started getting my anxiety a little bit more under control in my waking hours. I find that I'm not waking up with panic attacks as much, but they are still super scary when they do happen! I just try to talk myself through it. I will say things like, " I am really sleepy so I should just go back to sleep....or ..... I'm okay, this is just anxiety." Some times they are so severe that the self talk doesn't help but if I can reign myself in as quickly as possible, the self talk does work. Hope this helps!!
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