Ask The Doctor > Questions & Answers > Unable to breathe upon falling asleep

Unable to breathe upon falling asleep

Patient: Hello, my name is Kalie. I am a 21 year old female weighing about 112 lbs at 5″4. Since my first year of high school, I’ve had difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Some nights I would wake up abruptly short of breath and gasping. As it went on I’d notice that in the moment I started falling asleep, I would stop breathing. I would breathe out but not back in. It has gotten worse but occurs less frequently (my last fit was in Februrary and it lasted about five hours.) Then last night I went to bed around midnight and after ten minutes I would wake up gasping. My heart rate felt slow and weak as well. My body also felt almost numb and tingly. It is now 9am and I’m still unable to fall asleep because I’m not breathing normally. Is there any way you could tell me what’s going on? Should I be concerned? Are there any methods I could use to actually fall asleep?

 

 

Symptoms: Shortness of breath imediately upon falling asleep interrupting sleep, unable to fall asleep

 

 

Doctor: Hello,Thanks for choosing “Ask The Doctor” for posting your query.The symptom that you are describing coul d be a sleep apnoea or it could be an anxiety disorder. This needs to be differentiated and this can be done a sleep study test called polysomnography which will monitor your entire sleep cycle. If sleep apnoea is present then proper therapies like lifestyle changes and C-pap can be used for treating sleep apnoea. If its not then proper therapies for anxiety disorder like paroxetine or escitalopram along with relaxation therapy can be useful.So you need to discuss the above mentioned issues with your treating doctor.Hope I am able to answer your concerns.If you have any further query, I would be glad to help you in future.Wish you good health!

 


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Dr. Jimmy Obaji M.D.

Dr. Jimmy Obaji M.D.

Dr. Jimmy Obaji completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Manitoba. He currently operates a walk-in-clinic in downtown Toronto.

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