Sleep Choking – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Do you wake up at night and catching your breath? It can be a sign of sleep choking otherwise known as sleep apnea. Many people have this sleep problem that leads to other complications like heart attack and obesity. Sleep choking is not a disease by itself but a symptom of a more serious problem. You need to know the different signs of sleep apnea and snoring in general to get proper treatment for choking while asleep.

Symptoms of Sleep Choking

Sleep choking happens when you suddenly wake up and grasping for breath. It may seem that you have a nightmare but in reality, waking up and catching breath is a sign of apnea.

Another sign of choking during sleep is when you cough and choke hard while sleeping without knowing it. If the choking becomes severe, you will be able to wake up and have difficulty breathing sensations. It feels like you are losing breath. In some situations, people who choke while sleeping will also have panic sensations and run for breath.

One more thing that leads to sleep choking is when you stop breathing. Other family members may tell you that you pause breathing while sleeping which is a true sign of sleep apnea. It can include snoring and heavy breathing too.

Causes of Sleep Choking

There are several causes of choking during sleep. It can be primarily due to sleep apnea. Apnoea in other languages means there is an obstruction in your airway when you breathe. This can happen only during sleep because the muscles in your throat tend to relax. Moreover, the soft palate drops down your air passageway, causing temporary blockage of air.

When you inhale, the soft muscles and tissues will block the throat, causing pauses in breathing. This in turn will lead to choking while sleeping at night. In some cases, you will stop breathing while sleeping, which is very dangerous.

Sinusitis and Choking

In another case, choking while sleeping may be due to sinus problems. The throat and sinus areas are interconnected. If you have inflammation in the sinuses or any infections in the area, you may stop breathing too while sleeping, This can also lead to choking and coughing while sleeping.

Alcohol and Sleep Choking

Alcohol intake can also contribute to apnea. Alcoholic substances can loosen up the tissues in the throat, leading to blockage of breathing. Of course, the initial condition may only involve light to heavy snoring. However, it will dramatically turn into a symptom that relates to choking.

Throat Infection

Infection in the throat and sinuses can also lead to apnea. When you have infections, the tissues become inflamed and swollen, making it hard to swallow and breathe in general. When you sleep, this can worsen since you won’t be aware of your breathing pattern.

Remedy for Sleep Choking

Treatments for sleep choking can vary depending on the severity of the condition. One possible way to eliminate sleep apnea is by adjusting your sleeping position. You may lie on your sides to prevent the soft palate from blocking your airway.

Sleep Position

Gravity and lying down on your back can pull the soft tissues downward, causing blockage.

You may also use snoring beds and pillows. They are specifically made to increase your resting level from shoulders to the head. If you have an elevated sleeping position, there is a smaller chance that you will choke when sleeping.

Anti-Snoring Sprays

Some anti-snoring sprays may also work. However, these are supplemental treatments only. You may use nasal and throat sprays to prevent sleep choking. They are usually made of organic and herbal substances that can help in giving you a more relaxed breathing during sleep. Consult a doctor if you are not sure about a nasal spray for snoring.

Machines for Snoring

CPAP machines are used mostly in sleep centers and hospitals. However, there are CPA machines for home use which are portable and easy to use. These machines will blow a low pressure air to your throat to reposition the soft tissues that can block your breathing.

CPAP machines for sleep choking are the same ones used in snoring treatments in hospitals. You may purchase them online too. However, it may be necessary to consult a doctor first before using such machines to make sure everything is fine. Some snoring and apnea masks are included in such devices.

How to Prevent Sleep Choking

Choking during sleep can be prevented first by modifying your sleep positions. If this won’t improve your condition, you may need to modify your lifestyle. Reduce alcohol intake, avoid smoking and always check for any signs of infections in your respiratory system.

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