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Author Topic: Is this breathing problem a dream or actually happening?  (Read 19783 times)

Offline xoxopr0ud

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I've been having this for a while. I have no idea if I'm dreaming or if it's actually happening. I sometimes have a breathing problem where I can't take a deep breath. More like I can breath but just barely. Eventually I am able to take a deep breath and then I always wake up. When it first happened I thought I was dreaming but now I'm wondering if I'm in a type of half-awake state. My hands also shake at times when I'm trying to get a full breath. Is there a term for this sort of thing or has anyone else experienced this?

It happens when I am sleeping on my stomach and on my sides


 

Offline RD

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Is this breathing problem a dream or actually happening?
« Reply #1 on: 01/10/2009 19:01:49 »
May be worth looking at Sleep apnea ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_apnea

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=18697.msg209507#msg209507

If you are actually stopping breathing when asleep it could influence the content of your dream.
« Last Edit: 01/10/2009 19:11:08 by RD »
 

Offline chris

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Is this breathing problem a dream or actually happening?
« Reply #2 on: 03/10/2009 11:19:33 »
I sometimes have a dream like that - it's almost as though I need to breathe but can't. It wakes me up in a panic because I think I'm asphyxiating. But once awake I can breathe normally so, just like you, I never know if it was a dream or really happening!

I wonder whether this is a manifestation of prior hyperventilation when we've been sleeping. If, for instance, a person is having a particularly vivid, scary or in some way arousing dream that provokes very rapid breathing this might lead to transiently low blood CO2 levels. As CO2 is normally the key driver of respiration, and the blood oxygen level needs to fall very low before it triggers an urge to breathe, low blood CO2 will cause a temporary suspension in respiration.

You can see the same thing happening when people climb to high altitude; they develop this repiratory pattern, called Cheyne-Stokes breathing, because the low oxygen tension in the air triggers hyperventilation, which blows off CO2.

Chris

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Offline RD

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Is this breathing problem a dream or actually happening?
« Reply #3 on: 03/10/2009 18:41:49 »
Unless the dreams have scary content other than choking then my money is still on apnea ...

Quote
No, you are certainly not alone in having "apnea dreams".  I have been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea and have had three sleep studies and I'm currently waiting on results of the third so that I can finally get my machine.  Anyway, just the other night I was dreaming that I was talking to an old friend of mine, when I suddenly started to choke and cough in the dream.  It jolted me out of sleep, and I was coughing and choking when I woke up, with my heart pounding.  I'll be very glad to start treatment!
http://www.apneasupport.org/about22602.html

Xoxopr0ud could try my DIY sleep-study suggestion: put a digital voice recorder by the bedside to record breathing/snoring/choking, (such recorders can run 8-9 hours with a fresh battery), then download the 8 hour recording onto a computer with (free) Audacity software to display a graph of the results. With the obstructive type of apnea there is often a loud gasp/snort at the end of the apnea which would show up as a spike on the graph. 




This display is from Audacity digital audio workstation (DAW) which is free Ö http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audacity

This isnít me snoring, I was recording short voice message and forgot to switch it off, so it recorded until the battery failed 9hours and 44min later. 

9 hour 44min monophonic recording at a sample rate of 22050Hz, (16bit WAV), is a 370Mb file, which takes ~10min to download to computer via USB 2.0.

« Last Edit: 03/10/2009 21:24:37 by RD »
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Is this breathing problem a dream or actually happening?
« Reply #4 on: 04/10/2009 02:57:47 »
I sometimes have a dream like that - it's almost as though I need to breathe but can't. It wakes me up in a panic because I think I'm asphyxiating. But once awake I can breathe normally so...

Lucky you. I genuinely cannot breathe properly and it takes a great effort of will to control my breathing and stop myself gulping small mouthfuls of air - which only serves to make matters worse. I have to really push hard with my diaphragm to expel enough air to be able to inhale better. Without oxygen to hand it usually takes 15-20 minutes to get back to breathing properly(ish) again. With oxygen that reduces to about 5-10 minutes.

My blood oxygen level is always fairly low (it read 83% on my stats with a BP of 85/? when I got taken into hospital last week) & I'm guessing it's the combination of the low O2 level & low BP that causes this; although in my case it's probably due to too-shallow breathing while asleep rather than hyper-ventilation.

Would you have any thoughts on that, Chris?
 

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Is this breathing problem a dream or actually happening?
« Reply #4 on: 04/10/2009 02:57:47 »

 

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