Difficulty Breathing While Sleeping?

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Hello, I’m a 20 year old girl. Since I was a child, I often had difficulty in the middle of the night during sleep, breathing and moving within a few seconds. When I try to open my eyes, I can’t

1 Answer:

Hi Elin,

Thank you for the question.

Difficulty breathing, difficulty moving, and difficulty opening eyes during sleep can be classified as symptoms of sleep paralysis. This condition often lasts for a few seconds, although it can also continue for several minutes. Many ordinary people mistakenly interpret this as a mystical event. In fact, in the medical realm, this condition can be explained scientifically. How did this condition occur?

During deep sleep, all muscles will relax. At the time of transition from sleep to conscious period (when about to wake up), this muscle relaxation can continue for a while and make you feel helpless, like not being able to breathe, move, even open your eyes. According to much literature, this condition is prone to occur due to lack of sleep, irregular sleep patterns, genetic makeup, supine sleeping position, stress, having leg cramps, taking certain medications (including drugs), also experiencing certain psychiatric disorders (such as bipolar disorder).

If your complaint only lasts a few seconds, this condition should not be feared excessive. You can resolve your complaint first by:

Create a more regular sleep and wake schedule every day. Try to sleep around 6-9 hours a day.
Before going to bed, do enough relaxation, such as by drinking warm water, massage, listening to the strains of sounds that make you comfortable, doing breathing exercises
Create the atmosphere of your bedroom that is comfortable, not noisy, not too cold, not too hot, far from mosquitoes and glare
Don't eat and drink too much before bedtime
Control your stress and emotions wisely
Discipline to exercise, don't smoke, and don't take any medicine

Considering the COVID-19 outbreak is sweeping the country, you are advised to remain at home, and postpone seeing a doctor unless urgent. So, if your complaint improves with the steps above, you should not panic, right? You can check with your doctor or neurologist if the complaint recurs very often or persists for weeks, if you appear severe shortness of breath, hallucinations and delusions, as well as other more severe complaints, so they can be further dealt with according to the cause. In addition to sleep paralysis, your complaints may also arise due to other triggers, such as heart problems, gastroesophageal reflux disease, epilepsy, excessive anxiety disorders, the influence of drugs, and so on.

Hope this helps ...

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