What causes choking during sleep?
So what exactly causes you to choke in your sleep?
Choking occurs when your breathing is impeded by a constricted or obstructed throat or windpipe. Choking in your sleep is caused by the relaxation of soft tissue in the neck.
As your throat collapses, air cannot reach the lungs effectively; it causes you to wake up suddenly from the choking. You can stop breathing for around 10 seconds, starving the brain of oxygen.
People who suffer from undiagnosed Obstructive Sleep Apnoea can wake many times every hour from this process.
Does it mean I have OSA?
If you experience frequent choking in your sleep, it is highly likely that you have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)
A sleep test should be conducted as soon as possible to confirm, and you can contact your doctor or take a sleep test privately. We have a page dedicated to the difference between the sleep clinic and an In-Home Sleep Test – find it here.
Read: “Should I Take A Sleep Test?“
More often than not, the choking does not cause a person to wake up, and so they may be unaware this is happening until somebody else tells them that they were choking. Studies have shown that sufferers can take up to seven years before seeking treatment. Your partner may have signs of Sleep Apnoea; read on to find out more helpful information.
Choking and Sleep Apnoea
You may have been told or noticed that you suddenly gasp or choke during the night. It is a distressing event to experience and worse to observe. Choking during sleep is a common symptom of the sleep disorder Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).
OSA affects an estimated 4 million adults in the UK, and 87% of those people have not been diagnosed and, therefore, do not receive treatment.
Other Common OSA Symptoms:
OSA is also more common in men and associated with overweight individuals (BMI over 25%).
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you need to take a sleep test. Our In-Home Sleep Test will confirm if you have OSA in 7-10 days. If you do have Sleep Apnoea, you can successfully begin treatment within 2 weeks of taking your In-Home Sleep Test.
Intus Healthcare Advice: OSA is treatable in almost every case, but OSA must be confirmed, either by a doctor or a sleep test, before treatment or equipment can be purchased. You will receive an email requiring documentation once ordering a CPAP machine.
Are there any remedies to help prevent choking in sleep?
Treatments for sleep choking can vary on the severity of the condition. The first step you should take is to adjust your sleeping position at night so that you are always lying on your side, as this can help reduce the risk.
CPAP treatment should then solve the problem of choking in sleep and allow you to sleep properly again.
We will help you with the next step if you are diagnosed.
If you would like any advice, then please contact us.
In-Home Sleep Test
Signs your partner has Sleep Apnoea
Capital DJ Roman Kemp Reveals he has Sleep Apnoea
Do you have any questions?
0800 024 8050 (from UK) or +44 800 024 8050 (non-UK) (9am - 5pm UK time, Monday to Friday)
0844 504 9494 (from UK) or +44 844 504 9494 (non-UK))
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Surrey GU21 5DH United Kingdom