0800 024 8050

What causes choking during sleep?

You may have noticed or been told you experience sudden gasps or choking during the night. This is one of the key indicators of the common sleeping disorder Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).

OSA affects up to 1 in 6 adults, making it one of the most common sleep disorders.

People with OSA tend to also feel excessively tired during the day, snore, and are often overweight (BMI over 25). It is more common in men.

If you are experiencing these problems, you need to take a sleep test. This will confirm if you have OSA, and allow you to begin the treatment. In as little as two weeks, you could be sleeping properly again.

Leaving OSA untreated can cause numerous problems; poor sleep can cause irritability, poor memory and concentration, depression and anxiety. The risk of stroke and heart disease are doubled.

OSA is treatable is almost every case; but a sleep test must be conducted prior to treatment. The sooner you have a sleep test conducted, the sooner you can start benefiting from proper sleep.

Read: “Should I Take A Sleep Test?

So what exactly causes you to choke in your sleep? Does it mean I have OSA?

People who suffer from undiagnosed Obstructive Sleep Apnoea often wake up in the night suddenly due to shortness of breath. Upon waking, they may also snort, gasp or choke. Choking in sleep is caused by your airway being blocked by soft tissue in the neck. When air cannot reach the lungs effectively, it causes you to wake up suddenly choking.

More often, the choking does not cause the person to wake up, and so may be unaware that this is happening until somebody else tells them that they were choking while asleep.

If you experience choking in your sleep, it is highly likely that you have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea – and a sleep test should be conducted as soon as possible to confirm.

Read: “Should I Take A Sleep Test?

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.

You may also want to consider modifying your lifestyle by reducing your alcohol intake, avoiding smoking and maintaining a healthy diet.

Normally though, if you experience choking in your sleep, it is because you have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. To have this confirmed, you will need to take a sleep test. You have to have a Sleep Test taken in order to begin treatment.

Treatment should then solve the problem of choking in sleep and allow you to sleep properly again.

Read: “Should I Take A Sleep Test?

If you would like any advice, then please call us on 0800 024 8050.

Contact Us

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))

Head Office Address:

2 Walton Business Centre
46 Terrace Road
Surrey KT12 2SD United Kingdom

Still have questions? We'd love to answer them. Let us call you back!