Stopping breathing while sleeping!

by Neil

Basically i used to stop breathing while sleeping when I was younger a lot.

When this happened I had two choices; to breathe in heavily until I can breathe again or to wake up and start breathing normally.

I usually tried to wake myself up but it is very difficult to do.

It didn’t happen for a while and now it is recently starting. I don't know if it was always happening and I didn’t notice but I realized approximately 30 minutes into my sleep last night. And a lot of my friends are really worried for my long term health.

Any help is appreciated.


Few people with sleep apnea realize that they stop breathing while sleeping. You are right, it's difficult to weak up consciously when you have a breathing problem in your sleep.

However, your brain is awake when you sleep, and knows that you have a problem.

And do you know how your brain realize you stop breathing while sleeping? Your oxygen level from your blood drops too low, and the carbon dioxide level rises high enough to alert the brain.

The problem is that sometimes the brain reacts so late that you stop breathing in sleep for 40 seconds or even more!

Can you hold you breath for 40 seconds if you want to? I can do that only with training and just for two or three times per day.

Now, imagine what happens is you stop breathing in sleep like I described, for 70 times per hour...How would you feel tomorrow? Very drowsy and fatigue, believe me.

So, Neil, how do you feel the next day after your sleep? Do you have excessive sleepiness?

In general, the person who stops breathing in sleep has sleep apnea. I suggest to read about diagnosing sleep apnea to see if you have the symptoms of this type of sleep disorder.

Neil, do you have a mobile with recording option (audio or video)? Try to record your sleep. I did it once (audio recording) and it was very interesting. I didn't know how terrible sleep I have.

Now, my advice is to go to a sleep center, and you have in UK a very good one, in London. Click here to see where should you take a sleep test in UK.

If you want to know what to expect during a sleep study, click here to learn more.

I believe you should speak with your family doctor before going there.

However, if you want to experiment something that may help you to sleep without stopping your breathing, try to sleep on the side rather than on the back.

This positional therapy can be very effective in some people with mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

So, try something to put behind your back to prevent rolling back. A tennis ball for example.
Or you can try this type of sleep apnea pillow, which is more comfortable.

Your friends are right. Stopping breathing while sleeping definitely affects your health and you should do something about it.

I hope it's not too severe like sleep apnea, but you should try a sleep study to know 100% what is your problem.

Good luck!

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

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