Why do I have shortness of breath at night?
Shortness of breath at night is one of the most common symptoms that people experience during sleep. People usually notice it only after they fall asleep and wake up from their dreams. The reason why people get shortness of breath while sleeping is because there are many things which cause them to stop breathing. These include:
Excessive coughing or sneezing
Sore throat due to cold or allergies
Diarrhea caused by stomach virus, diarrhea due to food poisoning, diarrhea due to constipation, vomiting, or even just having too much liquid in your body. (It’s normal)
The first thing that you need to realize is that if you’re not breathing enough while sleeping then you will start breathing less than usual during the day. So if you have been experiencing shortness of breath at night, then chances are that you’ll continue to experience it during the day too.
What Causes Shortness of Breath During Sleep?
When you lie down, your lungs expand and contract depending on how much oxygen and carbon dioxide is in your blood. When you take a deep breath, the air comes out faster than when you exhale. If this happens often, then it could lead to shortness of breath at night.
It’s important to remember that you need to breathe more when you’re lying down because a lot of the time the expansion of your chest pushes down on the organs inside your abdomen.
This means that if you are having trouble breathing, the problem isn’t necessarily with your lungs but with something else.
The main things to consider are:
Sitting up while sleeping can help improve your breath and reduce the shortness of breath which is happening when you’re sleeping. Sleeping on one’s side instead of on one’s back can also help a lot with breathing.
Most people have problems with their throat while sleeping. This is usually caused by lying in an awkward position which causes the throat to be partially blocked.
It can also be caused by a dry mouth or excessive snoring. In some cases, it is actually caused by something more serious like sleep apnea which is a condition that can cause you to stop breathing altogether. It’s important to note that you should check with a doctor if you find that you’ve been experiencing shortness of breath at night more than usual.
Napping during the day can also be a reason why you experience shortness of breath while sleeping. This is because when you lie down, the weight of your head pushes down on the organs in your abdomen and this causes your lungs to have less space to expand.
This is why it’s important to only nap for short periods of time if you want to improve your sleep quality.
Do you suffer from shortness of breath at night when you sleep?
Then don’t worry as it is not life threatening and can easily be treated. You should however pay attention to any signs of tiredness or weakness during the day. Even if the symptoms seem very mild, you should still get them checked out by a doctor.
Sources & references used in this article:
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Hypercapnia can induce arousal from sleep in the absence of altered respiratory mechanoreception by NT Ayas, R Brown, SA Shea – … journal of respiratory and critical care …, 2000 – atsjournals.org
… -concentration carbon dioxide is an effective adjunct to positive airway pressure in the treatment of refractory mixed central and obstructive sleep-disordered breathing by RJ Thomas, RW Daly, JW Weiss – Sleep, 2005 – academic.oup.com
Epidemiology, risk factors, and consequences of obstructive sleep apnea and short sleep duration by NM Al Lawati, SR Patel, NT Ayas – Progress in cardiovascular diseases, 2009 – Elsevier
Relationship of nasal congestion with sleep, mood, and productivity by DE Stull, L Roberts, L Frank… – Current medical research …, 2007 – Taylor & Francis
Sleep-related breathing and sleep-wake disturbances in ischemic stroke by DM Hermann, CL Bassetti – Neurology, 2009 – AAN Enterprises
Insomnia with objective short sleep duration is associated with a high risk for hypertension by AN Vgontzas, D Liao, EO Bixler, GP Chrousos… – Sleep, 2009 – academic.oup.com
Effects of poor and short sleep on glucose metabolism and obesity risk by K Spiegel, E Tasali, R Leproult… – Nature Reviews …, 2009 – nature.com