View Full Version : Panic attacks *during* sleep?

09-01-16, 08:38 AM
Is it possible to have a panic attack while one is completely asleep?

Over the last couple of months, usually just after my period and after a day of rather hard exertion, I will wake from a deep sleep absolutely gasping for breath. My heart pounds for a couple of seconds, I calm down, and am able to go back to sleep. Last time it happened I was sitting up saying "I can't breathe" before I woke up fully. I felt like I was going to pass out for a couple of seconds before everything calmed down.

Also, sometimes during the day I feel like I can't take a full deep breath. It catches, and I feel like I have to yawn but I can't, if that makes sense?

Last time it happened, I went to the doctor who told me it was anxiety (had the word anxiety in my chart - kind of wish it wasn't there) after listening to me breath. She sent me on my way. And now it's happened two nights in a row.

I'm willing to own that anxiety plays into the awake and conscious feeling of not being able to yawn. But then again, not being able to breathe is, um, kind of scary on its own.

09-01-16, 08:48 AM
I used to wake feeling like that, and would feel quite hot, too. It was scary and I was certain I was dying. This was before I learned the breathing techniques I currently practice daily.

It began, and happened A LOT more, around the same time I was diagnosed as going through peri-menopause, on top of adhd, anxiety, depression, etc.

I had to keep a spritzer bottle of water and a fan next to my bed. For whatever reason, that seemed to help ground me, cool me off, and allow me to calm down..........along with xanax on occasion when I couldn't bring myself out of it.

After learning the breathing techniques (diaphragmatic, alternate nostril, twenty connected breaths, etc.) and eliminating meat, dairy, eggs, caffeine, and alcohol, I haven't experienced it since, and my sleep is restorative and in sync with my natural circadian rhythm, for the first time, ever.

09-01-16, 08:58 AM
Thanks. I'm glad to see I'm not alone at least.

Although my first thought upon reading was: Oh, crap. I'm too young to be going thru menopause :(

Guess I need to make my way back to the lady doctor (haven't been in over 15 years. . . I'm really bad)

09-01-16, 11:43 AM
I've heard sleep apnea can also cause symptoms like that. When you don't get enough oxygen and you wake up gasping for breath, heart pounding, etc.

Maybe check into that?

09-01-16, 01:58 PM
I've had what one could call something like that. I just chalked it up to a bad nightmare though.

09-01-16, 03:08 PM
I've had panic attacks while sleeping, and woke up gasping for breath. I definitely do not have sleep apnea, too (I just had that checked out). So it is definitely possible.

09-01-16, 03:22 PM
Same here, I've had panic attacks but mine are due to nightmares. :grouphug: Tyger