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I Can’t Breath, My Lung is choking!

Feb 15, 2023 | Blog

It is like your body is screaming, “Hey! Wake up; I’m suffocating here!” Well, there are more than a few reasons why you are waking up gasping for breath. This blog has detailed 9 reasons why this might be happening to you.

9 Reasons Why You Are Waking Up Gasping For Breath

Let’s start with the most common reason.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

OBS, or Obstructive sleep apnea, occurs when your soft throat tissues relax and close away your airway. This results in a temporary halt to breathing (apneic episode).

When this happens, there is an abrupt disturbance to your sleep, and you result in waking up gasping or choking for air. Other symptoms, such as snoring, daytime fatigue, and a dry mouth, indicate OSA.


If you fall off the normal BMI value due to excess weight, it puts pressure on your airways to cause breathing difficulties during sleep.

Pulmonary edema

This is a condition in which fluid accumulates in the air spaces and tissues of the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. When this happens, it decreases the amount of air that can be inhaled. Thai situation results in a person waking up gasping to catch a breath as their body tries to get more oxygen.

Not only that, but the accumulation of fluid in your lungs also increases pressure in the airways, making it difficult to exhale, which leads to shortness of breath and a feeling of suffocation.

Postnasal Drip

Postnasal drip is mucus dripping into your throat from the nasal canal. It makes you congested, which results in the urge to clear out the mucus via cough. If a significant amount of mucus accumulates in your throat, it can block the area completely, leading to a breathing halt while sleeping and leaving you gasping for air.

Nocturnal Asthma

Asthma is inflammation of the airways, making them tight. This obstructs breathing. If you have asthma and gasp for air during the night, get in touch with your lung doctor to get an inhaler.


Anxiety at night while sleeping can leave you gasping to catch a breath through abrupt waking episodes. Additionally, you will see signs like sweating, chillness, chest pain, and a feeling of faintness, along with breathing difficulties.

Acid Reflux – GERD

GERD makes gastric acid from your stomach reflux into the food pipe, thereby irritating the oesophageal lining. When this goes up towards the larynx or throat, you may wake up in the middle of the night gasping for a breath.

Hypnic Jerk

This situation is spontaneous or uncontrolled twitching of your muscles while preparing to sleep. This disrupts sleep in a threatening manner.

However, hypnic jerks are nothing serious, so do not worry. But, the situation may aggravate due to anxiety, lack of sleep, caffeine, or an irregular sleep schedule.

Congestive Heart Failure

It is a condition in which your heart can’t effectively pump blood as it should. This results in an abnormality in heart valves or coronary artery disease. Difficulty in breathing is a common sign indicating heart failure.

Final Words

If you struggle to get air while sleeping, get in touch with a specialist immediately. A lung doctor in Houston from Pulmonary Medical Consultants can help you combat this problem. Connect with us by dialing (281) 357-1300 for a consultation right away.


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