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Can't breathe when laying on my right side

Discussion in 'Autonomic, Cardiovascular, and Respiratory' started by Valentijn, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    Basically if I sleep on my right side or on my back, I wake up gasping for breath. Sometimes the (presumed oxygen) problem is bad enough that my body will be shaking/trembling for a bit until I roll over or sit up and catch my breath.

    Last night I did a semi-waking thing when this was happening, and realized my lungs felt like they were barely expanding at all, and there was a tight feeling associated with it, like they couldn't expand.

    I always sleep on my left side, but often roll over in my sleep. And I never have any problems while on my left side, which makes me think this isn't a "anxiety" or adrenal/etc issue. And it takes a while (at least half an hour on my right side) before this seems to kick in. Any suggestions?
     
  2. lansbergen

    lansbergen Senior Member

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    Mine could not. Not suprising when muscles fail to do their job.

    It is much better now.
     
  3. Nielk

    Nielk

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    I',m sorry, Valentijn, about this scary sleep issue. Not breathing, is definitely not an option! The only hing that I know about sleeping on the left side is that this was advised to me during pregnancy but, I'm not sure why? It sounds as if when you are sleeping on your right side, there is too much pressure placed on an organ like the heart or lungs?
     
  4. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    There is a nerve or artery that can be pinched when weighing too much, but this is a problem that has gotten worse while my weight has stayed the same.
     
  5. Nielk

    Nielk

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    I'm not sure what it could be. Sleep apnea would cause waking with gasping for air but, it should not make a difference whether you are sleeping on your right or left side I would think.
     
  6. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    How high is your pillow? Are you bending at the neck?
     
  7. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    Medium height, and my head sinks into it nicely. Feels straight and properly supported.
     
  8. TCP36

    TCP36 I'm not giving up, despite the setbacks and BS!

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    My sleep is messed up and I have some symptoms of sleep apnoea and so gasp for air and am jittery and panicky when I wake up. Have oxymetry test done which was inconclusive so will stay in sleep lab to see what's going on. I have autonomic neuropathy and jerking, sleep paralysis, snoring heavily and stopping breathing to name but a few problems. The antidepressants helped with sleep but coming down off them made things worse, so hope to go back on Nortriptyline soon. I hope you get some rest. Raise the head of your bed by several inches, drink plenty of fluids.
     
  9. Kina

    Kina Moderation Team Lead

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    Hi Valentijn

    Have you tried putting a rolled up towel or something behind your back to stop yourself from being able to roll over during the night.
     
    Valentijn likes this.
  10. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    That's a good idea. I have a couple extra flatish little Ikea pillows that I can stuff behind me.
     
    Kina likes this.
  11. rosie26

    rosie26 Senior Member

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    I have this problem as well, it started about 4-5 years ago. I can't go to sleep on my left side, if I try, after about 5 minutes I feel uncomfortably distressed, there is a feeling of my heart getting overheated and I need to turn over and cool that side of my body around the heart area. I also have a feeling that my heart is getting squashed or pushed upon and I also have a gasping for breath.
    Just another bizzare symptom to deal with. I really should mention to my doctor, but always so many other things to talk to him about. So I now sleep on my right side or back. Hope my right side stays right.
     
    Valentijn likes this.
  12. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    I've had exactly the same Valentijn - woke one night and realised I was not breathing (muscles involved not working apparently) - went to an open window and "pumped" my lungs to gain oxygen. It has now passed but lack of oxygen supply or muscular failure I don't know. It can be very nasty and hope with a good Doc and all evidence here on PR it will ease for you. Sleepwise I found the best to find the most comfortable and stay in it.
     
    Valentijn likes this.
  13. LaurieL

    LaurieL Senior Member

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    I also went through the same thing, but mine also passed. They have a name for it, something like trepopnea?? Although it seems this passes with us, it could also indicate something serious going on.

    I also have had something since I became menstrual, I had a sharp pain that would knock the very breath out of you in my chest. There didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to them, but after aging, what I noticed is that their occurrence happened in correlation with the onset of menses, a deficiency in carnitine, or post high adreniline (chronic stress) surges. Its called Texidors twinge.

    Putting a stop behind your back is a good idea to stop you from switching sides in your sleep. I also wanted to share with you what helped me the most. Not only the support of the head was important. I found that sticking a pillow b/w your legs, (long pillow I mentioned), and aligning my hips and knees to the same height as my head, very supportive. It takes pressure off of the chest cavity and also the side you are sleeping on. Support the arm in which is not down, on the pillow as well. Takes pressure off the chest cavity as well, as well as the arm down.
     
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  14. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    Thanks! It's great having a name for it - gives me a starting point :p Mine's been pretty constant for years (starting before ME), though I think it's gotten steadily worse, especially after getting ME.
     
  15. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    Bras and wearing them during sleep can cause problems .

    I cant wear them so it wasnt the problem for me - but this did pass . i believe mine was muscle fatigue and possible lung infection.
     
  16. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    This got a lot worse last night. Even laying on my left (usually safe) side or stomach left me feeling badly lacking in oxygen. My heartbeat felt weak/muffled - at first turning over would get it back to normal for a few minutes, but after an hour or so it wasn't helping and I was feeling really bad and getting freaked out a bit.

    I went downstairs, where my fiance was still awake, and he commented on how white my face was. Fingernails were also blue. Blood pressure monitor showed normal BP and heart rate (for me). I felt a little better after sitting up half an hour, and took another dose of Strattera, which I never do at night, to see if that would help my heart beat feel a little more vigorous. That did help, and I was able to lay down and breathe at the same time after about an hour.

    I'm nauseated this morning, and still feeling a bit low on oxygen, but not blue at least. Sitting up straight sucks, and standing up and walking around leaves me badly out of breath. But sitting with legs up and crossed, while slumping over them, seems to work alright. We called the doc first thing this morning, and I'm going in this afternoon.

    Edit: I also had a lot of burping last night while sitting up, then farting when going back to bed. Then burping again when I got up in the morning. CO2 issues maybe?
     
  17. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    Good Luck , take care.
     
  18. rosie26

    rosie26 Senior Member

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    VaIentijn, I suffer from this concerning symptom as well but on my left side, I am worried it will also move to my right side and I will end up having to just sleep on may back which I'm not liking the thought of.

    Now that it's started on your left side, you really need to find the cause.

    I think I might do some searching around on this problem and see what I can discover.
    Is it the heart, lungs, muscle weakness, central nervous circuit fault causing the gasping for breath ( would the nervous system do that ?) ? Will let you know if I discover anything. I need to find a cause for this too.

    I thought the part where you said " sitting with your legs up and crossed and slumping over them seems to work alright"
    interesting. That position you are in, reminds me of a technique a doctor once showed me for a racing heart, (it corrects the heart beat and brings it back to normal). It's a bit hard to describe in words but he told me when I had the abnormal heartbeat -" to sit down, put your arms down your sides and sink your chest down into your stomach and breathe out at same time." works every time for me, so glad I happened upon that doctor, never saw him again.
    I have a feeling our heart is involved with this problem, could be wrong. As I said I have to start looking around for answers to this I think.

    Will be thinking of you x
     
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  19. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    I did a little experiment for half an hour, laying on my right ("bad") side. I started feeling crappy after about 10 minutes. BP was pretty normal throughout, though pulse stayed high at around 90. After half an hour, I sat up, and my left arm (upper arm while lying down) was much colder than the right, and the hand was a bit blue. Fingers on my left hand are still tingling 15 minutes later :p
     
  20. rosie26

    rosie26 Senior Member

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    I know, I feel crappy after about 10 minutes on my left side !

    Circulation getting strangled somewhere ?

    Hope when you go to the doctor, you get some answers.
    Let us know how you get on if you don't mind
    I have to get to bed now it's nearly 11pm. and that means another night on my right side ! x
     

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