Sleeping Issues

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/14/2009 11:05 PM (GMT -6)   
I've posted here off and on, thinking under a different username the password to which I have long forgotten.  It's been about a year or so, since I had my last GERD scope, that I've posted here (probably under Grimmly or some variation thereof).
I've been seeing a counselor for what turns out to be General Anxiety Disorder.  I've been suffering from panic attacks since November off and on.  I went through a bout of thinking the anxiety was cardiovascular in nature due to my blood pressure being borderline high, but I'm much more at ease with that now after consulting with my doctor and having some tests done.
I'm once again showing some reflux related symptoms that have me concerned.  I have low-grade barrett's (no disphagia) but that doesn't stop me from worrying about my acid reflux.  It's been successfully treated with Prevacid for seven years or so now, but I'm also aware it can come back without the tell-tale symptoms (for me, heartburn was awful).  I still know what to look for in regards to the "silent" symptoms though, which is why any time I exhibit them I get a little concerned.  Due for a scope in a week to check up on it.  Fingers crossed.
This post, though, relates to something new.  Unlike almost all of my other health worries, this is a problem in which the symptoms were manifest before I knew any details about a particular condition.  A few weeks ago, I was dozing in my recliner (very comfortable chair, I might add) and before I knew it, I was sitting bolt upright, unable to catch my breath.  I caught it fairly quickly, but the brief lack of airflow made me dizzy and confused.  I hurried to my wife to try and articulate what had happened.  (For me to come charging in with some health "problem" is nothing new for her.)  It has happened intermittently since then, usually if I'm in my chair dozing (with my head back) or in bed on my back.  I've noticed that sleeping on my side reduces or eliminates the problems.
Generally, when I am in a state of semi-twilight - when my mind has drifted and started to wander towards dreamland, but my body is still awake and readily "wakeable" - is when this occurs the most.  Once I'm good and out, I seem to remain good and out.  But getting to that point poses concern for me, because I worry it will happen again.  And as with any symptom, the more attention I give it, the more prominent it seems.
I did some research and the symptoms seem to be very apnea-like.  I'm unfamiliar with many of the details regarding apnea, but I have heard of 2 types of airway issues: central and obstructive (not sure of the difference).  I also have heard that 3 different things can factor into apnea: acid reflux, obesity, and anxiety.
I'm curious how exactly anxiety can figure into this, since it seems to be a pretty straightforward biological problem.
The kicker is, of course, that I have all three of those things to varying degrees.  I have reflux, though I'm reasonably certain it is under control (will know for sure next week), I weigh just shy of 300lbs, and I suffer from anxiety.
I've also found that, from time to time, especially since this has started (though it predates it as well), I am getting winded a little easier, and I even have moments where I have to force myself to breath.
This, of course, kicks up the heart rate and causes me to fret over the cardio problems.
The stress level in my life is always high to very high - I'm the father of 5 kids, working, going to school, and working on other projects as well.
It doesn't hurt to breath or anything, but I find that it takes more effort and sometimes I have to really remind myself to do it at all, especially if I'm in the "obsessed with it" mindset.  I sometimes will just kind of briefly lose my breath at random.
I guess I'm curious if anyone else has these issues and can shed some light on the anxiety aspect of this whole thing; if I really am losing my breath or if it's just part of my anxiety.  While I've had a few bouts of being "more tired than usual" over the past week or two, on most days I am about the same; no more exhausted than is usual in my position.
I'll be making an appointment tomorrow to be seen about this because I don't want to mess with the cumulative effects of the lack of oxygen flow, especially since my BP is usually on the high side because of my anxiety (when I'm not anxious it's generally normal) and I don't want to mess with heart problems or stroke, etc.  From what I've read it seems like that's the more severe and drastic cases and more in slightly older people, though I'm sure there are exceptions.
Anyway, just looking to share and see if anyone else with anxiety has experienced this.  I feel like my case is backwards; I know a lot of people who may get anxiety from a lack of sleep or who may wake up more often with apnea-like symptoms.  But those symptoms are very recent for me, and they are very frightening.  Even as I sit and type this, I am starting to doze and find I have to force my eyes open and breath into my airways.
It's always something, it seems.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 6397
   Posted 6/15/2009 4:12 AM (GMT -6)   

Sorry to read you are having these sleeping problems and I think you are right to check these symptoms out with your doctor. I have GAD and I do have terrible sleep problems which are related to my anxiety, I have problems getting to sleep and when i do get some sleep I have bad nightmares and often wake in a panic short of breath. I hope you find a solution to this soon and keep posting to let us know how your doctors appointment went.

Take Care


Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/15/2009 9:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to the forum.  I do not have this problem but perhaps you would want to discuss your issues with your physician if you think you may have sleep apnea. 
If you have been searching the net you have probably run accross info re sleep studies.  You may be a candidate for a sleep study.
Take care,


Kitt, Co-Moderator:
Depression,  & 
*~* *~*
"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others."
Not a mental health professional of any kind
Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 40
   Posted 6/15/2009 1:01 PM (GMT -6)   
I have a similar issue. Recently, just about everytime I fall asleep, I'm awake within 5-10 minutes with strange sensations, that twilight, half-awake feeling. That is really scary to me and almost always triggers a panic attack. I suppose apnea could play in there somewhere too. I'm neither obese nor do I have acid reflux but I do have bouts of severe anxiety.
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