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Is waking someone during apnea episode (when not breathing) safe?

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BrightPearNightingale3287 +0 points · over 7 years ago Original Poster

I had a diagnosis of mild sleep apnea about 10 years ago.

It seems that my apnea has gotten worse - my spouse often observes that I completely stop breathing for 10-30 seconds, and then restart with a gasp, and intense rebreathing. It may be associated with snoring, but on many occasions it is not. I am sleeping exclusively on my stomach since early childhood - I am basically unable to get to sleep in any other way (yes, intercontinental flights are nightmare for me, everyone sleeping, except myself).

The worsening of the apnea may be due to my gained weight, or the medicines I was not taking 10 years ago at the time of my diagnosis.

My question is: is it safe if someone (e.g. my spouse) to wake me during the period I am not breathing? (different question: is it beneficial?)


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DanM +0 points · over 7 years ago Sleep Enthusiast Support Team

Hi BrightPearNightingale3287. It is safe for someone to wake you if you are not breathing. As for it being beneficial, it is difficult to say. There is definitely benefit to breathing again when you are awakened, but the interruptions to your sleep caused by the sleep apnea and/or by someone having to wake you are not so helpful. Weight gain and medications can both have an impact on sleep apnea. I encourage you to talk to your physician about a new sleep study to see if your apnea has worsened and whether it might need to be treated. Best wishes, and please keep us posted!

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wiredgeorge +0 points · over 7 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

First, go up to the pull down menu next to the search icon and set a more friendly user name. Next,, your wife may enjoy not being awakened by your gasping as you start breathing again. I didn't know I did it myself till the missus had the cell phone out and took a video. I was kind of shocked into seeking help for the problem. It was kind of lucky that members of her family had been diagnosed with sleep apnea and she recognized the symptoms. Since you were diagnosed, I take it you didn't start any sort of therapy? The times when you stop breathing means you are not getting oxygen; really not good medically on a variety of levels plus you likely feel tired during the day and may even nod off at times when it is inappropriate (like driving etc). Get another sleep study done. Discuss with the sleep doc your sleeping style so they can fit you (prescribe) with the most appropriate equipment. Once you start therapy, it may require some adjustments to your sleep style but this is easier to do if you are able to sleep deeper as you likely are not sleeping deeply now. Do follow up and let us know how this goes for you!

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