asthma in your sleep

I think this question might have come up on the past but I can't find it.

Is it possible to have asthma symptoms during the night but not actually wake up? I woke up this morning with a very sore and tight chest like I'd been having a hard time with my asthma, but don't remember waking up at all. I always have my reliever and spacer by my bedside so could I have taken in without properly waking up? I know when I went to bed I was having a battle with my lungs and couldnt lie down, but I took plenty of Ventolin and fell asleep so the symptoms must have gone. There's no point asking my other half as he's dead to the world when he's asleep!

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  • That sort of thing has been happening to me every night this week. I wake around 4:00 or 5:00am and it feels like everything's just a bit too sore. Then I can't get back to sleep unless I use the ventolin even though I don't really ""feel"" anything more than soreness. But when I use the ventolin I can feel my body relax and the air flow better. Next thing I know, I'm so sleepy I can't keep my eyes open.

    I understand it as my having had some difficulty breathing and my body just adapted to it by working harder and using all of the muscles that are now sore. How long it started before I woke is anyone's guess. Then I guess enough is enough, so I wake up.

    Even though there is no drama (coughing, wheezing, sudden intense difficulty), I assume it is an asthma flare-up because one wouldn't be working so hard if there was nothing making breathing more difficult.

    Also ""can't keep eyes open"" isn't generally understood as a side effect of ventolin. If anything ventolin gives people insominia and makes them hyper. If using ventolin makes me suddenly realize how tired I am then I assume that's because the ventolin fixed something that was making it hard for me to breathe well enough to sleep.

    Beth

  • Oh I'm glad you posted this! Yes, definitely: I mostly don't wake up properly, or am not aware of it, and this often means I don't actually take my inhaler at all so don't get a proper night's sleep. When I was really struggling last year, I used to feel like I'd pulled all-nighters when I'd spent maybe 8 hours in bed apparently asleep, and would then fall asleep in afternoon lectures. For me (and obviously, usual disclaimer, different for everyone etc), Atrovent before bed really helped my sleep - my GP prescribed it after I told him all this.

    Recently, with a not awful flare-up, I've been waking occasionally, or not able to get to sleep, but gone off once I've had my Ventolin, but also had the feeling of a disturbed night.

    Does anyone find some drs/asthma nurses aren't so good with this type of disturbed sleep though, ie recognising it as asthma? I was a bit annoyed with the asthma nurse specialist recently because I'd told him about the nights and symptoms and then he said it wasn't asthma because I wasn't wheezing and wasn't having disturbed nights - and I'd just told him I almost never wheeze and explained re nights. Also have been asked by a cons 'what time do you tend to wake?' even though I explained I'm not really with it or awake enough to notice. I guess they have to ask but sometimes they don't seem to get that you can have disturbed sleep without lying awake counting sheep all night...

  • I deffo get symptoms without waking up. My boyfriend used to get really worried about me but not wake me, because he assumed i was awake and just not taking my inhalers and then in the morning ask me about it, i have also had mates at sleepovers and things wake me up to make me take my meds. I don't know how frequently it happens, and i dont really know how it affects how i feel as i tend to be more tired and have a more disturbed night when other people are there anyway so it culd just be that making me feel tired the next day. I do very very occasionally wake myself up (i am a determined sleeper so i'm usually very ill and wheezy by the time i wake up) and i have noticed that i am often having 'breathing' type dreams, so things like drowning, or running long distances and in the dream i am having trouble breathing, although not always asthma trouble, and then wake up and im struggling with asthma. not sure if other people have noticed this, i tend to have very vivid and often lucid dreams so this might be fairly particular to me.

    interesting about the atrovent, might mention this to my GP when i go tommoz, although he's never keep to prescribe and prefers me to speak to my consultant, who im not seeing for about 4 weeks.

    i found it very difficult when they asked about nocturnal symptoms though. i said that i rarely wake up, but i KNOW i have some nighttime symptoms that don't wake me and based on how my lungs feel the next day i assume these issues are fairly regular.

  • Soph - yes, I get the dreams sometimes! The other night I *think* I actually had a dream that I woke up SOB and took my inhaler. I still don't know if I did or not, though the SOB seemed to improve so maybe it was real. I'm also a vivid dreamer (montelukast is meant to have that effect but there wasn't much it could have added!) I remember having a dream about scuba diving once where I really felt I was struggling for breath. Maybe a good thing really if it puts me off, as I won't be allowed to do it ever so I may as well not like it.

    I am also a fairly 'good' sleeper so it takes a lot to wake me up. Definitely ask about the Atrovent though - it's not a miracle cure and maybe doesn't work for everyone but it really helps me.

  • In my twenties I used to do this quite a bit and last week my husband told me he was really worried as I was really wheezy and rattly for about an hour while asleep.

    Normally I wake up but I'd had a few bad nights abd was exhausted.

    Bit worrying really, I told him to wake me next time si I can take reliever.

    X

  • I usually only wake when loads of coughing it seems to be more the movemwnt and noise that wakes me rather than discomfort.

    I also get breathing dreams lol! Have also had flatmates etc wake me to give me my keds when i was quite happily asleep. Kind but at the time annoying ;-)

    Rose xx

  • Thank goodness I'm not alone, and yes I get the dreams too although can't remember if I had one last night. Usually its a running dream or the like as opposed to an asthma dream.

    I have been going through a flare up following a chest infection so am struggling a lot during the day, and was waking a lot through the night. I think now, I'm that shattered that I'm sleeping right through, but even after 8 hours I wake up tired, so I wonder if I've been having these 'episodes' that are disturbing my sleep but I'm that dead to the world that it doesn't wake me. Any suggestions what I can do to prevent them?

  • Of you wake after a good long sleep feeling shattered one possibility is sleep apnea where you stop breathing at times in your sleep. You may explain this to the lung cons/gp as thwy may want to have you tested.

    Other than that if it is the asthma that bothers your sleep the only thing i can think of is to always take reliever before going to sleep and when/if you get up forthe loo or anything like that in the noght. But then the problem may be as others have said that vento might make sleep harder?

    Rose xx

  • I am so glad I read this! I never used to have any night time symptoms but in the past few months have woken occasionally from coughing. However, I notice it more when I wake up in the morning, still feeling exhausted even after sleeping for a long time and feeling like there's a real weight on my chest. I'll often feel quite weak and short of breath as well, although as far as I can remember my sleep has not been disturbed. Reading all of your experiences makes me feel a lot better!

    Maybe should start taking my inhaler more instead (I avoid it where possible because it makes me shaky and a little hyper) but if it helps me feel less exhausted the next day, so much the better! Glad I'm not the only one who has woken flatmates with coughing/wheezing as well, they're starting to get fed up of me :P

  • Hi, I'm Hayley, just newly registered, and saw this post and felt I should comment.

    At the tail end of last year my (usually dormant) asthma flared back up; I think it never fully went away after I had bronchitis in October but I would occasionally wake up in the night with it, one puff of my reliever and I was okay again.

    As for symptoms while asleep, I would say a resounding 'yes' to that! My partner kept complaining that I was being very noisy in the night, this culminated in my waking up one morning to find he had slept on the couch - I was apparently breathing extremely hard through my nose while asleep, and I believe it was the asthma starting up but not being bad enough to wake me.

    The broken sleep from waking with coughing was the most annoying thing - I went to my doctor that very day I found my partner on the couch, and was prescribed a brown Clenil preventer and a spacer. Three puffs a day for the first week, then two for the next... However now I sometimes forget to take it because the asthma symptoms have gone! Sleep is fine once again, and day to day life is asthma-free.

  • Asthma and nights are a real pain in the rear for me. I have symptoms every night. If they're mild I can sleep through, but wake achy, tired and with a lowish pf having slept through coughing, wheezing and SOB. Other half often complains that I've been coughing or wheezing in my sleep. My doctor often asks ""how well did you sleep last night"" as he knows I'm worst at nights and it's a good indicator to him how my asthma is at the time (I nearly fell asleep leaning on his desk at one appoinment last year after an all nighter).

  • Of you wake after a good long sleep feeling shattered one possibility is sleep apnea where you stop breathing at times in your sleep. You may explain this to the lung cons/gp as thwy may want to have you tested.

    Other than that if it is the asthma that bothers your sleep the only thing i can think of is to always take reliever before going to sleep and when/if you get up for the loo or anything like that in the noght. But then the problem may be as others have said that vento might make sleep harder?

    Rose xx

    Hannahrose ; Good suggestion re: sleep anpnea, although I don't always have this problem, it's not every night and when my asthma is bad, it happens more frequently. I think I will try ventolin before bed and if I wake up; I use a spacer and usually find it's only if I have 6+ puffs where I feel side effects enough to keep me awake.

    However, I notice it more when I wake up in the morning, still feeling exhausted even after sleeping for a long time and feeling like there's a real weight on my chest. I'll often feel quite weak and short of breath as well, although as far as I can remember my sleep has not been disturbed.

    Musicgeek ; This is exactly how i feel when I wake up, pathetically weak, achy tired and lowered pf, but without knowing I've had a disturbed sleep!! It happened again last night but I'm seeing the GP again this afternoon as my flare up is still not under control despite increasing my preventer. Hopefully I'll get some more pred, and if my nighttime symptoms go when on it, I'll know its definitely asthma related. I will mention this to him too.

  • Really interesting reading this - since this recent blip I've been having I've had times when I couldn't sleep due to chest tightness etc but sometimes I've been waking up feeling almost hungover without the fun the night before! I have put it down to asthma problems because of the chest tightness I have on these mornings and I generally need lots of ventolin as well as my symbicort to get me going - I never thought to mention it to gp as I thought I'd be waking in the night for it to be considered a problem - I'll mention it now though - it may help.

  • Hey Butterfly, good to know you feel like that too! It's doubly frustrating because I then find myself nodding off during the day despite having had a 'good' night's sleep - stops me from doing anything! My energy levels are just non existent at the moment.

    Having read this thread, I tried taking some reliever last night but I think it kept me awake - I didn't sleep until 6am anyway and still woke at 9:30 feeling exhausted. Hope your symptoms start going soon, and the GP is useful!

  • Had simmlar thing

    i can have mild coughing and sleep through

    but also wake up 2am ish and tight in the morning

    can take inhaler when half awake

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