Wakeing Up

I’m 65 and have had COPD for 6 years. Every night I go to sleep with my hands crossed over my chest, when I wake in the morning if I can move my elbows outward without feeling wood, then I know I haven’t died in the night.

When I wake I do a quick check. I am breathless?..No, Am I wheezing?…No.

But I do have to get out of bed and get to the loo a bit quick. I live in a bungalow so there’s no great distance to cover, and then it all starts off. For the next hour I find I’m coughing and struggling to breath whilst fighting off a panic attack.

I’ve tried taking a puff on my Ventolin before getting out of bed, and try to move as slowly as possible, but it’s the same terrifying situation most mornings. Anybody else have a similar experience and if so whats your solution.

11 Replies

  • Hi Please feel free to call the helpline on 03000 030 555 and we can see how we can help you



  • Hi Dantredan, certainly rings my bells. This is also my usual start to the day too. I have had to train myself not to dive out of bed, but go very slowly, get your breath back sitting on the loo, then go back slowly. Panic attacks can be helped, speak to your gp about that, but meanwhile when you feel panicky, try to focus on tummy breathing and breathe out with pursed lips. Easier said than done but you can train yourself to do it. Hope this helps to know you are not alone.

  • Hi ingy,

    Many thanks for taking the time to reply, I have just been on the phone to Vicky at BLF and she has given me some very good advice on switching my medication around, and suggests I take my Symbicort before atempting to get out of bed.

    Feel like a fraud complaining now. but I'm really desperate in the mornings.

    Wish you well/


  • I used to panic for breath in the early days, I trained my head to let me breath deep and slow rather than quick gasping breaths, My breathing soon gets back to normal. Thankfully it's a rare occurrence now.

  • - Join the Club dantredan !, I have the same problems, but thankfully without panic attacks, - BUT WHY ? - how can it be , when we have "Rested" without ANY exertion for hours, then as soon as get up- even very slowly, the blasted troubles begin ? its almost as if the Lungs say to us, "You may want to get up now, be we aint fineshed our "Sleep" - your on your own for a while buster !!!. Fraid I don't know the answer to this one, I just ride it out as bests I can, and then very slowly start to attend to the days activities , but keep my ears and eyes open for any answers and solutions to this problem , Best wishes from a fellow sufferer !! - Vittorio.

  • Love the cat. The act of getting up is exhausting, I sleep half sitting up on my right side as that is the arm that still works. When I want to get up I sort of allow the legs to drop off the edge of the bed and push up with my right hand. Now sitting on the edge and waiting to recover, maybe take a couple of puffs. The stress of needing the Loo just adds to the breathing problem...maybe too much information...Tenna Lady. It does take the worry out of the situation and we all know what an unexpected cough can do!! Gentlemen, I do believe there is an equivalent for you.

  • I'm 66 and have Bronchiectasis and copd,(diagnosed 7 years ago).I sleep on my back,two pillows under my head and arms down by my sides,I always wake up tired and breathless but so very happy that I have actually opened my eyes and have a pulse.xxxxxx

  • Probably best to use the Ventolin then wait about 10-15 minutes before moving, give it time to work. That's what it says on the information leaflet anyway.

    The call of the loo is probably stronger than the need to wait those minutes, but that's why I've started drinking less on an evening, so it's not as urgent when I wake up. I sleep downstairs, so need to climb the steps to get to the loo, which takes careful planning...

  • Hi All,

    Thanks for your comments and advice. I've changed my medication around and now take my Symbicort before I get out of bed, wait as long as I can, then get out and head for the loo. Then about an hour later I take my Spiriva.

    I have been taking Spiriva every evening at 11pm for nearly 18 months,(no body told me any different) but haveing spoken to BLF i find I should be taking it in the morning.

    ...So far So good.

    Only been a member here for 2 days, and I've learnt more about COPD here than the doctors have told me in 6 years. An example, I have an appointment with the COPD clinic at my local sugery on Monday, untill I got that appointment I didn't know they had a COPD clinic. I'll be going with a big list of questions.

    Thanks again to everyone for your valued help and support.


  • done me good to read there are more out there with the morning gasps - going slowly and correct breathing is the answer but am having a battle with the inner monster that shoots me into panic mode and hangs over me ready to battle any relaxed breathing - just getting it under control when the door bell rings and - oops down he swoops again...gasp gasp!

  • Hi Wishoz, I've just read your post, although it was a month ago. I too have the panic attacks, it got so bad recently even the phone ringing set it off. It was even worse if I was expecting someone at the door (Tesco grocery delivery etc), I wouldn't dare move from the couch for the allotted hour time slot in case they arrived and I was in the loo or the kitchen, and as I waited, the fear would mount and and as the minutes ticked by I'd need the loo more and more. It got so the fear was controlling every minute of my life. I had previously been prescribed Lorazepam for bad attacks, half a tablet under the tongue when in panic mode, and they used to subside quite quickly but recently have become less effective. I think, and hope, I am very slowly getting it under control a bit by using the breathing technique at the very first of panic, it's no use once it's in full flow as your body controls your breathing at that point and you can't get control of it yourself. Two or three slow breaths in through the nose and four or five slow breaths out through the mouth. Yesterday, I was thrown into a tizz as I heard the window cleaner doing the windows and knew he would knock for his money any second. As the panic started, instead of being paralysed by it, I set off to the door trying to breath as above and managed to open it and give him his money! This gave me a bit more confidence. The problem with medication for panic/anxiety is that it suppresses the respiratory system and as ours are already compromised with our lung conditions so they aren't really suitable for us. I have spent hours and hours trawling the internet trying to find help for the panic and the best I have come up with is the breathing as above. This fear is a disabling monster, as if we don't have enough to cope with! I'd adopted so many coping methods, avoiding doing anything that might get me even slightly out of breath that it eventually worked against me and I was unable to do anything. Hopefully, though, I am coming out the other side and pushing myself to do a bit more little by little. I do hope you can slowly start to try and overcome your anxiety. I think, if you click on my username, you can send me a message any time you need to "chat", as I have found, since I joined this forum, that it has helped me so much just to know others are suffering the same problems. Best wishes, Libby

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