Breathing is worse when laying down

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I have not been able to sleep flat in about a year or more.  My breathing almost stops when laying flat.  It feels like I am holding my breathe.  Does anyone else feel this way.  I am completely awake and can not sleep until inclined.  

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Sleeping inclined or on a recliner is common for many, putting gravity to work keeping more of the lung free to breathe.
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  • Posted

    You will get used to sleeping with your head higher, it just feels odd for a while.

    As I have all kinds of problems with my spine right up into my neck it is almost

    impossible sometimes to find the right elevation for sleep; I find it though and

    then off to sleep I go.  Just keep trying, it will work out fine.  

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  • Posted

    Hi Lora, I was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis just over a year ago. I sleep with 2 pillows then a v shaped pillow and another normal pillow on top of that. I have found it easier to sleep that way.

    I have also begun a pulmonary rehabilitation programme which I am getting a lot of useful information from and also breathing exercises.

    Take care linda

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  • Posted

    I also have this difficulty, similar linda, I sleep with 2 pillow, a lumber pillow just below the two pillows, and a neck hook, also when laying on my side I use a bolster between the knees.

    I don't feel like I am holding my breath when laying flat on my back, but I have a diagnosis of sleep apnoea so when I lay flat,  the back of my throat has a tendency to collapse blocking airways, its very uncomfortable and impossible to sleep.  I manage ok with the 2 pillows, neck hook etc and I can lay half way between on my side and on my back quite comfortably.

    The V shaped pillow is a good option I think.

    I find the upper body does need to be raised some to make breathing easier.

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  • Posted

    That sounds very distressing and while many of us find different ways of getting a good night sleep your description of your breathing almost stopping needs some investigating so perhaps you should mention it to your doctor very soon. Best wishes. AJ
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    • Posted

      Thank you , I have mentioned it to them many times and they say it is most likely inflammation from silent reflux disease.   They have me taking omeprazole twice a day and it does help some.  It might be what other people call breathlessness.  It feels like not much is getting in or out.  I have a bed now that elevates so it is helping a bunch.  
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  • Posted

    Hi Lora

    I get the symptoms you get all the time. I try and sleep on my side which alleviates the problem to some extent.  When I had my spirometry last year the hospital did tests both in the sitting and  lying position. My results were much worse lying back. Since then I have read lots of medical articles which point to this as quite common. As some fo the posters here have also said, try and sleep inclined upward so you are raising the top half of your body. This also by the way helps with acid reflux and also if you have oedema.  Its something to mention to your doctor is you find that sleeping one side or another is easier/harder as it can point to other problems.

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