Rapid Breathing During Sleep | Heavy Breathing Reduces Body O2
If you have healthy relatives or friends, you can see that their breathing during sleep is very light. In fact, the breathing of the healthy person is noiseless and so quiet, that it may scare some people to death ("Is he alive?"). Vice versa, the breathing of sleeping sick people is easy to hear and see: they have heavy breathing while sleeping.
Numerous medical studies showed that morning hyperventilation (see this page: rapid breathing during sleep) leads to higher rates of heart attacks, strokes, epilepsy seizures, acute asthma exacerbations, and so forth.
Russian medical doctors invented various methods and techniques to prevent these acute life-threatening states. They also discovered that most symptoms disappear when the person has more than 20 s for the body-oxygen test.
Video: Good Sleep Hygiene (see on the right). Hyperventilation is breathing more than the medical norm. When our breathing is heavy (deep and/or fast) during sleep, we lack two crucial chemicals in the brain: carbon dioxide and oxygen. Cerebral hypocapnia (lack of CO2 in the brain) makes the nerve cells overexcited. Hypocapnia also causes reduced brain perfusion and lowered brain oxygen levels. Reduced blood flow to vital organs and vasoconstriction also leads to poor control of blood glucose, weight gain, headaches, acne and/or other symptoms.
Causes of rapid breathing while sleeping
Mouth breathing during sleep
This is the most destructive sleep factor. Nasal breathing is crucial for one's health during sleep and at all other times. It was considered before and is easy to check. Is your mouth dry when you wake up? If it so, consider using a simple mouth taping technique (see links below). For many modern mouth breathers, the mouth taping technique will immediately reduce their problems with after-sleep headaches, weight gain, acne, sleep talking and sleep paralysis.
Sleeping on one's back
Among body positions, sleeping on one's back (supine position) is worst for all tested conditions, as 24 medical studies suggest (see Sleep Positions Medical Research Summary). Some people experience sleep paralysis and sleep talking only in the supine position. Research conducted in the Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) found that, indeed, "...A greater number of individuals reported SP [with terrifying hallucinations] in the supine position than all other positions combined. The supine position was also 3-4 times more common during SP than when normally falling asleep..." (Cheyne, 2002). Kompanje (2008) also observed that "that sleep paralysis and hypnagogic experiences occur more often in supine position of the body".
In order to solve this problem, you need to use the technique to prevent supine sleep. Sleeping on the right side also causes increased ventilation in comparison with sleeping on the left side or on the chest. The best sleep position, according to Russian medical Buteyko doctors, is sleeping sitting, while inclined sleep therapy can also be beneficial (see the complete manual for all sleep related factors - Good Sleep Hygiene).
Children's ventilation is minimum when they are sleeping on their tummies (Buteyko, 1977). Swaddled infants should sleep on their backs.
Presence of disease and existing damage in the body
Talking about sleep effects during his Lecture in the Moscow State University, Dr. Buteyko noticed,
"The horizontal position, lying intensifies breathing. Patients with asthma, heart disease, hypertension, and stenocardia often have acute states at night. If they lie down during the day time, or lie for 2-3 hours; the breathing gets heavier, the attacks come. Many severely sick patients sit, afraid to lie down. This is sensible. We should lie down only for sleeping. Our patients cannot control their breathing at night, and hence, sleep is poison for them." (Buteyko, 1977).
Sleeping too long
Sleeping too long, according to Dr. Buteyko, intensifies breathing causing prolonged periods of gradually increasing hyperventilation (p.177, Khoroscho, 1982). Hence, it also leads to weight gain, headaches, sleep talking, sleep paralysis, and acne. However, a lack of sleep also causes hyperventilation due to daytime sleepiness, hormonal misbalance, brain dysfunction, and other negative effects.
Among other causes are poor air quality (especially due to carpets), soft beds, abnormal thermoregulation (e.g., too warm blankets), etc. During sleep, as each hour passes, breathing gets deeper and heavier for most people. As a result, body-oxygen levels decrease. This is easy to check using the body oxygen test. The CP drop is especially noticeable after 4-6 hours of sleep. (We are physiologically created to sleep less than 4-5 hours.)
Related Web Pages:
- How to Maintain Nasal Breathing 24-7
- Manual (Instructional Guide) "How to prevent sleeping on one's back"
- Web pages: Sleep Positions; Cold Shower Benefits and Rules (cold shower is excellent just before sleep too).
Reference pages: Breathing norms and the DIY body oxygen test:
- Breathing norms: Parameters, graph, and description of the normal breathing pattern
- Body-oxygen test (CP test) : How to measure your own breathing and body oxygenation (two in one) using a simple DIY test
References: pages about CO2 effect:
- Vasodilation: CO2 expands arteries and arterioles facilitating perfusion (or blood supply) to all vital organs
- The Bohr effect: How and why oxygen is released by red blood cells in body tissues
- Nerve stabilization: Carbon dioxide has powerful calmative and sedative effects on brain neurons and nerve cells
Buteyko KP, Lecture in the Moscow State University, Soviet national journal Nauka i zshizn'; [Science and life], Moscow, issue 10, October 1977.
Cheyne JA, Situational factors affecting sleep paralysis and associated hallucinations: position and timing effects, J Sleep Res. 2002 Jun;11(2):169-77.
Khoroscho A, Interview with Buteyko [in Russian] 1982, in Buteyko method. Its application in medical practice, ed. by K.P. Buteyko, 2nd ed., 1991, Titul, Odessa, p.168-180.
Kompanje EJ, 'The devil lay upon her and held her down'. Hypnagogic
hallucinations and sleep paralysis described by the Dutch physician Isbrand
van Diemerbroeck (1609-1674) in 1664, J Sleep Res. 2008 Dec;17(4):464-7.
... This case from 1664 should be cited as the earliest detailed account of sleep paralysis associated with hypnagogic illusions and as the first observation that sleep paralysis and hypnagogic experiences occur more often in supine position of the body.
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* Illustrations by Victor Lunn-Rockliffe
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