- Updated on September 13, 2020
By Dr. Artour Rakhimov, Alternative Health Educator and Author
- Medically Reviewed by Naziliya Rakhimova, MD
Irregular Breathing Patterns: Causes and Treatment Solutions
When one’s health changes and the person starts to breathe 2-3 times more than the medical norm (without noticing that), their breathing gets deeper and faster, but it still remains regular. During these transitions, from being healthy (with the normal breathing pattern) to mildly sick (with the ineffective respiratory pattern) and then severely sick (with the heavy breathing pattern), many people just breathe deeper and more often. However, low brain CO2 eventually can lead to the appearance of irregular breathing patterns.
Hence, some people develop respiratory irregularities due to the negative effects of hypocapnia (low CO2 level) and cell hypoxia (reduced cells oxygen level) in the breathing center. (It includes nerve cells located in the medulla oblongata of the brain.) As a result, such people can develop sleep apnea. This is logical to expect since CO2 is a powerful calmative and sedative agent of the nervous cells (for medical research, see CO2 Stabilizer of nerve cells), while low CO2 levels make nerve cells overexcited.
Hence, breathing normalization is the way to deal with irregular breathing patterns: the less and easier/slower you breathe, the more regular your breathing pattern naturally becomes. The application of the Buteyko breathing method for sleep apnea is a medically proven way to restore deep stages of sleep in sleep apnea patients with complete clinical remission of all symptoms related to this disease. There are other techniques to restore normal breathing. They are provided below.
Medical research and science articles have shown that low level of CO2 disrupts and overexcites the nerve cells responsible for control of automatic breathing, while brain hypoxia makes uneven respiration worse. For research abstracts and clinical studies, especially relevant to Buteyko sleep apnea solution, see the references below.
Irregular respiratory patterns
Clinical manifestations and symptoms
Early signs and symptoms
Healthy lifestyle factors
– Exercise effects
Lifestyle risk factors
– Sleeping with mouth open
Irregular breathing is a symptom of the chronic hyperventilation syndrome which is typical for most ordinary people and people with chronic diseases (see the Homepage for clinical studies). Chronic hyperventilation cannot increase normal oxygenation of the arterial blood (98%) but does cause hypocapnia causing reduced O2 delivery to body cells.
Clinical observation of patients with irregular respiratory patterns and periodic breathing suggests that their body oxygenation, measured using the DIY body oxygen level test (see instructions after the references below) is less than 20 s during daytime and less than 15 s immediately after waking up in the morning. These numbers are 2-3 times below normal, as clinical experience of Buteyko breathing medical practitioners indicate.
Reversing and treating irregular breathing patterns
Usual CP numbers (cells oxygen content) in sleep apnea patients are less than 20 s. People with severe sleep apnea often have less than 10 seconds when they wake up in the morning. Normal sleep structure with deep stages present (Buteyko Sleep Apnea Solution) and no symptoms is achieved when the patient has more than a certain CP number (in seconds) 24/7. Many sleep apnea patients can accomplish this goal within 2-4 weeks. There are following factors that make progress slower: obesity, prolonged use of the CPAP machine, the medication used, and age of the student. This number provided below here in the bonus content.
Correction of lifestyle risk factors and breathing normalization are the key elements to treat uneven breathing during sleep and daytime naturally. Positive changes and elimination of existing symptoms of irregular breathing are expected with the application of the Buteyko breathing method. More details can be also found on the page Treat sleep apnea naturally.
Apart from the Buteyko exercises, there are even more effective breathing exercises that I tested on hundreds of my breathing students. You can find out details of these techniques and the magic CP number (to cure sleep apnea and have normal natural sleep) right below here in your bonus content.
Click here for References for irregular breathing patterns.