Sometimes, after a long, tiring day, you just want to jump into your bed and fly off to Snoozeville. But what if rather than peacefully dozing off, you start to feel like you can’t breathe when you lay down? What happens then, and what does it mean?

While it could just be anxiety bubbling in your chest, leading to the lack of air in your lungs, it might also be a sign of heart failure. In this blog, you will find all the different reasons and causes behind this uncomfortable feeling, so continue reading to learn more.

Why Do I Feel Like I Can’t Breathe When I Lay Down?

Having difficulty breathing when lying down is not normal. You shouldn’t have to exert pressure or forcefully try to breathe. Depending on the additional symptoms, such as pain levels, nausea, paralysis, etc., the reason behind this phenomenon can vary. But regardless of the cause, it is necessary to seek treatment on an urgent basis.

  1. Anxiety
    Nighttime anxiety can be induced by stress or chronic anxiety disorder. It can manifest itself in many ways, but knocking the air out of your lungs is one of its main symptoms. If your hands start getting clammy or it feels like your heart is racing a thousand miles per second, you might be having an anxiety attack.
  2. Sleep Apnea
    Obstructive sleep apnea is a type of sleep apnea that severely narrows your airways, leading to low oxygen levels. It can cause you to wake up midsleep as your body frantically tries to make sense of where it is. This affects your breathing, making you swallow lungfuls of air just to be able to breathe properly.
  3. Respiratory Infection
    Respiratory infections are a result of bacteria or a virus, much like the common cold. However, in some cases, due to the phlegm and bacteria affecting your throat, breathing can become a chore, especially when coupled with coughs, fatigue, and fever.
  4. Snoring
    Sleeping on your back can lead to breathing problems, mostly for those who snore. It might also impact your breathing due to the obstructed airways.
  5. COPD
    Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a group of different breathing-related conditions. For instance, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, etc., are all classified as COPD. These conditions are usually chronic and can mess up your respiratory system.
  6. Obesity
    People who have a high BMI or are obese are much more likely to experience breathing problems when lying down. It may seem like your chest is caving in on itself, collapsing. However, this isn’t something to stress about. A short-term solution for this problem is to sleep on your side.
  7. GERD
    Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, is a condition that causes the food in your stomach to travel up your esophagus, leading to sour burps. If you lie down right after eating, it could give way to an unpleasant and heavy feeling in your chest.

Additional Symptoms To Look Out For

While chest pain and breathing problems aren’t always a sign of danger, it is still better to be careful. Here are a few symptoms you should be cautious of. If you notice two or more symptoms arising, along with shortness of breath, contact a doctor immediately.

  • High Temperature
  • Chest Pain
  • Pain That Radiates Down Your Arm
  • Dramatic or Increased Breathing
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Low Pulse
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness or Intense Headaches

When To See A Doctor?

If you have ever wondered, “Why do I feel like I can’t breathe when I lay down?” chances are it’s because of something you ate or an anxiety attack taking root. In the case that there are other serious symptoms presenting themselves, contact Internal Medicine Diagnostic Centre immediately at (281) 252-8600 or visit the clinic nearest to you.

  • Magnolia: 18550 N. 6th Street Magnolia, Texas 77354.
  • Houston: 13644 Breton Ridge Suite B Houston, Texas 77070.
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