Catathrenia – Are You Making Strange Noises While Sleeping?

a woman who can't sleep because of the man's noiseJust when you thought you were dropping off to sleep, your partner irritably shakes you awake. A conversation along these lines takes place:

‘You’re making those weird noises again!’

‘What noises?’

‘You know, with that horrible groaning sound that goes on for ages. I can’t sleep with you doing that…’

If this sounds familiar, then it may be that you’re suffering from catathrenia.

What is Catathrenia?

Sometimes known as nocturnal groaning, catathrenia is a rare sleep disorder which falls under the category of parasomnias. Parasomnias can be defined as unusual nighttime occurrences. And the sound made by catathrenia sufferers in their sleep can be very strange indeed.

People who have catathrenia will typically breathe in deeply while sleeping. They then hold their breath for a short while. When they breathe out if may sound like a long groaning, moaning or shrieking noise which can last from a few seconds up to a minute. And at the end of the groan could be a secondary noise like a snorting or the person might also wake up.

The noise made can be very loud, and for some people can even sound like a sexual noise. This can be quite disturbing or annoying for other people in the household who hear it, not to mention embarrassing for the person making the noise.

Catathrenia usually occurs during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, though can occur in other sleep stages. Most people report it happening later in the night, which mirrors the fact that there’s more REM sleep later on during sleeping.

People who have catathrenia will usually experience it for many years, and during this time will in many cases experience it most nights. And unless their partner can sleep through any noise, they’ll probably hear about it from them in the morning.

What Catathrenia isn’t

catathrenia and snoring are not the same thingCatathrenia could be confused for other sleep disorders or heath issues. So it’s important to understand that it isn’t any of the following:

  • Related to snoring. The easy way to tell the difference is that snoring usually takes place on the in-breath, whereas catathrenia takes place during the out-breath.
  • Related to exhalatory snoring (which seems like it contradicts the first point). The noise in this kind of snoring is also made on the out-breath. However, the distinction is that only with catathrenia does the person hold their breath after they breathe in.
  • Sleep apnea. Even though both disorders involve a pause in breathing, there’s a key difference. With apnea the pause happens after breathing out; with catathrenia the pause happens after breathing in.
  • Stridor, which is a potentially dangerous condition where a person lets out a high pitch sound due to a constriction of the airways.
  • Related to sleep talking. Despite the fact that sometimes people can make a very strange sound, it isn’t the same as sleep talking.
  • Moaning which occurs during epileptic seizures.
  • Related to any other breathing disorder.
  • Related to any dream states or mental suffering.

When diagnosing catathrenia a medical professional would want to rule out the above possibilities, particularly the more threatening conditions like apnea, epilepsy and stridor.

What causes catathrenia?

As with many sleep disorders the exact cause of catathrenia is still in debate among the medical and scientific community. There have been various theories put forward, including:

  • Obstruction or restriction of the upper airway.
  • During REM sleep, the vocal chords may partially close off. A forced out-breath then takes place to push through this closure and unblock the vocal chords.
  • Damage to brain structures that control breathing.
  • There have also been suggestions it’s connected to high stress levels.

Unfortunately there’s a lack of studies that have been done to work out the exact causes. Since Catathrenia results in more social problems than being medically dangerous, researchers are for the most part focused on sleep disorders which can be harmful.

Despite the lack of consensus as to the cause, it does appear that many researchers believe it’s an obstruction or restriction of the airways that causes catathrenia. Because of that, some argue that it shouldn’t be classed as a parasomnia, but rather a sleep-related breathing disorder.

Catathrenia treatment

Many people don’t even realise they have catathrenia until a partner or someone sleeping in their house tells them about the noise. The first step is of course to identify that it isn’t a different sleep disorder.

Talking with a medical professional or having a sleep study conducted is the best way to make sure catathrenia is identified correctly. You may be diagnosed purely from your history and reported symptoms.

Otherwise you may be asked to have a polysomnogram, which is an over-night sleep study. Following this there are 2 ways of looking at treatment:

  1. Should the sufferer look at ways to address the problem?
  2. Should the person who is being disturbed find ways to block out the noise?

For actual treatment of the patient, it seems either an oral device or a CPAP machine are currently the main options, with surgery also a possibility.

In 2008, a study at Standford University of 7 catathrenia sufferers found that a Continuous Positive Airways Pressure (CPAP) machine helped resolve the nocturnal groaning for all 7 people.

A CPAP machine delivers air gently through the nose to keep the airways open. Interestingly it’s normally only used by people who have Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

In that study though, all 7 of the people refused to keep wearing the machine, and most had surgery after the study. The researchers reported that those who did have surgery were cured of their catathrenia.

Since catathrenia is seen as a mild disorder, and more of an inconvenience for sufferers and their families, treatment isn’t usually rushed and the least intrusive options are offered first.

So the alternative is for people who are being disturbed by the noise to take action. Wearing earplugs for sleeping could help in some circumstances, though possibly not for the loudest of groaners.

I’ve also heard suggestions of using a white noise machine to mask the sound. This is unlikely to work though if you’re in the same room. It might help if you’re hearing it from another bedroom in the same house, but not if you’re right next to the person making the sounds.

So if you’re unable to find ways for you and anyone else living with you to cope, or are concerned that you might have a different sleep disorder, you may find seeking medical advice a good first step.

Reader’s tip

Finally, a couple of readers have commented to say that they found raising their pillows helped stop the groaning sounds. I haven’t seen this published as a recommended treatment, but it’s great that readers think it helps.

I’d be very grateful if you decide to try it, if you could leave a comment later to say if it worked or not. That way I can write in more detail about how often it helps people.

258 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I first noticed the moaning several years ago when I had the flu with a high fever. Since then it was come and gone but only when I’m sick. Lately I have been under a high level of stress at work and it is happening every night. It wakes me up and is really embarrassing. My husband gives me a hard time about it and wants to know what I’m dreaming about. It was only funny the first time he asked. Now I’m just thoroughly embarrassed. I have a cold right now so it is possible that’s playing into it but I wish I could make it stop. I’m am a tiny bit glad I’m not alone. I’ve also developed migraines with aura recently….all stress related I’m sure.

  • I’ve never had an issue with groaning in my sleep until I became pregnant. Now in my third trimester, I definitely think its related to the pressure on my diaphragm.

    • Hi Alisha
      Thanks for your comment. If you think that’s the case, are you able to find a sleeping position which helps a little? Or perhaps even look into one of those specialist pregnancy pillows?
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I have just recently started moaning in my sleep. My husband woke me to ask if i was alright. I could hear the moaning. It usually starts when i am falling asleep. No gasping for air and it happens on the exhale. Should I be worried?

    • Hi Ingmar
      Thanks for your comment. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about from what you say. However, if you’re concerned you can always get your doctor’s professional advice. And if it disrupts you and your partner’s sleep too much, it could become a concern in terms of the effect on your daily life.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I did exactly this last night and had to google it. I’ve had a viral infection for 2 weeks now and during this time I have had difficulty breathing comfortably while in bed. Most of my symptoms have eased but the breathing difficulty is still there. Last night was the worst, because it felt like I woke myself up making this “mmmmmm” noise every time.

    Like another person commented, I only do this when I’m really sick. I also noticed I’m more likely to do it when I have taken Pseudoephedrine.

    • Hi Alison
      Thanks for your comment. I think many illnesses can result in changes to the breathing, so it perhaps makes sense that these kind of symptoms would appear for some people. However, I think there’s a distinction between making noise when breathing on a permanent basis and only when ill.
      Hopefully you’ll be better soon and won’t have any more breathing trouble.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I had no idea what catathrenia was until I checked the internet. I enjoyed the article and the comments. I don’t feel so alone now. My husband can sound like a cow mooing. He can start out slow and work up to an astonishing crescendo and sigh and make talking type sounds at the end. He recently had sinus surgery and was forced to sleep at an incline and the groaning/mooing did subside. He hates the wedge and usually slides down until he’s flat. I’m looking into an adjustable bed for him in the spare bedroom. I can’t wear earplugs…very severe 24/7 tinnitus and sleep with a fan on for white noise year round. Unfortunately, as you pointed out in the article, it does little to mute the mooing. Rock, meet hard place. The only solution for us is separate bedrooms. I need my sleep!

    • Hi Susan
      Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear you’ve had such difficulty sleeping with the noise of your husband. I think sometimes sleeping in separate bedrooms is an inevitable best solution for some people. My advice, based on personal experience, is to try to make sure that doesn’t end any romance or enjoyment of cuddling and snuggling etc. What I’ve done in the past is to start in the same bedroom, and enjoy some time together, perhaps lying in bed until we’re both at the point of falling asleep – and then move to another bed. In my experience it’s been a good compromise!
      Regards
      Ethan

  • This just happened to me. I kept my boyfriend up all night and he has a final at 8AM… I feel terrible. Anyways, back when I lived at home, my parents once ran into my room thinking there was an intruder because I sounded like I was struggling. I was sound asleep. I wake myself up when I hear my groans sometimes, but I noticed that the only time I groan in my sleep is when I’m super sick. Like the article said, its probably from obstruction of airway. But the pattern for me is definitely when I’m sick or just have a sore throat.

    • Hi Nancy
      Thanks for your comment. Don’t feel too bad about your boyfriend – I’m sure the adrenalin will get him through just fine! It’s interesting that you notice it only happens when you’re sick. Perhaps in the future when you’re not well, you could try to change your sleeping position and see if it helps.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • For me it’s high stress, at work yesterday bad things went down. It also occurred after an car accident years ago and dealing with lawyers. I wake myself up and I’m stuck in between, a half wake. Knowing I’m doing it but I can’t stop it. In the car accident the situation they dr put me on Amitriptyline before bed, it didn’t help. My BF shaking me awake did.

    • Hi Marie
      Thanks for your comment. I think when you’re able to identify that stress triggers it, the best solution is to try to work on the stress itself. If you can’t prevent the stressful situations from happening, maybe you can work on how you cope with the stress. There are many good techniques for handling stress, and perhaps for you it might be helpful to try some relaxation techniques before or when in bed.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I do this occasionally maybe three to four times a week, but I also have sleep apnoea so I usually wear my Cpap. If I forget or if I’m really tired and fall asleep before putting it on then my wife says I sometimes make this weird groaning then snorting sound when I first fall to sleep for like the first hour or so then it sort of stops then gradually my apnoeas start. As I say when I wear my Cpap mask I’m ok. Although reading the article it seems it should be one or the other, either sleep apnoea or catathrenia. Unless they are both due to a restriction / obstruction that when disturbed somehow can be either sleep apnoea or catathrenia? It would be interesting to know if any of the 7 study members had OSA symptoms too or if other people commenting have both conditions.

    • Hi there
      Thanks for your comment. It could well be that the sounds you make are connected to the sleep apnea rather than catathrenia. Have you asked your doctor what they think, and if they might be coexisting? I’m not sure about the study members, but perhaps other readers will be able to say if they experiences both.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I’m not sure if I fall under this but a few months ago I started doing this humming sound. I didn’t know I was doing it until my boyfriend told me I was. But lately, I actually wake myself up to my own humming. I don’t know why but it bothers me. Is there anything I can do to prevent it or help it?

    • Hi Jenisse
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately I don’t really have more advice other than what’s in the article. If it starts to disturb your sleep and affect your daily life, you can ask your doctor for some advice though.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I think what my husband did last night probably falls into the category of catathrenia, but I’m not certain, because for all the world, it almost sounded like deep baritone and bass singing. Yes, singing! No words, and not exactly melodic, but it was a very interesting series of sounds that went on for at least ten minutes. He has no recollection of it, but did say he slept “hard.” I hope he does it again so I can record it on my phone.

    • Hi Elizabeth
      Thanks for your comment. If it’s the first time it’s happened, it may end up just being a one off. As you say, see if it happens again and try and record it.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Well I’m in the same club. I am so frustrated with making odd sounds at night, gasping for air, and sometimes I literally scare myself with these sounds. I’ve had some sounds that sound like a wild beast. What the hell! This night business literally makes me distance myself from having a man in my life that would share my bed. So I have my dog who never complains. But that doesn’t fix it if there are health issues related . I will have to look into doing a sleep study and see what’s going on. Anyway it looks like it’s definitely a real issue for many. Good luck everyone !!

    • Hi there
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why you’d be reluctant to invite someone to share the noise you make. However, as the recent reader pointed out, acceping it as a part of you (at least temporarily, hopefully) is important to do. And remember, there are plenty of guys who will sleep right through it, and even if not, will accept it. We’re not all incapable of being understanding – I hope!
      Let’s see what the doctor thinks as well if you get the sleep study done. Gasping for air is never a good thing, so do make sure you mention that as you need to rule out sleep apnea too.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I have been doing this my whole life (26 years) and I am at the end of my tether now.

    Apparently I have a sharp gasping intake of breath then hold for extraordinary lengths of time when and let it out with a groan. My boyfriend is getting fed up, as it worries him and I interrupt his sleep. I very rarely feel refreshed by sleep and it is making me feel unwell, I really do not know what can be done. I do think there is something more to this than just a groaning noise as a particularly bad night can leave me exhausted and short of breath even when I have not woken up during the night

    • Hi Natalia
      Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear this is causing you so much distress. I can completely understand how difficult it must be, and tiring. I think perhaps the best thing to do is speak to your doctor to rule out other explanations such as apnea. If it is indeed catathrenia, then perhaps they can suggest something to help you.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hi I’m Anna and I’m 23 and I’ve been doing this since I was very young like 7 years old. My mom has told me stoires about it. I get a lot of comments about it when people hear me at night. My sister says that I sometimes let out a moan thats almost 2 minutes long and it’s very loud. I notice that I’m very tired when the long and loud moans occur. I also grind my teeth very loud. I haven’t found a solution yet. I’m all over the place when I sleep so I can’t keep my head elevated to try and see if that soultion will work for me. But I’m content with my moans it’s a part of me and hopefully I find someone who will think it’s cute. lol

    • Hi Anna
      Thanks for your comment and particularly your positive attitude towards the moaning noises. I think it’s the first time a reader has said they see it in terms of being a part of them that they accept, and the first time I’ve thought about the idea. In fact, in the absence of clear treatment options, your attitude might be something that many readers could benefit from.
      Once again, thank you!
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hi
    I’m umer from pakistan
    i got this problem of moaning and graoning while sleeping.
    My roommates have always complains me that i produce strange sounds at night . I’m too much worried about this even the doctor in pakistan don’t know how to treat this .
    due to this problem i cannot sleep well at night .
    kindly suggest me the solution
    my life is too much disturbed due to this

    • Hi Umer
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately I don’t really have any cure I can offer you. If you read through the comments you will find some things that other readers have suggested helping, such as sleeping with a raised pillow for example. You could also try, though there’s no guarantee it would work, some of the anti-snoring devices available. But really, for now it may be a case of working with your roommates to be understanding of your condition and accepting it as best they can.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I’ve apparently been doing this for a while now ! And its beginning to annoy the rest of the house, the first time I became aware of it was while on holiday sharing a room with someone, I kept getting nudged in the side with “are u ok ” ? I was quite worried so recorded my sleep and low and behold I was making some very strange sounds…. this has been a regular occurrence for a long time now. I mentioned to my gp but she diagnosed apnoea , I don’t think it is though, I will hopefully find a solution soon before I’m murdered in my sleep lol

  • My mom and I both do this in our sleep, perhaps there is a genetic component? In my experience elevating my head more does help. And it occurs when I’m really really tired.

  • Thank so much for this blog. I have seen many doctors & been searching for information on what kind of disorder I actually have for 24 years. I’m actually due to finally have a sleep test tomorrow night.

    The only reason it’s happening is because I saw a notice at a pharmacy advertising sleep tests and I filled the form out & got my GP to sign.

    Over the years doctors have done nothing but shrug thier shoulders at me. One doctor told me another doctor was conducting a sleep test soon and he’d put my name down for it & I’d be contacted. That was 6 years ago & I never had that test.

    Yes I have tried propping myself up with pillows & it does help, but also hurts my neck so much, I wind up throwing extra pillows out of the bed.

    I wake up most mornings feeling tired and lethargic. The few times I’ve woken feeling refreshed, I was told that i never made any noises.

    I have had a few operations with general anaesthetic over the years and the very best sleep I’ve had since this started (around the age of 16)…was when I had oxygen up my nostrils overnight in hospital.

    I had a couple of episodes at 16 yrs old. Then when I got pregnant, (late stages I think) a couple years later it started happening regularly.

    Anyway I’m relieved to finally find some answers…and just to know I’m not the only person in the world…I’m not the worlds weirdest snorer. Thanks again.

  • This sounds similar to what I’ve been dealing with lately. I’m almost nine months pregnant and this hasn’t been an issue until a few weeks ago. It’s upsetting because it’s hard enough for me to get sleep, and just as I feel like I’m falling asleep, my boyfriend wakes me up, highly annoyed and saying that I’ve been groaning or humming in my sleep again.

    • Hi Nirvana
      Thanks for your comment. It’s not my place to judge…but…I think your boyfriend perhaps needs to be a little more understanding! I’d recommend he tries some strong noise blocking earplugs until it passes.
      Regards
      Ethan

    • Hey Nirvana,

      The same thing happened to me. It started in my third trimester of my pregnancy. Unfortunately, my baby was born December 30th 2015 and the problem that started while pregnant has continued after delivery. He’s now almost 4 months old and my boyfriend constantly wakes me up throughout the night. It drives us both crazy bc we are both exhausted dealing with a teething newborn. Also, I’ve tried nose inserts to stop snoring and they don’t work, and he refuses to wear ear plugs bc he’s worried about not hearing the baby, and sometimes with this problem I cannot hear him right away when I am in a deep sleep so it is actually dangerous for us and scary bc of the baby. I hate this and wish I could make it stop, I have to go to a doctor now.

      • Hi Claire,

        I have a suggestion about your boyfriend’s concern about not being able to hear the baby: there are baby monitors that can alert him with bright flashing lights and / strong vibrations. When you do an online search, look for baby monitors for deaf parents. I’ve looked already and they are in the same price range as other types of monitors that rely on sound.

  • I think I may have this also. This just started within the last 6 months or so. I usually don’t hear the noise but sometimes I do wake up and can hear a little bit of it still going on. It’s nice to know it is a disorder rather than no explanation at all. I had two pillows last night and I still moaned. In fact, my husband woke me up and said I was scaring the dog. I heard the dog wimpering and he jumped in bed with me and laid by my side. It must sound pretty bad to upset the dog. It is such an eree sound.

    • Hi Debbie
      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found the article useful – it’s a shame your poor dog won’t get the same peace of mind! Perhaps leave him outside the bedroom so it removes another possible disturbence for you or your husband. And your husband could try wesring earplugs if he can’t sleep because of the noise of either the moaning or dog whimpering.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • This sounds like my husband. He seems to only do it when he’s falling asleep or turned over and falling back to sleep. It does occasionally wake me up or keep me up. I’ll suggest tomorrow the two pillow idea. Hopefully that’ll work.

  • Not that I want to diagnose myself with anything , I can say for certainty that I have this. My family thinks it’s amusing but I find it quite embarrassing and I get anxious when spending the night at other peoples homes or if I’m bunking with someone I don’t know. I’ll try elevating my pillow and see if it makes a difference but I am more comfortable sunk into the sheets.

    • Hi Sarah
      Thanks for your comment. I think most people who have catathrenia find it embarrassing rather than amusing. If the pillow trick works, perhaps you can save it for when you most need it.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • This sounds like what i have i think ive had it for about 5 years or longer and im 23 now. I have no issues when i sleep but my friends hate sharing a room with me when we go on trips or they stay over, i sometimes fall asleep on the train home and im always paranoid when i wake up whether or not i was moaning again. Im going on an overnight ferry to shetland in a few weeks and really nervous about keeping people awake with my moaning. Hopefully i can find something to take or do which will help stop it.

    • Hi Rima
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand how this must be upsetting, always worrying what people might think. I guess then you have 2 main options – sleep in your own room whenever possible, including the overnight ferry if they have bedrooms. And then try to tackle it yourself in the meantime, so you can get back to sharing if that’s something you enjoy or find practical generally. Try raising your pillows and see if that helps, as it did some other readers. And remember you can try your doctor for some advice if you’re feeling like you need some professional advice.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hello Ethan! I would like to report on my progress. Yes the moaning stopped when I started raising my pillows while sleeping. Several times I asked my mom and she told me that she didn’t hear me moan, except for that one night I was very tired. Hoping that it was a permanent solution. For those who are interested to do what I did, I placed 2 pillows over the part between my shoulder, neck and head. Hope this helps.

    • Hi Jan
      Thanks for your comment and for getting back to me. It’s great that it seems to have helped. Let’s hope it stays that way!
      Thanks again for reporting back.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • My husband says i make puppy dog sounds in my sleep he said he will record me one night to hear this. Should i be concerned? what does this mean?

    • Hi Tannis
      Thanks for your comment. I think the first thing is to listen to the recording yourself. If you agree that the noises you make are unusual, and it’s affecting your husband’s sleep, then perhaps talk to your doctor about it for some advice.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I think my son may have this….he is only three but has done this every night, multiple times a night since he was an infant. It is awfully loud and horrible because I can’t stand sleeping with him and he loves to lay with me. I’ll be interested to see if he grows out of it or if we will be able to find something that works. Thanks for the article, I’d never heard of anything like thia before.

    • Hi Alyssa
      Thanks for your comment. He may grow out of it, but it’s hard to say without knowing exactly what it is. Have you spoken to a doctor about it? I think if there are any breathing issues with a child’s sleep, it’s a good idea to get them checked out.
      Regards
      Ethan

    • Hi Alyssa, my son is nearly 12 and has suffered from this since he was very little. He hasn’t grown out of it yet and I believe it is affecting his health as he suffers from constant fatigue.
      I’m in desperate need of help now. He had a home study which showed his oxygen levels dropped to 74% however when he went to London for an overnight study, he had so many wires connected to him and the environment was so unnatural he didn’t fall into a deep enough sleep for him to even snore (which he does badly also due to severe allergies). He was therefore discharged and we are no further down the line.
      If anyone has any ideas on how I can get him help I’d be grateful – GP’s and consultants have been no help so far.

      • Hi Hannah
        Thanks for your comment. Thats one of the unfortunate and major drawbacks of sleep clinics. Did you try recording the noise and playing it to the doctor or sleep specialist involved?
        Regards
        Ethan

  • Hi, I’m only 14 but I do groan and make really strange noises, and it really bothers my brother and what he has explained to me it fits perfectly to what it says on this site. What do you think the first thing I should do. I really want it to stop. Thanks

    • Hi Armel
      Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear this is causing you some difficulties. I think the first thing is to talk to your parents about it. They can then take you to the doctor to get checked out. They might also be able to think of ways to help your brother cope with the noise, perhaps by moving rooms or listening to music for example. You might also like to try something a couple of readers have suggested which is to raise your pillow and see if a more upright position helps you. It’s worth trying at least!
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hi since being with my partner he has noticed that i make really strange noises in my sleep he says i breath really fast and heavy and make really loud groans and moans (him saying i sound like the exorcist) i wake him up almost every night with these weird sounds i also have night terrors were i scream really loud in my sleep waking myself up sometimes and my partner up constantly also my partner says i twitch n my body jerks really bad in my sleep he says its like sleeping next to someone who is having a fit. What is making me do these things and what can i do to help stop them? Help will be much appreciated as i haven’t a clue what is happening and my partner is losing out on a lot of sleep. Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Vicky
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry to hear you’ve had such a bad time sleeping, and that it’s affecting both you and your partner. Have you spoken to your doctor about it? With so many different symptoms appearing, it might be good to talk it over with them and perhaps ask to see a sleep specialist to find out what is going on.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I was recently made aware that I moan every night while sleeping. Though I sometimes catch myself involuntarily moaning while I was between sleep/wake period, which normally occurs after a stressful day, I did not know that it became a nightly episode. I do believe that I have catathrenia since I moan after breathing in and it was during exhale period. I researched on this and decided to experiment by placing 2 pillows under my head to elevate my upper body, just like what I did when I have asthma because I read that catathrenia may have some relation to airway problems. It’s been 3 nights already and I’ve been told that I didn’t moan anymore. But I will continuously monitor if my solution indeed works.

    • Hi Jan
      Thanks very much for your comment and your interesting idea for dealing with the moaning. It would be great if you could report back and let me and other readers know if the raised pillow idea has worked on a permanent basis.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • My daughter moans and snores while she sleeps and it is really bad and loud which is stopping me from sleeping and I tried a fan a humidifier even cooling down the house I don’t know what to do but I can’t take this noise any more

    • Hi Melinda
      Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear you’re having trouble sleeping because of your daughter’s sounds at night. Have you tried speaking to a doctor for some advice? And sad as it might sounds, sometimes really the best way to cope with noise you can’t control is by using earplugs for sleep. I do so personally, and have done for years and find it helps me sleep. I’d rather be able to turn off the noise which keeps me awake, but can’t control traffic and dogs barking. So I use earplugs and it gives me the silence I need.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hi.
    I have been groaning from a very young age. I am now 20 years old and do not understand why this has to happen. I cannot hear myself making these loud noises, and my throat sometimes becomes sore. I want to stop with this groaning, how do I do it?

    • Hi Jan

      Thanks for your comment. I think the best idea would be to speak to your doctor. But beforehand, try to record the sounds you make in your sleep. You can get mobile phone Apps which will automatically record when they detect noise, or you could use another recording system if you have one to hand. That was your doctor will have a better idea perhaps of what kind of problem it might be and whether you need to see a specialist or not.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • My dad has been making these noises for a long time now and some days I hear these noises, I wake up and go check on him to see if he’s ok. Will he be OK as if not what should I approach to not let me dad suffer?

    Thank you
    Daniel

    • Hi Daniel,

      It’s hard to say what the noises are exactly, that’s the problem. To really find out, he needs to speak to his doctor. I would recommend recording the noise and then seeing a doctor if you think the noises aren’t just normal snoring for example. You can gets good apps for your smart phone which automatically record noise in the bedroom.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • A few months ago, I woke up with a sore throat and I was pretty confused because I wasn’t sick or anything. When I was asleep, my sister woke me up pretty disturbed asking why I was making strange noises. I didn’t believe her. The next night, she woke me up again so I would stop with the noises. Finally, I stopped groaning after 3 nights. But I still had a sore throat. I think this only happens when I’m sleep deprived because it happened again for a couple of nights when I wasn’t getting enough sleep. Is this still catathrenia?

    • Hi Elizabeth
      Thanks for your comment. It’s impossible for me to tell you whether or not it’s catathrenia unfortunately. You’d need to check with your doctor rather than only relying on the internet and my opinion. I do wonder if it’s due to the sore throat at the time. Sleep deprivation is known to contribute to a range of sleep problems. So perhaps the combo of a lack of sleep and the osre throat led to you making the noises. I would wait and see if it continues before thinking too much about whether it’s an actual sleep disorder.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I experience this occasionally, but it usually happens when I’m almost asleep and I would make a noise, and it’s not sleep talking, and it wakes me up. I really have thought I was the only one experiencing this since it all started earlier this year.

    • Hi Desiree
      Thanks for your comment. It’s hard to say whether you really experience catathrenia or it’s something else. But whatever the case, you’re definitely not alone in making noises in your sleep, nor in waking yourself up from it. You could try recording yourself sleeping to see what noises you make exactly. There are some mobile phone Apps which can do this for you.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hello,

    I’m pretty sure I have Catathrenia as well. It’s been going for a long time now 5-8 Years. Sometimes it’s not so bad and I feel OK in the morning but lately I feel tired after waking up, I have bad dreams and wake up a lot during the night. Articles like these often point out it’s only social problem but I’m not so sure about it. I sometimes hold breath for a good 30 seconds or more before start “groaning”. I will try to record some more nights to understand this more since it’s started to bother me more lately.

    • Hi Nigel
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why you might not be convinced it’s just a social problem in your case. If you’re having such a long period of breath-holding, I would recommend talking to your doctor about it. I think it’s worth getting checked out to make sure you don;t in fact have sleep apnea. It might also be helpful to take your recordings with you.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Ive been having this symptoms for at least five years now. My mom used to yelled at me to stop whining like a baby and I would hear myself do it at times without meaning to do it.
    My fiancé has been complaining about it and I’m under a lot of stress so they are getting worse. I know I hold my breath while I sleep bc I wake up with mild midline chest pains.
    Also, I own a fit bit and it records my sleep. My actually sleep time is no more than 2 hours a night and my restless awake time is over 4. I wish I knew about this condition before.
    Will definitely get a sleep study and mention this article.
    Thank you so much for making me feel normal and not just a “whiny baby”

    • Hi there
      Thank for your comment and I’m glad the article has provided some information to help you understand what it could be. If you do have any breathing issues when sleeping I think it’s definitely a good idea to get a professional opinion about it. It’s better safe than sorry where possible sleep related breathing disorders are concerned.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I have recently started making strange noises and it usually wakes me up. It’s not snoring, its usually when I’m dreaming and I call out in my dream but its not how I have experienced bad dream shouting out previously, this is more like a groaning noise been squeezed out!
    I am going through a stressful time at the moment so wondered if this could have caused this recent change?

    • Hi Janet

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, it’s possible that stress is contributing to some new form of sleep disturbance, especially if the two have come about around the same time. I guess the only way to find out is to try and reduce the stress, either by tackling the source of the stress itself, or by doing relaxing things before going to bed. Personally I would try and do both, assuming it’s possible and within your control.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Despite the article making me a little more worried about my problem I’m glad to know I’m not the only one with it! I’ve been suffering for years, I frequently hold my breath during sleep and continue to make ‘sexual’ noises almost every night so my sister has told me as she can hear it from her room if she’s awake. I never considered it a disorder until I started researching into it. I’m not all too sure about what to do from here but I am a little concerned for any future partner who may have to deal with this

    • Hi Emma

      Thanks for your comment, and sorry if the article made you more worried. You probably don’t need to worry that much, but I know when you read articles which discuss lot of possible options, with comments where people describe their often bad experiences, it can lead to concern. I think the reality is that many, many people have to cope with noises from a partner, be it snoring, breathing, moving about a lot or whatever, and most people are able to sleep through it or get used to it in time. So the chances are you’ll be fine on that front, especially when you have an understanding partner as well. In terms of what to do next, well I think probably discussing it with your doctor is a good idea if it’s worrying you or impacting on your normal life, either due to worry or causing sleep problems. At the very least they’ll be able to talk you through it and perhaps offer some solutions.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hi I have recently turned 13 2 months ago. My family members would always wake me up to tell me to stop making weird noises. I didn’t even know I was making noises! But my mom woke me up a few days ago pretty early and was mad and told me to stop making noises because they had gotten louder. I’m pretty frightened actually because I don’t know whats happening! I have always slept fine until a couple of weeks after 13. Whats happening?

    • Hi Elena
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why you’re worried, especially if your family keep waking you up. The thing is though, it’s probably not your fault and so you shouldn’t feel bad about it. And in terms of being frightened, it’s most likely nothing serious, but you can always ask your mum to take you to the doctor to ask about it. At least then you and your family can get some professional advice and help hopefully.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hello I found this article very helpful because I also make noises in my sleep but its my a moaning sound its more of a very loud humming noise. and I can also hear it when I do it but I have no way of controlling it when it comes. and I only do it when im in the (REM) stage once i’m into a deep sleep It doesn’t happen could this be the same thing as Catathrenia?

    • Hi Nicole,

      Thanks for your comment. It’s hard to say really, as the best person to provide a diagnosis is your doctor or a sleep specialist. Do you mean to say though that in REM sleep you are aware of yourself making the humming noises? Do you wake up during this awareness, or do you only remember it the next day?
      Regards
      Ethan

    • I also do the humming sound. I don’t always know it,but it kept my husband up last night. He tried to wake me but it didn’t work. I think I do it more if I’m really tired.

      • Hi Alice

        It’s possible that it happens more when tired, as with many sleep problems. If it’s a constant problem for your husband, he could try some earplugs. And have you spoken to anyone about it?
        Regards
        Ethan

  • Am very grateful to find this article on google and to know that am not the only one suffering from catathrenia . I started making strange noise from sleep since 1998. My mother always woke me up whenever it happen but i dont have any knowledge of it, am 30yrs old now, its an embarrasing sound, some of my neighbor make jest of me. How i wish i can find a cure to it. Toyin from Nigeria

  • In middle school I found out I had the same issue ever since my sister and I had to share a room. It was comical to them and to me too til I grew up. I was hospitalized last year and when I woke up in the hospital everyone was looking at me weird. A nice lady decided to tell me that I must’ve had quite a dream because I was making noises. I felt so embarrassed. Recently, my boyfriend was awoken by these noises and recorded it. He showed me the next morning and I could not believe what I was hearing. It sounded like it was me getting aroused and pleasured. It caused a strain in our relationship because he thinks that I’m thinking about other men. I’m glad I found this site so that we can better understand what has been happening.

    • Hi Joh
      Thanks for your comment, and I can understand the embarrassment it’s caused you. Hopefully if you and your boyfriend both read through all the previous comments, you’ll find many examples of people who are having the same problem and not seeing other people, despite the noises they might make. I can understand why he might find it uncomfortable to listen to if he’s not involved, but if he’s understanding, after seeing other people go through the same thing, and speaking to you, he’ll be able to accept that it’s a sleep disorder. And although it has unfortunate symptoms, they don’t mean it’s evidence of anything bad.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I believe that I have this sleeping disease. It’s been 8 years now, or maybe more but I did not know it before.
    When I was 16, the girl who shared my room woke me up every night because she couldn’t sleep because of my noises.
    I am now 24, I’ve lived with my boyfriend for two years, and he has to wear earplugs so he can sleep. I usually wait until he is asleep to try and sleep. Recently he told me that it was weird because I hold my breath just after I breath in, for about 1 or 2 seconds, and then, I make noise.

    This problem ruin my life. I can’t sleep when there is people around, because I don’t want to bother them with it, so I prevent myself from sleeping.

    I’ve never found a solution for it, so if someone has some advice for me, it would be great.
    Thank you.
    (sorry for eventual language mistakes, English isn’t my mother tongue)

    • Hi Klyne
      Thanks for your comment, and don’t worry about the English – it’s very good!
      I can understand your distress and worries about what people will think. At the end of the day though, I think that the people are around you who care about you will be more understanding than you might fear. Your boyfriend for example has stayed with you for two years, and is willing to wear earplugs to deal with it. I think that shows that he clearly likes you enough to find ways to get round it. We all have things about us which we worry other people might not like. And I imagine you put up with one or two of your boyfriend’s ways too!
      As for preventing yourself from sleeping, I can understand why you do this, but I think it’s unfair on yourself. Have you asked your boyfriend if he hears it at all through the earplugs? Maybe you don’t need to wait for him to fall asleep!
      And as for the pause in breathing, since you pause on the in-breath that seems more likely to be catathrenia than apnea for example, and making the noise on the out-breath seems like it might be catathrenia rather than snoring.
      I think in terms of solutions, other than some of the ideas other readers have left in the comments and what is in the original article, the best plan would be to speak to your doctor about it, and perhaps see if you can get a referral to a sleep specialist.
      All the best
      Ethan

      • Thank you for answering.

        I know that people understand it and I have very loving friends that deal with it when I happen to sleep in the same room as them. But it is way more complicated when I travel: I don’t want strangers to hear me sleep, so no sleep for me during 12 hours night flight.
        I know that my boyfriend sometimes hears me while wearing his earplugs and I wake him up. And he needs a total silence in order to fall asleep :/
        I decided to download a sleep app on my phone that records noises and analyses my sleep periods. There seems to be a link between light sleep and the noises I make.
        The more heavy/deep sleep I have, the less noise I make.

        I’d never recorded myself during night, and I’d never heard those noises. But now I know what it is like. I make loud really high pitched noises between groaning. And it is those high pitched noises that wake up people.

        I will talk about catathrenia with my doctor next time I see her.
        Thank you.
        Regards.
        Klyne

        • Hi Klyne
          You’re welcome. I do understand your worries, and it’s natural to be concerned about waking people up or disturbing them. Hopefully your doctor will have some ideas for you.
          Regards
          Ethan

  • My 8 yr old son has this problem. He has had it forever. I used to always go and check him thinking he was having nightmares or needed to go to the toilet. He’s so loud. School camp coming up next month and i’m so worried the other kids will hear him and tease him or he will scare them all. He’s a tall, fit healthy little man. Has anyone else have kids with this problem?

    • Hi Emma
      Thanks for your comment. I know there have been teenagers commenting in the past about this, but I don’t recall anyone talking about their kids. But there have been lot of comments, so I may have forgotten. Hopefully someone else reading this will reply to you, and maybe have some advice.
      Have you taken him to the doctor just to check that it is this, and not something else? And is it possible to ask the school about sleeping arrangements and see if he can sleep somewhere with just close friends who are less likely to bother him about it?
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hi,

    I’ve been suffering for years from this disorder.
    For two years now I seem to have it under control. Searching the web I came across the Buteyko method. Did a course and from day one have been ‘cured’. The course leader suggested to put a paper band-aid over my mouth while sleeping. Seemed stupid and too easy a solution but I tried. No more symptoms from day one. Find your own Buteyko consultant and try. It works for me!
    Wilco, the Netherlands

    • Hi Wilco
      Thank you very much for your comment and fascinating suggestion of the Buteyko method. I don’t know much about that, but I’m sure other readers who are at their wits end with this disorder will appreciate a new avenue to investigate.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hi,

    I also experienced this type of moaning more than one year ago. It was just one night of sleep that I am moaning and I can clearly hear it. As soon as I hear it, I immediately woke up and then fall easily back to sleep again. My room mates heard it too. Just last week after I went from a vacation in my hometown, since I am working in the other country, my moaning went back again. Now, I am moaning every night and even during daytime when I fall asleep, so I tried to check it out in the internet and found this good site.

    Glad to know that this is not too serious disorder as of to date. I am moaning twice every time I went to sleep and immediately woke up after I hear it then fall back asleep.

    • Hi Raymond
      Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you found the site helpful. The main seriousness with catathrenia seems to be the embarrassment it can cause people when others hear it. If that’s not something which bothers you, then it’s much less of an issue.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hi,
    Last night I experienced this for the first time. There were some kind of moaning sounds that happened when i exhaled. My brother (in the next room) had to wake me up to tell me about these noises. After I woke up, I realized that in my sleep, I could hear myself making these sounds so I got a little nervous and wanted to see if something was wrong so I came across this website and I just wanted wanted to make sure.

    • Hi Victor
      Thanks for your comment. It might be a good idea to monitor this for a few days and see if it was a one-off or not. If it continues to happen, then perhaps you could talk to your doctor about it. But you may find it was just a random night of strange breathing which doesn’t repeat. You can always try recording yourself sleeping to see if it repeats, or have your brother listen out and tell you if it happens again.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hi,

    I am 32 and have had this condition/issue for many years. Most nights I apparently (because I’ve never heard it myself!) make either short bursts of moaning noises, or slightly more prolonged moans. My ex and also my current partner have reported this. However, she has informed me that all she does when it happens is tickle me gently on the back or sides. It makes me change position in my sleep, and doesn’t wake me up, but the groaning stops. Maybe give that a try? Hope it helps!

    • Hi Rob,

      Thanks for your comment, and for the suggestion. I’m sure many readers who struggle with this condition will appreciate any practical tips which might help.
      And you could always try recording yourself sleeping so you can hear it for yourself.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hi,
    I’m eighteen and my friends & boyfriend have been complaining about me making rather sexual groaning noises in my sleep for a very long time. I am going to a music festival in a couple of days with a group of people I do not know very well and the thought came into my mind what happens if the groaning thing happens?! So I researched how to stop it and was met with this website. It’s somewhat reassuring to know it’s harmless but obviously it can prove very embarrassing at the best of times, however I really don’t want to scare off the people around me as they will either be really freaked out when I tell them, or just really take the mickey.
    Is there anything I can do to lessen the noise in my sleep, or just prevent it for a few days?
    Many thanks.

    • Hi Chloe
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having difficulty withe potential embarrassment of this. I can understand your worries about the festival. To be honest, I’m not sure I can offer any immediate solutions other than some practical ways to perhaps avoid them hearing it it happens. For example, try to camp in a noisier area so they don’t pay so much attention in the night, maybe try to fall asleep a little later than they do. I’m not sure really! It could be that at a festival you’re all so tired anyway that you sleep well without paying much attention to what’s happening around. I would also just try to take care of yourself at the festival. Don’t drink too much alcohol, keep well hydrated and eat well.
      Above all try not to stress about it. If you’re worried about them taking the mickey, maybe you could get in their first and make a joke out of it. If you own the joke, and take control of it from the outset, then it won’t be so appealing to them to take the mickey if they don’t think it will really bother you. Taking the mickey is only fun if you think you’ll get a reaction from the person:-)
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Okay so here’s my problem. You see it rarely happens during night time.Very once in a while i make long MMMmmmm sounds. it happens when i exhale ONLY. and it takes up to like 15-20 sec or more. my husband gets so annoyed. You see, it happens more often when i take naps on afternoons! it literally wakes me up and it takes me a few seconds to realize i’m making the sounds again when i go back to my nap. It’s so frustrating!!

    • Hi Palauan_Girl

      Thanks for the comment, and I can understand the frustration. I guess the most obvious solution which comes to mind if it is upsetting you is to try to avoid napping during the day. Is this possible for you?
      And if your husband is not coping well with the noises you make, then perhaps invite him to read this article. It might help to accept the fact that you’re not the only one, and that it doesn’t mean anything weird is going on. It’s just a part of who you are.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I’m 26 now and my friends informed me that I started moaning in my sleep when I was 16. They’ve all known me since childhood and they said that I didn’t make any noise when sleeping until 16.

    When I’m just dozing off and wake up I can hear the soft humming sound. It sounds like I’m making a long Mmmm noise during every exhale. And sometimes when I’m just waking up I can still hear myself hum/moan/groaning before I’m entirely awake and realize what I’m doing. My friends/roommates have told me that it happens every night and it gets louder and more sexual sounding once I’ve been asleep for a while. I told them that I’m not having sexual dreams and I don’t but recently, just within the past month or so, I’ve been waking up in a kind of aroused state that I can’t explain and I’m not sure what I should do about it?

    • Hi Kate

      Thanks for your comment, and I can understand how it must be concerning to have this new sensation accompanying the noises you make. It could just be coincidence. I imagine that with the history you have of making the noises, the temptation would be to link the two if you start waking up feeling aroused. my advice would be to try not to worry about it, and hopefully it will pass.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • MY ADVICE DO NOT WEAR EAR PLUGS, BETTER THE NOISE EVEN THOUGH YOU FEEL EXHAUSTED WITH LACK OF SLEEP,BECAUSE NOT HEARING THE FIRE ALARM WOULD BE FAR WORSE.

    • Hi Anthony

      Thanks for your comment. Hopefully your fire alarm is loud enough to cut through earplugs. If not, you can always experiment to find ones which block out unwanted sounds but which still allow certain sounds, like alarms through. There are lots of excellent earplugs which will allow that. You just have to experiment a bit with them.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I googled noises while sleeping because she makes weird noises while she sleeps, and I think she has CATathrenia, lol. She is really loud though, and I think she has nightmares because she just wakes up hissing sometimes.

    • Hi Kayla,

      Thanks for your comment. Just out of interest, who is ‘she’. Is it a family member? And it could be that she is making noises in relation to her dreams, but this would be different from catathrenia, which would likely follow some kind of a pattern of making noises regularly whilst breathing.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Is this something that can be self-diagnosed or do I have to get a doctor to? A year or two ago my friends told me that I moan in my sleep, and for the past month I have recorded myself with an app and every night it never fails. It adds up to almost 5 minutes of recorded moaning.
    Anyway, I ask this because I’m filling out papers to find roommates for college (going to be my freshman year) and I’d like to let them know that I make noises. So can I say it’s catathrenia, or do I have to have a sleep study done or something?

    • Hi Diane,

      Thanks for your comment. To be honest I’m not sure where you stand on that front in terms of applying to college. I think there’s a difference between self-diagnosing for the purpose of finding home-remedies etc and telling other people or institutions that you have it. Do you have to actually write something so official? Can you not just say that you make noises in your sleep, so you need a roommate who can sleep through anything? That might be easier than telling people you have a ‘diagnosis’ which you may not even have, and which might put them off!
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hi Ethan.
    I’ve lived with my boyfriend for 3 years now and he has this breathing thing that occurs every night where he takes a breath and holds it, when he exhales, it makes a high shrieking noise and it goes on like that for about 10-15sec at a time, ALL night. He then quickly expels the remaining air through the nose and it’s back to the breathe-holding and shrieking high pitch sound. I wake him all the time because I keep thinking that he’s passed out and unable to breath or that he’ll hold his breath for too long and die in his sleep. I know it sounds ridiculous but it feels and sounds dangerous and it scares me almost all the time. Sometimes I try to ignore it but I end up with sleepless nights. I tend to have anxiety and/or insomnia sometimes and when I don’t have those, I have his shrieking and breathe-holding. Are there other ways of curing or dealing with it using home remedies because when he is ill he refuses to see a doctor, and because he doesn’t feel ill when this occurs he will definitely find a reason to not get checked. I suggested that he stops smoking but he’s been saying he’ll stop since we started dating. He also mentioned something about a heart condition that he got from his dad, I don’t know, please help I’m more frightend than annoyed by this.
    Kind Regards

    • Hi Queen,

      Thank you for your comment, and I can understand why you are both worried and upset by this situation. Guys can be incredibly stubborn sometimes, and it’s not unusual for health to be one of those areas we dig our heels in about.
      If he won’t get checked out for his own sake, do you think he might do it for yours? Have you told him calmly during the daytime (not in the middle of the night!) how much it is affecting you and making life that much harder for you? It’s not fair that you lose sleep and stay up half the night making sure he’s ok. I think if he cares about you, then he should listen and take you seriously. I certainly would if my partner told me I was upsetting them that much.
      I also think it would be a wise idea to get checked out by a doctor. Any breathing disturbances in your sleep can be potentially serious, so he should definitely get that checked out. He might be living with it at the moment, and be none-the-wiser because he’s asleep when it happens. But it doesn’t mean that there isn’t something important that needs addressing.
      Maybe he even knows that deep down, but is too scared or worried to find out from a doctor if he really does have a medical condition. If he already has a heart condition, then perhaps he’s worried that this would be another problem for him to have to think about.
      My advice would be to talk to him calmly and honestly at the right moment in the daytime, when you’re both feeling close and good together. And if that doesn’t work, you could even show him this comment!
      All the best
      Ethan

    • This is an exact description of my nighttime antics. It happens to me almost always later in the night. I use a CPAP, which completely eliminates the problem. If I don’t use the machine, I do not rest well at all…and I wake up with severe headaches. It is imperative that I use the machine. I often record myself and I rest completely when using the CPAP.
      I have been doing this for nearly 25 years and only have recently (last couple of years) been able to put a name with the condition. When I got my sleep study done, the sleep doctor hadn’t even heard of Catathrenia. I’m so glad it’s being studied more.

      • Hi Teetime
        Thanks for your comment. It’s very interesting to hear from someone who has found a CPAP machine helps with the problem. Where did you get the sleep study done? I’m surprised a sleep specialist hadn’t heard of it!
        Regards
        Ethan

  • I am fairly certain that I have this sleeping disorder. My mother says that it has been going on my entire life. A lot of people in my family have some kind of sleeping disorder, be it insomnia, sleep apnea, etc. My sister in particular, though, seems to have this as well. Again, my mother says that it has gone on all of her life as well. That led me to wonder, can this sleeping disorder, catathrenia, be genetic or somehow caused at birth or during development?

    • Hi Aleksandria

      Thank you for your comment. Even just reading other peoples’ comment you would think that there is some anecdotal evidence for it being a hereditary sleep disorder. I’m not sure about it being caused at birth or during development. I couldn’t give you any specifics on that. But whatever the case, I guess the main thing is finding a way to either deal with it, or reduce the stress it might cause you should people complain about it. And that’s something hopefully you’ll be able to do.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hello.
    So you’re saying I will have this the rest of my life unless I get surgery? I’m 17 and I’ve had this since I was 15-16..it sucks because I have fears of spending the night at a friends house and them hearing me, thinking “What the heck is she doing”.I don’t like surgery. So I guess I’m kind of screwed, ain’t I?

    • Hi
      That’s not what I’m saying! I think maybe the best thing for you to do if it’s really upsetting you is to speak to your doctor about it. Firstly to confirm that you do in fact have this, and then secondly if they can either suggest anything which isn’t surgery, or refer you to a sleep specialist for further advice. Maybe between them they will have some suggestions which are also based on the knowledge of your personal medical history and current situation.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • My sister is 18 and she has been making these clicking and sucking noises for 4 years and she has not relized it but we both share a room with each other and I keep telling her to stop making the weird noises and she keeps getting louder and louder. What is the solution? What can I do to ignore her?

    • Hi Kayla,

      Thank you for your comment, and I can understand your frustration. The thing is, if she’s doing it in her sleep, she probably won’t be able to control it just by will-power, even if she wants to when you tell her to stop.
      There are two ways to look at this as I said in the article:
      1) She could try speaking to her doctor to get some advice.
      2) You can try to become less upset by the noise, or find a way to block it out. I do recommend earplugs as they are a cheap and effective way to block out noise. Or you could try listening to music on some headphones which you can sleep with.
      But also, if you accept that it’s a problem which is beyond her easy control, then hopefully you will become less annoyed by it. And if you are less annoyed, you will sleep better.
      I hope that helps a little!
      Regards
      Ethan

  • My mother is 84 and has started this behavior within the last year. She moans and until she assured me she is not, I thought she was in pain in her sleep. She also talks in her sleep. Recently she has been worried that something is wrong with her . She says it’s not disturbing her sleep so I guess she is ok.

    • Hi Bonnie,

      Thanks for your comment. I think with things like catathrenia, if that’s what it is, if it doesn’t bother her or anyone else, then it might be something you just have to live with. The same with sleep talking! But if it does worry her, or she has breathing difficulties, it might be a good idea to speak to a doctor.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I’m 18 and I just recently discovered that I make strange noises in my sleep. My sister was the first to point it out saying that it sounded like I was singing or humming. I thought it was because I fall asleep listening to music and so i tried to sleep without it but it still occurred. I’m worried since I live in a dorm room with two other people and that it will become an issue. Do you know if there’s been a situation where this has been solved without surgery?

    • Hi Cristina,

      Thanks for your comment. I think as I mentioned in the article, the best step is to visit a doctor. Before even thinking about surgery, you need to know whether you actually have this, or something completely different. I think people do manage to control the sounds they make in their sleep sometimes, but it might be a case of trial and error with different devices which might be otherwise recommended for snoring or apnea for example. But your doctor would be able to talk to you about this. Have your dorm mates said anything? Maybe it’s not as loud as you think, or maybe it doesn’t disturb them. If that’s the case, then like many people you might just be able to live with it, and perhaps it will resolve naturally over time.
      All the best
      Ethan

  • I am quite impressed with SlumberNow CLIP simple little device. I can tell it’s helping because I no longer wake up with a totally dry, scratchy throat. If I forgot to put it in I really notice the difference. I’m super sensitive about any thing like this but it hasn’t caused any tenderness or irritation. I like the little case too otherwise it would be easy to lose. It’s pretty flimsy in that the hinge comes undone easily but hasn’t broken. Overall a very good product for little money.

  • I also make these types of weird noises on exhaling during sleeping. My doctor scheduled a sleep study for me, will this test pick up if I have Catathrenia also or just the regular sleep apnea abnormalities?
    Thanks,

    • Hi BB

      Thanks for your comment. If you are having it done in a sleep center, overseen by sleep specialists, then I would hope they would be able to identify exactly what is going on, yes.
      Good luck with it, and if you do find out something and have a moment to pop back, it would be great to hear from you again.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I like to ask if I have sleeping disorder, when I sleep at night I sometime moan but only once then I sleep through the rest of the night without moaning but the thing is that when I start to doze off sleeping, I moan then somehow my body feels relax and then I fall into a deep sleep.

    • Hi Anne,

      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately it’s not really my place to offer diagnoses of sleep disorders. To really find out, you would need to talk to your doctor who would have a full picture of your medical condition and current situation.
      Having said that, I’m not sure that moaning once when falling asleep falls into the category of any sleep disorder that I know of. It could be that it’s just the way you relax and fall asleep. Unless it’s causing you or anyone who sleeps with you problems, then I probably wouldn’t worry about it. But if it is, then talk to your doctor about it and see what they say.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I have been moaning in my sleep and have occasional nightmares. I am only occasionally aware of it, usually when I first drift off to sleep. My husband says it started after my open heart surgery and at times is pretty loud. What do you think of my situation? y

    • Hi Yvonne,

      Thanks for your comment, though I’m not sure what to say about your situation unfortunately. It’s not unusual to have nightmares, even as an adult, especially following traumatic or stressful events. If it’s bothering you, then you could always take a look at my article giving advice about how to stop nightmares. With the moaning, I imagine it’s possible that if it’s been brought on by the stress of the surgery, it might settle down again in the future. But really the only person who can give you specific and individual advice based on your whole medical history is your own doctor. If it continues to disrupt you or your partner’s sleep, then it might be good to mention it to them.
      All the best and I wish you a speedy recovery.
      Ethan

  • Hi Ethan, I am definitely getting myself a doctor’s appointment regarding making annoying noises while I am asleep. I am 48 and started about 4/5 years ago. I started a new exciting but slightly stressful job and it seemed to start then. I have been married for 25 years and my hubby never mentioned it before that.

    It is embarrassing if I have to share a room with a friend, in fact this year I did and when I woke up she threw a pillow at me. I haven’t shared a room with a friend since, I felt awful.

    I had to share with my daughter this week for a few nights, she kept prodding me, the next night I stayed awake until she was asleep.

    I wake myself up sometimes, its like I am agreeing with someone, sort of hmmmm hmmmm. I feel like taping my mouth up, maybe my whole face.

    I am so amazed its an actual condition and others have it, and can’t thank you enough for your article.

    • Hi Lynne

      Thank you for your comment, and I can understand the embarrassment. If you’ve read the other comments you’ll see that not only do others have it, they also find it stressful and embarrassing.

      With a little luck, if it only started after this major life change (the new job), then perhaps once you settle into it you’ll go back to sleeping the way you before. Stress is known to trigger many sleep problems, but they also often get better once the stress reduces.

      If your doctor has something to say about it, it would be very interesting to hear back from you if you have a moment.

      All the best
      Ethan

        • No problem Lynne. I hope it goes well, and it’s always interesting to hear what advice people receive, and I know other readers find it useful, so if you do have a moment to come back, that would be great.
          Thanks!
          Ethan

  • I researched about this because i am suffering from it. It is the second night that i am moaning when sleeping. i think of two reasons and thats just a conclusion, first maybe its because of a lot of stress. because recently i am sleepless. Second, the air pollution, last time i got stucked in a traffic and all the surroundings are filled with smoke from vehicles and all i can breathe is that smoke and even i covered my nose, i still inhaled the smoke. I became suffocated that time. then i got a severe cough. I feel itchiness of my lungs, after that, i am moaning when sleeping. What do you think may be the reason of it?

    • Hi Charlie,

      Thanks from your comment, though it sounds to me like it may not be catathrenia, but simply your lungs have taken a beating from all that pollution! Hopefully they will clear up soon, and you will stop making the noises again. Maybe if it’s still happening in a few days, consult your doctor to check there isn’t anything that needs treatment.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • For as long as I can remember, I nearly always hum on my out breath during sleep. It’s not a moan or groan but a hum coming through my vocal cords, it drives my girlfriend mad and if she doesn’t wake me up in the night it does.
    At times I am aware I’m doing it but can’t stop unless I wake myself up, meaning I must be in a lighter sleep?
    A busy (stressful) week may make it louder or make me do it more regular but it generally happens every night.
    Does this sound similar to your article or is this something different?
    Would be grateful for a response,
    Thanks

    • Hi Darren,

      Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear that like many people you and your partner are both having disturbed sleep. Unfortunately it’s difficult to say whether it’s catathenia exactly or not that you have. Though most people don’t usually describe a hum, but more of a groaning noise in one way or another. If it’s really an issue and disrupting your lives due to the lack of sleep, then perhaps you could speak to your doctor about it and see if they can assess it, or send you to a sleep specialist. Otherwise it may sadly have to be something both you and your partner end up having to find a way to live with and sleep through.
      All the best
      Ethan

  • Thanks for the article. I too have this problem and happy to learn that it’s harmless. I realised when my roommates told me about it. Sometimes even I wake up hearing this. I would like to share that even my grandmother had this…might be… genetic. And yeah whenever I have had a bad, stressful day the sound is loud.

    • Hi sneha,

      Thanks for your comment, and I”m glad you found the article helpful. I think a few people find it gets worse when they’ve had a stressful day…perhaps a good reason to do some nice, relaxing things at the end of those long days and see if that helps.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I am sleeping in the same end as my sister, and every night I get woken up by the weirdest noise she makes. I wouldn’t define it so much as a groaning, more of a snorting or choking noise. It goes on for about 10-60 seconds, and it is very annoying as I wake up all the time. My sister did not even realise that she did it, until I told her.
    I’m not sure if she has Catathrenia but a lot of the symptoms fit it, even though it could maybe be Stridor?
    She has an epiglotal web when she was younger that could be the source of this.

    • Hi Alana,

      Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear your sister has sleeping problems, and that they are affecting you too. I think the best thing to do is probably to get her to speak to her doctor about it. It’s a good idea to make sure it’s not something more serious like apnea or stridor. And only a medical professional can make that kind of assessment.

      All the best
      Ethan

  • Both my brother and I have had this since our adolescent years – (not that I ever knew what to call it until now.) I am now 31. To this day I avoid sleeping at other people’s homes because it is such an embarrassing thing to talk about. I’ve actually started dozing off before and caught myself making groaning noises, or been coming out of a dream (non-sexual in nature) in which I was apparently speaking, but in reality I was groaning…like my voice box was too lazy to actually make words. It is so frustrating to have this sleeping habit. I wish there was a more definitive “cure”.

    • Hi Shelly,

      Thanks for your comment, and it’s interesting to hear that both of you have it. More weight behind the argument that it may run in families. I can understand wanting to avoid people hearing it, and it’s a shame that it can impact on your life that way.
      It’s also interesting that you have heard yourself making the noises. And yes, it would be great if there was a clearer path to curing it. Perhaps someone somewhere is working on that right now and will hopefully come up with something good, and soon!
      All the best
      Ethan

  • I have been having this happen to me for the past few months and my roommates keep teasing me about it, they didn’t believe me that I had no idea I was doing this, it is completely embarrassing. However I am happy to finally have some answers and to know it really is a thing and I’m not just weird. Thanks so much for the help!

    • Hi Melissa,

      Thank you for your comment, and I’m really pleased to hear you’ve found some solace in the article. It’s understandably emmbarrassing, but hopefully knowing what you may have will help you feel a bit better about it, and so less embarrassed. Perhaps show your roommates this article and see if that gets some sympathy and understanding.
      All the best
      Ethan

  • Thanks for the article…my husband wakes me up several times a night because I am making sexual noises….i am being accused of having an affair because he says I must be dreaming of having sex…..this is certainly not the case…but I am at a loss what to do…my doctor gave me a nasal spray but that is no good….do you know if stress is a contributing factor?….. I am going to show him my post so any reply would be gratefully received….thanks …p.s I am in the uk what would be my next step for advice and help……

    • Hi Tracey,

      Thank you for your comment and I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having problems due to Catathrenia. Firstly, there is absolutely no evidence that there is a link between making sexual noises due to catathrenia and anything which is going on in your life. So it is not correct to accuse you of having an affair. If that were the case, then what about all the children who experience it?
      Unfortunately it is just a very unlucky case that many people – not just you – make these kind of noises and have to deal with the embarrassment of it.

      Hopefully if your husband does read this, then he will gain an understanding of it other than what he has to put up with. And to fair to him, it is of course something he has been putting up with, and probably will have to continue to!

      Really though, one of the best things would be for you to talk openly about it, and work on it together. I think there is a chance that stress is connected, so obviously it would be good to not worry about your relationship because if it. And for that to happen, you need to have a supportive and open dialogue.

      It’s a shame the nasal spray didn’t work. Did he diagnose you with catathrenia or was it a guess that it could be something else? In the UK you can always ask for a referral to a specialist sleep center to get a sleep study done and see a specialist. That is possible through the NHS. You can also check online or ring the various research clinics to see if they are looking for volunteers for studies if you can’t get a referral. And of course there are private sleep specialists you can pay to see if you can afford it.
      I hope that helps.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • HOW I FIXED my catathrenia (groaning up to 15 times a night).

    I take a hot bath and add epsom salts and lavender essential oil and relax for 10-15 minutes before bed. When I do this, I don’t make catathrenia noises for the night. I’ve experimented with not taking baths or taking lukewarm baths, and I made catathrenia noises those nights. This may not work for everyone, but it’s worth trying. I believe catathrenia is psychological and hot baths could be helpful in relaxing the mind.

    • Hi Wellnessaway

      Thank you for your comment, and it’s great to hear you found something which has stopped your nocturnal groaning. Hopefully even if your technique doesn’t work for others, the mere fact that you managed to stop it will inspire confidence in other readers that they can too.
      It’s interesting what you say about the hot bath, because hot baths kind of go against sleep hygiene advice before bed, because they raise the body temperature too much. However, if the relaxation effect is counteracting that for you, and more importantly stopping the catathrenia, then that’s all that matters!
      I’m not sure if I agree that it’s psychological, but certainly relaxation is known to be extremely helpful for a wide range of sleep disorders. It would be interesting to hear if any other readers now tried you technique an reported back. If anyone is reading this, and feels like trying it, please do come back and let us know!
      Thanks again and all the best
      Ethan

  • In my profession, I know a lot of people with obstructive sleep apnea. I find it fascinating that people who suffer from catathrenia can also use a CPAP machine. Our company makes mouth pieces for sleep apnea. I wonder if it can also help people with catathrenia. Thanks for posting, I’ll be sure to re-share the content.

    • Hi Cathy

      Thanks for your comment, and yes that is quite interesting. Do you know if your company suggests that the mouth piece can help with catathrenia? If so I’d be very interested to know more about it, as I’m sure would my readers.

      Regards

      Ethan

  • I have this problem and it has been very humiliating for me because I make the noises that appear “sexual.” I had a roommate my first year in college who would give me dirty looks and say, you were making “those” noises again, as if I were somehow causing them to happen. I also once made people uncomfortable on a plane during a long flight. I could just tell from the way they were looking at me when I woke up. Is there any type of natural cure for this? Vitamins, minerals, exercise?

  • I remember my brother groaning every morning when we were growing up. No one ever talked about it though. When i got married my husband told me i snored. What i didn’t realize was i was grunting like my brother did. I have woken myself up many times. I’ve also freaked out many a girlfriend I’ve traveled with when they hear it. Its embarrassing. One symptom i have that i wonder if it could be related is, although i am very energetic, when i have to sit down for anything like, perhaps a lecture, i CANNOT stay awake. No matter how hard i try. I’ve always wondered why. That’s embarrassing too. Perhaps it is related. I should ask my doctor for a sleep study. Thank you for your article and for letting me voice my history. No one (i know) understands it.

    • Hi musicaljan

      Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear that like many people you’ve had to deal with making embarrassing noises. It must be quite stressful knowing that people might hear it. I hope your family and friends are understanding though.
      It might be a good idea to get a sleep study done considering what you’re saying. And your doctor can of course try and rule out any other underlying medical condition.
      And you’re very welcome to come back any time you like and tell your story. You’ll always be welcome here:-)
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hi,

    I’ve been in college for a couple months. For the past couple weeks, every night, I wake up groaning or waking up and grunting…I have no idea why I’m doing this. I used to get up in the middle of the night and eat, when I was back home, but when college started I started making these weird noises. I feel so bad cause it actually wakes my roommate up and then she has to wake me up to stop. The other night I woke up screaming. I probably had a nightmare. I’m getting really worried!! Like I’m embarrassed, but I also feel REALLY bad cause it disturbs my roommates sleep, as well as mine. I would get a sleep study, but I had one last year during my sleep-eating phase and they didn’t find anything wrong, so I don’t want to go back again.

    Do you have any advice for me? How I can stop? Also, should I get earplugs for my roommate?

    Thanks.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      Thanks for your comment and sorry to hear you’re going through such an embarrassing thing. You’re definitely not alone in that though, as many people have the same issue.
      Personally I wouldn’t worry about asking for help again. Imagine if people never went to the doctor for something serious just because they went a year before and were told they just had a cold? Medical conditions come and go, so there is nothing wrong with telling them something else has popped up and can they take a look at you?
      As for your roommate, well I think earplugs has to be a personal decision. Rather than just presenting them with a pack one day, I would perhaps talk to them calmly about it one day, and say you’ve been doing some research, and that whilst you are going to try to find a solution, there are things that they could do to reduce the annoyance for them. See if they are interested in knowing what things, and then tell them about earplugs! That would be my approach anyway. It’s always good to try to tackle problems together with someone, even if it’s originating from one person. Team work!
      Hope that helps
      Ethan

  • Thanks for the article. My hubby drives me crazy. He just started doing this every night a few weeks ago. At first it was just talking every now and then. Then about 4 months ago sleep talking all the time and now its the moaning really bad. He will moan for a long time. He don’t stop until i wake him or he wakes himself. Its horrible for me. He has had sleeping problems for a while now, he gets up and down all night long which kept me up and it would cause fights because he was being rude, he could lay still but he would get up and eat cereal or ice cream. I think he has a sleep eating disorder too. He’s aware that he’s eating but he can wait and won’t. He’s not starving. Now its the moaning non stop. I’m going crazy. No insurance so he can’t go to doctor. What do i do? I live with mom in law and cant sleep anywhere but our room. I’m a real light sleeper and ear plugs i can still hear him. Help. I know its stress from living here but until that solution is fixed what do i do?

    • Hi Danie,

      Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear you’re having such a difficult time with your husband. It’s understandably frustrating and a difficult position to be in.
      If it is Catathrenia that he has, then there’s unfortunately a limit to the self-help options available if you can’t go to a doctor. And the getting up and eating issue is again difficult to tackle potentially without professional help.
      I imagine one good step would be to talk to your husband about this, but in a calm way in the day-time rather than a moment like the middle of the night or in the morning. Find a time when you’re both relaxed and try to talk to him about it then. You can explain the effect it’s having on you, but you want to work with him to try to find a solution. Then I guess it’s up to the two of you to try to explore it together. Because if he isn’t willing to do some research, then all you can do is try to block out the sound, or find a way to sleep better yourself.
      Have you got the best possible earplugs? If you look at my earlug review you can find information about the best ones available. It’s sometimes the best solution for a noisy partner. I do exactly that myself when my partner snores!
      And of course trying to find a way to adjust your own reaction is important. If you always go to bed stressed about it, worrying that it’ll happen again, then if and when it does, your own reaction of annoyance will make it even more likely you can’t sleep. So perhaps try telling yourself that you won’t allow his night-time behaviour to effect you. I know it’s easier said than done, but sometimes your own reaction is the only thing you can control!
      I hope some of that helps.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Can you please, help me what’s the name of this surgery or what kind of doctor or clinic should I look for? I just can’t stand that embarrassment any more.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Moustafa
      Sorry to hear you’re having problems in your sleep. Unfortunately I can’t recommend any surgery, especially as I don’t know where you are! But the best thing would be to look up ‘sleep clinics’ online, or whatever the phrase is that’s used in the country where you are. Alternatively, speak to your personal doctor, and ask them to refer you to a specialist sleep doctor.
      I hope that helps
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I have had this problem since I was a child my father would look at me horribly as if I had sexual dreams. I could sometimes catch myself moaning as I slept. I’m 27 years old and continue to have the same problem. When I hear myself moan I wake up and won’t fall back asleep because I’m so embarrassed. I had dealt with this and insomnia for so long. Thank you for this information I feel like a weight has been lifted as I come to find out others have the same problem.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      Thank you for your comment, and I’m really pleased that the article has been helpful. Sometimes just knowing that you’re not alone can make a big difference to both your self-confidence in dealing with a problem, and the likelihood that you’ll find something which can help.
      It’s understandably an embarrassing problem, but maybe you can show anybody who accuses you of such a thing this article, or any other which explains quite clearly what you are or aren’t doing!
      All the best
      Ethan

      • I wish I had already read your comment. I also make the “sexual” noises. It has been a nightmare. I hate being anywhere that I have to sleep around others. I will even get my own hotel room when I’m with a group of people. I wish there was some way to stop this.

        • Hi Michelle,

          Thank you for your comment, and I’m sorry to hear you’ve had such difficulty with this sleep disorder and the embarrassment it can cause. It’s understandable that you would want to avoid people hearing it. But at the same time, anyone who cares about you should understand.
          As I said previously you can always get them to read this article, or any other which discusses catathrenia and in particular the sexual groaning noises that other people – not just you- make in their sleep. And of course the fact that it is completely beyond your control at night should be something people would understand. They probably do understand, but many people in the middle of the night can be a bit grumpy!
          In terms of treatment, you may need to talk to your doctor about it and see if they think getting a sleep study done might be helpful. Perhaps a sleep specialist will have some ideas for you and can also diagnose whether it really is catathrenia or not. Annd of course rule out any other sleep related breathing disorder.
          The main thing is to try not to get too stressed and don’t let it effect your self-esteem. We all have some strange and unique things about us that make us different. Anyone who you choose to be in a space with who would hear you will just have to learn to accept your particular peculiarities until you find a solution:-)
          All the best
          Ethan

  • Wow.. I too suffer from this.. I was told a few years ago that I made moaning sounds in my sleep, and was questioned if I was dreaming of sex. The answer would be no, my family thought I was lying but I really wasn’t dreaming of sex and surely didn’t know what the heck they were talking about. Later in life an ex boyfriend told me the same thing and recorded it for me to hear!!! How embarrassing! !!!!! As a nurse you would think I would get this checked out since it’s so unusual, but it’s kinda embarrassing asking the MD to diagnosis the moaning noises your making while asleep. Lol. Thank God I have a mate that can deal with it, he just thinks I have a high sex drive(says it’s my body way of telling him in ready..lol) I’m so grateful that I looked this up, I’m definitely going to go to the MD now I know others suffer from this an I’m not some sleeping moaning freak!!!!!!!!

    • Hi Betsey

      Thanks for the comment, and you’re definitely not a sleeping moaning freak! Though you wouldn’t be the first to think that you are, as many people question themselves when they discover they are making these kind of sounds. Hopefully the doctor will have some advice for you, and you’ll feel more comfortable in talking about it now you have a potential name for it.

      All the best
      Ethan

  • Omg. My mom once told me she heard me yelling while I was asleep in her room. She was in the living room and ran in thinking I was hurt or something but I wasn’t. I laughed when she told me and thought that was weird. Then a few weeks later my cousin said I was making moaning noises in my sleep. I was embarrassed. She’s said this for a while now sometimes in the morning and I would be confused not knowing why I would moan in my sleep. So I looked it up today and was surprised while reading this because it described my situation perfectly. I am very grateful that I clicked on the link to this article and understand what is going on now. Thanks, again.

    • Hi Sandra,

      Thank you for your comment, and I’m glad you found the article helpful. If it is Catathrenia that you have, then hopefully you’ll find a way to either manage it, or cope with the potential embarrassment!
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Oh wow.. Read this at 4:20 a.m after waking up twice extremely confused from the groan/snore sound I made. I remember my mom (who has sleep apnea) would do the same thing sometimes even though she had her CPAP on. I need to apologize to my roommate I thought I was a quiet sleeper but she said I wasn’t but didn’t explain how. I think it was because it was an embarrassing sound.

  • Thank you for this article Ethan. I’ve been told that I make high pitched noises interspersed with bouts of choking breaths while sleeping. I had assumed this was related to my state of mind at the time, which I daresay may be true, as once I had begun feeling psychologically at ease, the noise making stopped. It made me feel special though, which is a twisted thought. I am thankful for your article and for your website – as a good night’s sleep is, unfortunately, a luxury for me. Bests.

    • Hi B

      Thanks for your comment, and I’m very pleased you found the article helpful – that’s always nice to hear:-)
      Did you ever get yourself checked out for the choking breaths you described? Any breathing issues should always be looked at by a doctor, in my opinion. I get the feeling that it has stopped though from what you say – but you still might want to get a professional view.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Thank you for writing this article. After reading these comments it’s reasurring to see that other people go through this Catathrenia too. I have been with my boyfriend just under a year and it is causing us major problems in the sleep department. I will be asleep then I’m suddenly woken up with a nudge or an angry shout of my name where by in the middle of the night this usually wakes me up with a fright. (which I can’t tell you how much I hate). On nights that I am making the moaning noise really bad my boyfriend will leave the room or I will leave the room. It is something that I find does put a strain on the relationship because if I can’t get back to sleep (usually the case) I end up in a fowl mood, disturbed sleep and do not feel rested. Recently I have been more stressed than usual (with different living circumstances ) so think there maybe some truth in the link to this being brought on by some sort of stress. After seeing how many people this affects and realization that I would like my relationship to last I am wanting to seek some medical help with this because it’s really not nice for either of us.

    • Hi Miss W

      Thanks for the comment, and I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been having relationship difficulties because of this. Perhaps you could show your boyfriend some information online about it if you haven’t already. It might at least help him understand that it’s something which you are not deliberately doing and shouldn’t be blamed for. That meaning that you could both work on it together, and try to find a solution which means you can both sleep well. It’s probably worth speaking to a doctor about it to get some professional advice as well. Otherwise, definitely see if you can do some things to reduce the stress in your life. There are many ways to tackle stress, so the sooner you take a look at that, the sooner you may be able to put some self-help into practice and feel like you’re working on a solution.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I make weird noises in my sleep too when I breathe out but I noticed it only happens if I went to sleep late. If I go to sleep late I wake up feeling kind of like I have a hangover but not really. I wake up early even though I slept late and I have a headache, I feel dizzy and tired and like I’m about to die and my eyes hurt and I just want to go back to sleep and when I fall asleep again I start making these short kind of sexual sounding noises everytime I breathe out and I hear myself making them but I can’t stop and even if I wake myself up and go to sleep again I still make them. I don’t think it evey happens if I sleep at a normal time. It’s only ever If I sleep late. I have no idea why.

    • Hi Megan,

      Thanks for your comment, and it does sound like Catathrenia from what you describe. It also sounds like you already know the answer to it, if you’re looking for a solution. Whether you want to confine yourself to a life of never going to bed late though is going to be the bit that I imagine needs thinking about!
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I am so glad I came across this article. I have never snored and have only recently been having this issue. I do believe it is stress related as I am working 2 jobs, both of which are stressful. I have scheduled a sleep study. I appreciate your research.

    • Hi L.J.

      Thanks for the comment and I’m glad you found the article helpful. Stress can definitely be a major trigger for all kinds of sleep problems. If you’re going to continue with such a stressful life, then I recommend finding the time to do some relaxing things at the end of the day, whether that is something you enjoy doing, or some simple relaxation exercises.
      I hope the sleep study is helpful.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I’ve been with my boyfriend for 2 years, and have been sooo aggravated with his groaning and moaning in his sleep!! He does exactly what is described and holds his breath then releases it with a weird noise. I had never heard anything like it and we have been fighting over it for quite some time now. This article has really helped because now I feel a lot more understanding of the situation!! I do wish there was something we could do about it though because its affecting both of our sleep tremendously and it stresses me (and him) out when he keeps waking me up and I have to keep telling him to be quiet. Sometimes I just give up and get out of bed since he usually does it the most early in the morning. It would be nice to sleep in for once so I think we are going to see a specialist about it. Thanks for the helpful info!!

    • Hi Brooke,

      I’m glad you found the article helpful, though I’m sorry you’ve been having problems with this annoying sleep disorder. It would be very interesting to hear back from you with the advice the specialist gives you. I know other readers would appreciate hearing any feedback if you don’t mind taking the time to share it.
      All the best and I hope you find a solution.
      Ethan

  • Im only 19. I started these noises when i was still a baby. It happens when i cry too much or when im really heart broken. My mom told me about it when i grew older. Im not sure if its because of my insomnia. Last night i slept at 5am after studying and i woke up making these really weird noises till now. I was convince that they only happen when or after i cry. They happen very often. Should i see a doctor?

    • Hi Thato,

      Thanks for your comment. I haven’t heard of anything like this before, so I am wondering what could be the relationship between crying and making the noises. Perhaps the stress which comes with feeling so sad. Or maybe there are some physical effects of crying which is then leading to a change in your breathing.
      As for seeing a doctor, well there is never any harm in talking to a professional. I’m also wondering how often you find yourself feeling so sad. Perhaps you may benefit from talking to a counselor if you are going through some difficult times. But depending on which country you are in, you may be able to access both through the same route, such as in the UK for example where your family doctor can also refer you to a talking therapy if you request it, or they think it would help.
      All the best,
      Ethan

  • Ethan, Your article didn’t mention if sleep apnea and this disorder can co exist together. I’ve always thought my adult son had sleep apnea but with no insurance he has just had to live with it. But while staying with me for a short time I am listening to him groaning, yelling out in his sleep, exhaling really loud, and making all sorts of weird noises. Is this a diagnosis INSTEAD of Sleep Apnea, or can someone have both?

    • Hi Lorre,

      I believe that the can exist together, though I am not an expert on sleep apnea by any means. I don’t talk much about sleep apnea on this sight because I believe it is a sleep disorder which is best left to the medical professionals. Though I do have plans to invite some guest writers to come along, though that doesn’t help you of course…
      It’s such a shame that some countries don’t have free healthcare. Stories like yours make me feel very lucky to be from the UK. Have you considered contacting sleep clinics to see if any are looking for volunteers for sleep studies and research? It’s a long shot, but always worth looking into.
      Otherwise, to find out more you can do searches online using terms like ‘sleep apnea and catathrenia co-morbid’ and keep an eye on any new research which is published.
      Sorry I can’t help more.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • The worst is when you let someone know continuously they have this problem and do nothing to seek help and force everyone else in the household to undertake the issue

    • Hi Peter,

      I can understand your frustration. Sadly, there may not be much they can do even if they do face the problem. It’s up to your and your family/household to find a way to communicate about the issue, and also perhaps find a way to deal with the noise yourselves until they do seek help, and hopefully find something which can help.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • i have been looking for what this is and how to stop.
    i think i only started doing it a few years ago, i had a bad cold and wasn’t sleeping well coz it was so blocked, and during this time i had to share hotel rooms and my friend kept waking me up every time i did manage to sleep coz i was doing this noise. ever since she did that I’ve been so paranoid and scared to sleep in the same room as people as i sometimes even wake myself up doing it. now i have a partner and stay in the same room and now its become a problem keeping them awake every night i do it. i want so badly to know how to stop it, its really affecting my life negatively.

    • Hi Linda

      Sorry to hear you’re having problems because of this. I imagine the first step is to talk openly to your partner about it, and help them understand what it is and that you want to do something about it. Work on it together as a team! Then you could always talk to your doctor about it, and see if they can recommend anything. Otherwise it might be up to your partner having to make some choices about ways to block or mask the sound if it’s keeping them awake. Even something as simple as ear plugs can work miracles.
      Sorry I can’t offer any great solutions.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Oh my gosh, so happy I found this! I am at my wits end with my partner & his weird high pitched squealing, weird groaning and the the other crazy noises he makes in his sleep! He does this every single morning, it seems to be once the alarms have gone & he’s dozing back off to sleep although I have heard it during the night. He takes a breath in & holds it for around 10-30 seconds at a time then slowly releases it with either a higher pitched squeal or a moan/graon or he will let the breath out in little grunts followed by a longer groan at the end. I find it hugely frustrating after 7yrs! Is there anything that can be done to fix this..doesn’t seem to be much on cures or fixes? Thanks :)

    • Hi Casey

      My advice would definitely be to visit a doctor if he is holding his breath for that amount of time in his sleep. You need to make sure it’s not something more serious, without wanting to worry you. Even if he’s been doing it for all those years, any breathing issues in your sleep are best to get checked out I think.
      Otherwise, if it is catathrenia, your best option for now might be one of finding a comfortable way to block the noise from reaching your ears, unfortunately. Sorry I can’t be of more help.
      All the best
      Ethan

  • Thank you for enlightening of my possible situation. I’ve been told I make humming and moaning noises! This article has released some tension. I thought I was the only strange one. Now I can look into available curing options. Thanks again!

  • Thank you so much for this article! My sister (who sleeps in the next room) is always complaining that I make noise in my sleep; although it isn’t snoring or talking. I always wanted to know what it was!

  • Hi I’d just like to say that this describes perfectly what happens with my husband at night…..it’s a nightmare for me but he is blissfully unaware! SLN I’d like to say I understand what you mean about making the same noises when you are awake and thinking deeply – my husband does that too – on one occasion our friends thought their baby was crying upstairs in bed!! Out of interest does anyone know at what age this can begin? I’m desperately hoping my son doesn’t develop it.

    • Hi Caz,

      Thank you for your comment, and also for connecting with a previous reader. It’s great when people interact like that.
      I’m not sure about the exact age, but have seen comments that it can occur quite young. Hopefully your son won’t develop it.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Thank for this great info am glad. My partner always hums while sleepiny which usually keeps me awake am pisses off but now am a bit relieved. Thanks once again.

  • Thankyou for this informative article
    i overheard my partner making those noises
    and thought he may be suffering from one of the things listed above
    im glad that its nothing major
    :)

    • You’re welcome Chantel. Hopefully it is something harmless, but you can also listen out for his breathing in the night and check that there is nothing unusual happening there, such as pauses in-between inhaling and exhaling or gasping noises.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • me and my mother have it severely, and I think we can eliminate airway obstruction causes for us, it may be the brain structure which genetically affects us, or high stress.

  • Thank you so much for posting this article. My mom has had this my entire life and my husband tells me I have woken him up several times over the past few years, but apparently, mine is not as severe as my mom’s. Has anyone looked into the possibility of this being genetic?

    • Hi Melissa

      I’m glad you found it useful:-) I personally haven’t heard of a genetic element to catathrenia. That’s not to say there isn’t one, though with the lack of research done on it in general, if there is it may be a while before we find out!
      Thanks for the comment
      Ethan

  • I thought I was the only person who does this! I’m so paranoid about doing it and waking my partner up that I try and stay awake for as long as I can to give him a head start to get to sleep. My partner says it sounds like I am agreeing with someone, but I do it every night and I even wake myself up sometimes because I’m so loud! I figured I was just a weirdo, so thanks for this helpful and informative article!

    • Hi Melissa

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. I’m really pleased to have set your mind at rest regarding the weirdo status! How nice of you to give him that head start – does he even know you’re being so thoughtful?
      Regards
      Ethan

  • My Husband has been making this noise for many years. It sounds like he has taken a big indrawn breath (although I don’t hear that part) and then releases it slowly a bit at a time, with a small grunt of expulsed air, every few seconds. This continues for a while then there is usually a full release of breathe and back to normal. If it gets too loud or too long a gentle prod to move him slightly, so he readjusts himself by moving is usually all that is needed.

    • Hi Rachel,

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I think a gentle prod seems to work well for lots of people, fortunately! And hopefully it is just Catathrenia and nothing more serious to worry about with the unusual breathing pattern.
      Well done for putting up with it so calmly:-)
      Ethan

  • Gee, im glad im not the only one. I thought i was going crazy. sometimes i just lay down for a rest and i catch myself doing it. It’s not a loud grunt. but like a soft sound that sounds like “hmm?” i want so much to stop doing that because im afraid of it getting worse

  • Thank you for this article! My husband does this at night and it drives me crazy. I usually poke him or do something to briefly wake him up so he will stop. I’m just glad to know it’s not life threatening, especially when he holds his breath like that. The noises he makes are very creepy sometimes though and it freaks me out.

    • You’re welcome Kiana, and I’m glad it was helpful. You might still like to have a doctor check him out though just to be 100% sure the breath holding isn’t anything more serious.

      Regards
      Ethan

  • Thanks so much for this article, I’m 15 and it’s kinda embarrassing when I make these noises at a sleepover and I scheduled an appointment with my doctor soon.

    • Hi Shannon

      You’re very welcome – I’m glad it’s been helpful. Hopefully you’ll find the appointment useful, and find a way to knock that embarrassment on the head.

      Regards
      Ethan

  • I have had this problem for years and the last year has been awful. I’m newly married and we can’t even sleep in the same room!! I need a cure asap!! The drs have tried ‘ativan’ ‘klonopin’ nothing works!

    • Hi Abbey

      Sorry to hear you’re having such a problem. Those drugs are not something which you would be able to take long-term though anyway, and wouldn’t want to either. Did the doctor diagnose you with catathrenia before offering those drugs, or were they prescribed for something else in the hope that they might help? Other than the treatments described in the article, you may find it helpful to see if your partner will be willing to try any of the noise blocking ideas. Sad as it may be, it might mean you can at least sleep next to one another.

      I hope you find a solution soon.
      Ethan

  • I am enlightened after reading your article! I have been having sleepless nights because of my mum! Thank you so very much!

  • I would just like to say thank you for writing this article, I have had this since the day I was born. My mom told me that when I was in the nursery I was keeping all the other babies up and they were all crying but yet I was sound asleep making a humming sound. I’m now 28 I do still hum every single night, it rarely wake’s me up. I’m glad that there is not anything to really be concerned about unless you have a partner who is a light sleeper. I’ve never really thought it was a disorder. It always seemed very normal to me, but thank you again for the great info.

    • Hi Billy

      Thanks for your comment, and the compliments – it’s much appreciated.
      It’s really interesting that you’re able to trace it back to birth, assuming it is catathrenia. It must have been pretty loud humming to have kept newborns awake though!
      And yes, it’s a partner who is most likely to be affected by your humming unfortunately. Let’s just hope they’re a better sleeper than those newborns:-)
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hi, this is very interesting. This actually happens to me when I am AWAKE and thinking deeply. I can’t hear it myself but others have frequently commented to me. It can be very embarrassing. Do you have any idea if this is a related phenomenon?? Thanks!

    • Hi SLN

      Thanks for your comment, and sorry for the slow reply. I’ve was doing a course for the last month and have had no time to reply to comments. I’m slightly confused as to how you can’t hear the noise you’re making if you’re awake? Do you mean you just don’t notice you’re doing it?

  • Thank you for the great article
    I’ve been mocked by roommates for long time they even think i might be haunted or something like that which really pains me
    if you would please list me some of the devices u know it may work even if you are not sure about.

    • Hi Moustafa

      I’m glad you liked the article, and I think you can probably safely assume you are not haunted! I think the best step if it is causing you problems is to speak to a doctor. They would be able to explain more about any devices, or refer you to a specialist who knows what is available for you.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Very helpful in depth article Ethan. I am 17 and this has been happening for a while and I wasnt sure if I was imaging it at first until I was told about it. I then got very worried and this seems to be the only explanation for the noises. Thank you again.

    • You are very welcome James, and thanks to you in return for taking the time to leave a comment and show appreciation. Comments like this help with the motivation to write:-) And I’m glad you might be one step closer to working out what’s happening for you.
      Ethan

  • hi…my husband tells me that I make sounds he don’t like…he wakes me up at nights and asks me what I’m dreaming or who I’m dreaming with…cuz he says I make sounds like if I’m having sex with someone, and that sometimes I’m touching myself all over my body…I didn’t believe him at first but one night he recorded my noises…and I’m not dreaming of anyone or anything. I’m really concerned about this..he thinks I’m cheating on him and I’m NOT. could you help me in any way, please let me know.

    • Hi there

      First of all thank you for sharing your experience here. You are not alone in having this kind of problem, and I know it’s a difficult one to deal with sometimes.

      There are a few pieces of advice I could give you. Firstly you and your husband could both go to a doctor to talk about it, and perhaps he would settle if told by a professional what is going on.

      You could even ask him to read this article; he might find it reassuring in some way.

      If you’re making noises which he thinks are sexual, then it could be catathrenia. But there is also the possibility of a different sleep disorder if you are moving and acting out dreams in your sleep. Something called REM sleep behavior disorder, which is often a problem when people act out violent dreams in their sleep and hurt themselves or a partner.

      But it can be any kind of dream that is acted out. I was once woken up, for example, by my ex-partner sat up in bed wafting the duvet. I asked her what she was doing and she said she was “making waves for the boat!”

      I’m not saying you have one or both of these sleep disorders, and you would need a doctor to look further into it. But it might help your current situation to ask your husband to read this article and do some research about REM sleep behavior disorder. Unfortunately I haven’t written about it myself on this website yet, though I plan to. You can look it up online though.

      Then hopefully he’ll feel some reassurance that it’s common for people to do both of these things, and it doesn’t have to mean that the person is doing anything actually to inspire it. My ex-partner for example hadn’t been on a boat for a very long time, so there was no connection. Dreams are strange things, and they don’t always relate exactly to our waking lives.

      Hope that helps
      Ethan

  • Thank you for this information. As i read this to my wife she said it described what is taking place perfectly. We have small children so ear plugs or any other device making noise will not work for us. Now that we know what it is we can look into treatment and or the surgery. I have heard the cpap machines are uncomfortable and slightly annoying to listen too. We desperately need to find a fix. So thank you again for the information.

    • Hi Randy

      Thanks for sharing your story, and I’m sorry to hear it’s troubling you so much. Hopefully if you do get a diagnosis of catathrenia confirmed by a doctor, they’ll be able to find something which can help you. And I understand about not wanting to block out sound if you have small children. It leaves you in a slightly tricky position – unless of course your partner wears the earplugs sometimes while you keep one ear open for the kids.

      If you ever do find a fix, it would be great if you could take a moment to come back and explain what worked for you.

      I wish you all the best
      Ethan

  • Hi,
    Thank you for putting my mind at ease with this article. i have been experiencing same sleeping disorder just the way you have described catathrenia. But in the last 2 months the strange sounds have gotten worse. sometimes it wakes me up! well at least i know it isn’t life threatening just comes with social implications.
    Thank you very much!

    • Hi Nneka

      Thanks to you too for taking the time to comment. It’s greatly appreciated when readers take the time to say thank you:-)

      Hopefully it is something as harmless as Catathrenia. But it still might be worth getting yourself checked out by a doctor just to be on the safe side, especially if it’s waking you up. It’s good to be sure it’s not a different breathing disorder that’s waking you.

      All the best
      Ethan

  • Hi,
    I’m a 54-year-old woman with a long history of “some sort” of sleep disorder.
    In my early 30s I had a sleep study performed as I was breath holding in my sleep; this was waking me up with shortness of breath and pounding heart and my husband was worried I was going to die in my sleep. My BMI at the time was about 21-22 and the sleep specialist thought I had atypical sleep apnoea. He actually seemed really annoyed after I had a completely normal sleep study and started lecturing me about anxiety and stress.
    I don’t moan during sleep and I don’t breath-hold as much, but I make a funny collection of noises, sometimes a clicking noise, sometimes an urk,urk, urk, urk strangled sort of noise. My husband says it’s sometimes like a menagerie or a “soundtrack to a dream”. Sometimes I wake up while I’m doing it and can hear myself making these noises, most often I just disturb my husband. I think it’s becoming worse, happening nightly. Does this type of noise sound like catathrenia to you?

    • Hi Kassie

      It’s not really my place to try and diagnose sleep disorders within these comments I’m afraid. What I would suggest though is that if you last saw a specialist 20 years ago, then there’s nothing wrong with seeing your doctor or a sleep specialist again to check what’s going on. Especially if you think it’s getting worse. Sorry I can’t help more, and I do hope that you manage to resolve it.

      Ethan

  • Thank you so much for this concise and informative piece. It is incredibly useful and I feel much more informed and able to talk about it.

    • I have been married for 27 years and my husband has been moaning in his sleep for all 27 years! I cannot believe that there is a name for this disorder. I have never known anyone else that does this so I was amazed to find out that it is an actual disorder. As I write this it is 2am and I am on my recliner in my living room as my husband is moaning away in our bedroom. My way of dealing with it is working the night shift but I still have to deal with it on my nights off like tonight. I do feel better knowing that other people also do it and I can’t wait to tell my husband in the morning. Thank you for the very useful information.

      • Hi there

        I can only imagine that after 27 years with no explanation, it must be an amazing thing to find out what it might be! Hopefully you can work together to find another solution to hardly ever sleeping together!
        Regards
        Ethan

        • Wow…well done you for dealing with it. You must either be very understanding or sleep well once you’re asleep! I like his light-heated way of dealing with it though. I hope you also see the funny side of it!
          Regards
          Ethan

    • Abbey, I’m not a doctor either, not that it matters. The information you seek is easily found online. Here’s the pertinent info as conveyed in the cited article:

      “One underwent uvulopalatopharyngoplasty at an outside facility and did not return for follow-up. Five others had upper airway surgery. Three of these used an adjunct oral appliance device after surgery.”

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