Catathrenia – Are You Making Strange Noises While Sleeping?

man keeping a woman awakeJust 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 are 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 are most basically defined as strange night-time 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. Then emit a long groaning, moaning or shrieking noise which can last from a few seconds up to a minute. At the end of the groan will 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 strangely sound like a sexual noise. This of course can be quite disturbing or annoying for other people in the household who can hear it.

Catathrenia usually occurs during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep. Though it is possible for it to happen during other stages. Most people report it happening later in the night, which mirrors the fact that there is 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 is one of the lucky few people who can sleep through any noise, they will also experience it second hand!

 

What Catathrenia is not:

catathrenia and snoring are not the same thing

Catathrenia could be confused for other sleep disorders or heath issues. So it is important to understand that it is not 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 (yes, this does appear to contradict 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 is a 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 is not the same as sleep talking
  • Moaning as 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 ones like apnea, epilepsy and stridor.

 

What causes catathrenia?

As with many sleep disorders, the 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 is connected to high stress levels

Unfortunately there is 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 is an obstruction or restriction of the airways that causes catathrenia. Because of that, some argue that it should not be classed as a parasomnia, but a sleep-related breathing disorder.

 

Catathrenia treatment:

Many people do not 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 is not 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 is 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 is not usually rushed, and the least intrusive options offered first.

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

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

So if you are 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.

 

 


88 Responses to “Catathrenia – Are You Making Strange Noises While Sleeping?”

  1. Abbey soucy says:

    What type of surgery have people had? I need help asap

    • Hi Abbey

      That’s something best discussed with a medical doctor, which I am not I’m afraid!

    • Anonymous says:

      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

  2. Mary says:

    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.

  3. Kassie says:

    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

  4. Nneka says:

    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

  5. Randy says:

    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

  6. la morria says:

    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

  7. James Burke says:

    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

  8. Moustafa says:

    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

  9. SLN says:

    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?

  10. billy says:

    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

  11. Santha says:

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

  12. abbey Soucy says:

    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

  13. Shannon says:

    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

  14. Kiana says:

    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

  15. Brian says:

    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

  16. Rachel Shelley says:

    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

  17. Melissa Jane says:

    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

  18. Melissa says:

    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

  19. Moustafa says:

    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.

  20. chantel lee says:

    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

  21. Helen says:

    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.

  22. caz says:

    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

  23. Andrea says:

    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!

  24. Tasha says:

    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!

  25. Casey says:

    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

  26. linda says:

    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

  27. Peter says:

    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

  28. Lorre Hopkins says:

    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

  29. Thato says:

    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

  30. Brooke says:

    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

  31. Eddy Britson says:

    Thanks for this post. Really Amazing information.

  32. L. J. says:

    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

  33. Megan says:

    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

  34. Miss M says:

    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

  35. B says:

    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

  36. Jen says:

    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.

  37. Sandra A. says:

    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

  38. BETSEY says:

    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

  39. Stephanie Fialloss says:

    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

  40. Moustafa says:

    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

  41. danie says:

    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

  42. Stephanie says:

    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

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