Catathrenia – Are You Making Strange Noises While Sleeping?

man with catathrenia making noise in his sleep with woman looking at him

Just 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 that weird noise again!”

“What noise?”

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

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

What is Catathrenia?

Sometimes known as nocturnal groaning, catathrenia is a sleep disorder which falls under the category of sleep-related breathing disorders.

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.

The noise can last from a few seconds up to a minute. And at the end of the groan, they might make a secondary noise like a snorting, or they might also wake up.

Sometimes embarrassing

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.

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 the noise, it can become a source of frustration for both people.

Some researchers further suggest there could be sub-types of catathrenia, for example depending on whether the noise made on each out-breath is short or long.

What Catathrenia isn’t

As it’s not a very common sleep disorder, catathrenia is sometimes confused with other sleep disorders or health issues. So it’s important to understand that it isn’t any of the following:

  • 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, people with catathrenia pause after breathing 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.
  • 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.

When forming a diagnosis, a medical professional would want to rule out the above possibilities, particularly the more serious conditions like apnea, epilepsy, and stridor.

What causes catathrenia?

As with many sleep disorders, the exact cause 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 cords may partially close off. A forced out-breath then takes place to push through this closure and unblock the vocal cords.
  • Damage to brain structures that control breathing.
  • There have also been suggestions it’s connected to high stress levels.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been as much research done into the physiopathology of catathrenia as other sleep disorders which are thought to have more serious consequences if unmanaged.

Despite the lack of consensus as to the cause, it seems many researchers believe an obstruction or restriction of the airways is involved; what causes that restriction in the first place isn’t clear though.


Many people don’t even realize they make the noise until a partner or someone sleeping in their house tells them.

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. But you might be asked to have an overnight sleep study in a sleep center.

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?

Interestingly, researchers in 2017 who looked into catathrenia made some recommendations for possible future treatment research avenues.

They say:

Direction for further research could involve consideration of deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, or myofunctional therapy to help abate symptoms.

In the surveys they investigated for their study, the most common comorbid medical conditions were anxiety and depression, which perhaps explain why those techniques could be helpful. So if this applies to you, perhaps it’s worth trying self-help, or reaching out for professional help if you haven’t already.

The data also suggests that alcohol use, smoking and recreational drug use could be factors to consider. This is an area where some experimentation at home (with reduction!) could prove fruitful.

And interestingly, the survey results also appears to suggest swimming could be a factor. So if you’re a swimmer, perhaps keep an eye on whether it’s worse on days you’ve been in the water.

Successful treatment with a CPAP machine

Researchers at Stanford University found in a study of seven patients that a Continuous Positive Airways Pressure (CPAP) machine helped resolve the nocturnal groaning for all of them.

A CPAP machine delivers air gently through the nose to keep the airways open and is regularly used by people who have apnea.

In that study, five people also chose to have surgery later on. And of the four people that reported back later to the researchers, three needed an oral device as well.

It might sound like it was quite an ordeal for those in the study, but the good news is that all four were eventually cured.

And in 2012, researchers in Spain gave four people from their group of 10 sufferers a CPAP machine, finding that all of them has significantly less moaning events.

More recently, in 2020 researchers published a case study of a patient with catathrenia who was successfully treated with the lowest CPAP pressure settings.

They explain that CPAP machines are known to be problematic for some people as they don’t like wearing them. They suggest that perhaps only needing the lowest setting might make it easier for people to continue using.

They say in their study:

…catathrenia is an uncommon disorder characterized by a distinct breathing pattern in which CPAP treatment seems to be effective but its utility is limited by poor patients acceptability. Setting CPAP pressures to control cathatrenia events (leaving aside flow limitation) could be related to better CPAP compliance.

Blocking the sound


It seems then that using a CPAP machine is currently the most successful treatment offered. However, not everyone finds them comfortable enough to wear in the long-term.

One alternative is for people who are being disturbed by the noise to try and block out the sound as much as possible. Wearing earplugs could help in some circumstances, though possibly not reduce the sound completely if it’s very loud.

It might help if you’re hearing it from another bedroom in the same house, but perhaps not if you’re right next to the person making the groaning noises.

Another option is to use headphones and listen to music or white noise if you like that. Good noise-cancelling headphones might add an extra boost to the sound masking too.

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.

Readers’ tips

Several 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.

Some have also offered the suggestion of avoiding sleeping on your back. Again, this doesn’t have research to back it up, but it’s worth trying out.

There have also been suggestions that it’s worse with stress and sleep deprivation. So try to stay on top of both your daily stress levels and make sure you get enough sleep.

I’d be very grateful if you could leave a comment to say if these ideas work for you, if you decide to try them or already have done. That way I can write in more detail about how often it helps people.

And if you have any other suggestions for coping mechanisms that might benefit other readers, please feel free to leave a comment below.

609 thoughts on “Catathrenia – Are You Making Strange Noises While Sleeping?”

  1. Hi there my name is Nadiah. My boyfriend of 4 years has told me recently in my sleep I make like sexual noises and my legs jerk, and also sometimes shout as well. I have no memory of doing this and just wondering if I should maybe go see my doctor about this?

    1. I believe I also have this problem. I was informed of it recently after moving to a new place and having a person near me who says I make a deep noise and the bed even shakes. I have had 3 neck surgeries and I am wondering if perhaps I have developed scar tissue that upon exhaling in deepest sleep the air passes over this tissue and causes it to vibrate. I find that if I don’t drink any alcohol the problem is less. I also suffer from postnasal drainage, particularly worse at night, and take a Benadryl-type OTC medication that helps to dry that up. I think that when the medication wears off in the middle of the night my drainage starts again, because it seems that around 3 am or so is when the noises start because the air has a harder time getting past. I have found a product called Asonor that helps to shrink the tissues so they are not as relaxed when I am sleeping, but that again wears off in the early morning hours. I am never aware that I am making these noises and find it quite ‘unfeminine’ to be doing so and rather embarrassing as well. I am wondering if a surgical procedure to remove the scar tissue, if that in fact is what is there, would help the situation, but I really don’t want to undergo another surgical procedure in my neck.

  2. I tend to make these noises when I’m sick or my allergies are bad. It’s really embarrassing and I wake up both myself and my fiancé. I slept on the couch for part of last night and having my head raised seemed to make it stop.

  3. I unfortunately disturb my husband with sounds that start out like Darth Vader breathing and progress toward a deep monotone sound that he describes as “neeeeeeeeeeee” repeatedly with every breath. In the morning, my throat is often sore from these sounds. Sleeping on my side does help. This article was very helpful.

    1. The groaning started about a year ago, and i can sleep perfectly fine in my own bed, but if i fall asleep on the couch, sideways, on my back, on my stomach i cannot stop “groaning”. I’ve waken myself up several times to me making this sound. and my roommate will raise her voice and i’ll still be sleeping and groaning, it’s takes a little now for me to wake up and realize, i am most certainly making that sound again.

  4. I have it too. It’s so embarrassing and I feel disappointed that there is no cure to bring an end to this.

    Please I would like to know if an anti-snoring device would stop it?


  5. Patricia Chappelle

    I just noticed this recently. I woke up and heard strange noises, I couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. It did not feel like it was coming from my throat. Just this morning I woke making moaning sounds, this time I knew it was me. Several years I was staying the night at a friends house, in the morning she told me I had been crying in my sleep. I think it must have been some of the noises I found myself making recently. I am 66 yrs old. I am under a lot of stress at work. Yesterday was a “good” day at work with pleasant co-workers. But 2 days before it had been a very bad day and by the time I got home I was almost catatonic. Do I need to see a doctor? I know I need a different job!

    1. Everyone here is talking about the same problem and I have it too with the groaning and loud noises I make in my sleep on top of my snoring. I went to my doctor and he referred me to Guys Sleep Disorders Clinic in London and they fitted a mandibular device basically a mouthpiece like what a rugby player would wear. It has stopped the snoring but not the noises so I am back I on the sofa. I had a follow up appointment today as Guys and now doing an overnight sleep test where you stay in the hospital for 1 night. The likelihood is they will give me a CPAP machine which will cure the snoring and the noises. This is the best advice I can give you all so get referred to your Doctor.

  6. I’ve evidently been doing this for years. My husband kept telling me I snored but last night he recorded me and it sounds like I’m singing grunge metal in my sleep. Frankly, I think it’s pretty funny since I’m completely unaware that I do it.

    I don’t think it’s sleep apnea, I sleep pretty soundly (I’d have to sleep through that racket), although my hearing isn’t what it used to be. Maybe that’s related.

    It doesn’t bother ME any, I can’t help it, but it would be nice to be able to sleep “normally” in case I go visit someone.

    Since this is something possibly related to stress maybe it’s a self-soothing thing, like how cats purr?

  7. My bf complains that I make noises at night like gridding my teeth and chewing 3 course meal, he wakes me up each time. I don’t recall any noises. I don’t have sore teeth or my jaw so I don’t think I grind my teeth.
    I haven’t been diagnosed yet, haven’t been to my GP and keeps saying I need to sort it.
    I am ways tired and have very low iron at the moment. It had been stressful at work lately and at home too. So I guess a mixture of everything.

  8. Jessica Arciola

    My friend had been telling me for 20 years that I sound like I’m having the best sex dreams missing etc. Just went on vacation with my mother and she said I was missing making weird noises. I’m always tired but I’m not stressed. I have wild dreams so I always thought it was just that. Good to know. I could never get sleep with a cpap machine I can only sleep on my stomach. Difficult.

    1. Kristi M Kirchhoff

      Had it since I was in my teens. My husband “accuses” me of having sex dreams every night lol. An old roommate and my brother say it sounds like I am crying and moaning in fear. I have a history of sleep walking as a child and night terrors that have come and gone throughout my life, so I am not sure if these are all connected.

  9. Always thought I sleep talked but reading these experiences made me realize I’ve got catathrenia. I stay in a tenement flat and unfortunately my neighbors are probably alarmed by these outbursts and don’t hesitate to show their disapproval by imitating my outbursts. Very embarrassing! I’ve no doubt that personally my condition is caused by stress. For me, I think I’ve just to accept this condition and not let it control my life. Glad there are sites like these to offer some consolation.
    Thank you

  10. My sister has been ill and on oxygen for several years. She started making these loud groaning noises about a year ago. Sometimes they sound like growling but they are always loud. I wake her sometimes because they sound so terrible. she has no recollection of doing this and is extremely upset when she is told about it. I was going to record the sounds for her doctor to hear but now that I have read this article, I know this is the cause of these terrible noises. I am still going to speak to her doctor and ask him about the CPAP machine. She is so unhappy about this. We have to do something.

  11. My husband has been complaining for about a month that I do this.He told me that he can’t understand why I can’t hear it. I found this site and he read it and apologized to me. I felt like he had been calling me a liar.
    The last 2 nights I have slept with 2 pillows and tried to keep from sleeping on my back so far it seems to have worked but I have been extremely tired both days

  12. My husband says I do this only as I am falling asleep. I understand that it happens when I fall asleep in my chair and at meetings if I start to nod off. He says I have done it several times in church :<
    I have noticed that lately the noise and groaning starts to happen when I am wide awake. Of course in that situation I can stop myself.

  13. I am 13 years old and i am being told i have been making these loud groan noises as if i am in pain for the past few days now. I loked up what it means and it brought me to this site and I told my mom that I may have a sleeping disorder and my grandma says it gets worse every night

    1. Same. My mom has been waking me up every night complaining that I am moaning and groaning sexually. I become very upset and embarrased when I found out that I do this, especially when I am a friend’s house.

  14. I am 18 years old and have been told that I make long zombie, moaning noises that my parents can hear all they way to their room, after reading this I believe its what I have but I’m not sleep deprived, and I sleep on my side, and they say that its at least a minuet and a half long. I have tried to see if sleeping with my mouth closed worse but the noises still occur. I have also tried sleeping with my pillows higher but I still get complaints from my family. What should I do?

  15. I am a 41 year old woman, who have been told by my husband and kids that I will make loud moaning, humming, and noises that sound sexual. My husband is always trying to shove me so I can get up, but shortly after I start with the strange noises again. I do need to seek help, as sometimes my husband can not take the noises and sleeps on the couch.

  16. I fell half asleep and then when my phone went off I went to lift my head and I heard a 2 second groaning, and I didn’t think it was mine so I looked around in hysteria. Turns out it was just because part of my vocal chords was blocked off and dry so, as the second theory says, I breathed out and the short exhale opened up the vocal chords once again, forming the sound of a groan. Thank you for the information!

  17. I`ve had two recent instances that I hear a loud monotone sound while i’m dreaming. In my dream I’m aware of the monotone sound, and I believe I’m making the sound. I use a cpap machine that makes noise but the monotone noise I hear in my dreams is louder and more intense. This morning I described this noise to my wife and she told me that she remembered the noise and I was definitely the one making the noise, not my cpap machine. This is something new. Never have I made noises like this awake or asleep. Any feedback is appreciated. Thankyou.

  18. Hi my twin brother only started doing this within the last year. He’ll fall asleep and sometimes quickly start to moan and groan, I’m pretty sure he has apnea or something on top of whatever this is. He’ll swing from one side of the bed to the other and move his arms a lot and kinda sounds like he’s crying sometimws. He did go through divorce not too long before this started. It was an awful abusive marriage. He’s 31 and a little over weight. I don’t know I guess I just want to know he’s ok and what I should do. I know it freaks him out. 3 people have told him it freaks them out what he does. Tonight is my first night experiencing it. he’s out here on vacation and asked me to watch him. So I’m recording his sleep. Please let me know any suggestions you have. Thank you

  19. I am 69 and I don’t know how long I have been making the sleep noises. I didn’t realize that I made these noises until I married seven years ago. My husband is hard of hearing but still winds up sleeping in his recliner most nights. I just had a sleep study done and I don’t have sleep apnea. Frustrating for us both. I did read about elevating my pillow here and I will try that. I see my pulmonologist this month and will post any suggestions he may give me. Any suggestions will be appreciated!

    1. Now I know what the hell is going on. I never knew there was such a thing. I’ve been making some type of noise when I start dreaming sometimes. Kinda scary to know my wind pipe my be blocked. There’s a history of sleep apnea, sleep walking/taking in the family. Good to know what it is and I’m not alone

  20. Funny we’re here googling why our husbands sound like Chewbacca in their sleep at an ungodly hour when we can’t sleep because of it. Been married 15 years and this problem is not constant. It seems to be more when he is stressed. He breathes loud and moans, groans, grunts, almost talks but nothing comprehensible. He moves allot and smacks his lips too. I’ve made sure he’s breathing ok I don’t hear any gasping and he doesn’t stop breathing but I’m tempted to stop his breathing by smothering him with a pillow! Seriously though I feel bad for him that can’t be restful sleep. Side sleeping and head elevating doesn’t help. If anyone has any tips please share. He’d never go to a sleep clinic or wear a CPAP. He used to grind his teeth and did wear a guard but again that’s only when he’s stressed. Sleeping on the couch bears the same consequences because the dog snores and has puppy nightmares and whimpers and runs in his sleep. And I’m not sleeping in my 15 year old son’s bed thank you let’s not traumatize him while we’re at it. Please send help I need sleep. Day two of #teamnosleep

    1. You sound like me!
      I’m at my wits end with no sleep
      Old fella makes terrible noises – we sleep separate but even with this I can still hear him and I’m woken many times a night!
      Let me know if you find anything that helps
      You are not alone xx

  21. Sleepless in Georgia

    My husband does this. It’s so frustrating as I am up writing this at 4am and have to wake up for work at 6am. Also, I’m pregnant so it’s even more frustrating. I barely get sleep but when hubby gets in the bed (usually around 2am) is when I am distracted from my sleep and I’m up for he rest of the night. He is 36yrs old and does this humming, grunting, and roaring thing while he is sleep. Funny enough, he does it when he’s not sleep too and IT PISSES ME OFF. Although I’m aware I have a serious noise aversion anyway, this just makes it worse. It literally makes my skin crawl and I cry. I take anxiety pills. When I met him I didn’t witness this. I’m not sure if it’s mental like stress or depression. He says he’s not depressed but he’s without work now and we are having issues with that. It’s almost like he knows he’s doing it. He gets up to use the bathroom and gets in bed and starts moaning before he even stops moving. NO WAY HE CAN BE IN REM SLEEP In 2 seconds of hitting the bed. But when he is in a deep sleep, he roars and groans while snoring too. He has also picked up this slight movement problem while he sleeps. Doesn’t bother me but I’m concermed. (He tells me he has dreams of flying) Also, he can be awake, reading or driving and all of a sudden he will start making the same damn noises. For the longest I wondered if he has Tourette’s bc of this. Now I have two thoughts: 1. It’s seriously stress related and I need to help him overcome. 2. He’s just being an asshole because he knows I have aversions. I’m so lost and sleepy!!!!!! Please help!!!

  22. I finally decided to look up why my partner does this and pretty sure this is what she has. Was getting a little annoyed but am more understanding now that I feel I understand it better. Thankful it is not a serious condition. She just has been diagnosed with sleep apnea and thinking she may have been misdiagnosed.

  23. Michael Anthony Warner

    I make weird noises in my sleep and I talk and hum Relly constant passing off my roommates for fear of tripping neighbors out due to this awkward behavior. My friend thinks it may come from years of hardcore drug use. I am currently going thru dramatic living changes and having to completely change my self to try to fit in where I’m currently staying. I read it may be stress related. What do u recommend I do.because I don’t want to upset anybody and I get snappy when confronted about it in my uncouincess sleep zone. Thanks

  24. hello, as a teenager I used to make humming noises when I drifted off….now 41 and a mother of one I have been told that I make the loudest of groaning noises in my sleep..this has been the case for many of my adult years. I suffered a stress related breakdown in my early 20’s with alopeachia and and a drop in weight so server that my colleagues belived I was on ‘burn out’. Around the same time as the weight loss my mood was happy but my body would shoot out bile for no reason and this lasted a few weeks before the drop in weight..the doctor said I may have a swollen gullet. they advised I get a stress ball and squeeze on that…so after reporting signs of stress from age 20-22 and no medical help or advice, my body finally gave up and I had a break down that has left me with the stigma of mental health and sensitive to stress.
    about my groaning…I can hum or groan but I have noticed that it happens regardless of my sleep postion. I notice it more in the early stages of sleep when I deprived and fall asleep on my stomach…In the early stages of sleep I can remember that as I was drifting off I was talking or saying something in my sleep and its as if ive sunken into a deep sleep too quickly…
    also, I am very aware of my groaning in the early stages and can actually hear myself doing it just as I sink into a deprived sleep and usually wake myself up and laugh it off with my daughter..
    secondly, the louder groaning happens in deep sleep and im totally unaware of that…it has been noticed by neighbours and coupled with the stigma of mental health dosent do my stress levels any favours as you can imagine how its perceived…
    I also, on waking….re-remember as much as I can about every dream and try to either make sense of it or commit it to memory…
    while sleeping, I can at times become very aware that im dreaming and asleep in my room and try to take advange of this knowledge and try to steer my dream into anything I want but always ends up going bad and turning into something frightening that forces me to shake my head and wake my self up..
    I also, when awhere im dreaming and having a bad one I want to wake from, tell myself to scream HELP ME! over and over to alert my neighbours that I need help..strange I know..
    something that may be of importance…my breakdown was the result of bullying and harassment through stalking, suspious circumstances and series of phone calls that used taughted me into to believing that id been assaulted in my sleep on a few occasions in my earlier teenage years 17-19 and that I just didn’t remember but that the person was there…
    all a bit strange I know, but has had such a huge effect on my life and I am so intune with my sleep that I can actually recognise im dreaming and try to control it…
    from a young age efore my teens I would often have the same reoccurring dream that I was flying into something getting closer and closer and the closer I got the angrier I was and I wanted to face it but the closer I got the more terrifying it was and although I was aware I was dreaming I would become very conscious that iwas lying in my bed and that something was getting closer to me while I was sleeping and that’s where I learnt to tell my body to scream and shout for help! and would shake my head side to side to wake myself out of that dream before either I closer to thing I was flying towards or that something would touch me ehile I was vunerable in bed…any ideas?? I don’t have any symtoms of biological mental health it is purely environmental factors that lead to increased amounts of stress so bad at age 16 that continued through to my 20’s that caused a breakdown that I have fully recovered from..

    1. Omg….that sounds EXACTLY like me!? I’ve never had anyone even come close to understanding what I would say about my sleep let alone pretty much tell my story with the only difference of what the dream was about visually!

      1. I feel the same way. My bf always thinks I’m having sexual dreams of other men. And it’s been this this whole time. It feels good to have people who also go through this.

  25. Hi I have A 15 year old son who has been doing this moaning sound. For a while now. He sometimes stood when I say “ Bryan stop” or “Bryan be quiet” his name is Bryan by the way. I really need some advice. He wakes up after he’s done making the noises. What is causing this? Somone please help me out.

    1. Hi Bryan
      Can you access medical help? I would take him to the doctor to ask their advice. There’s nothing else I can do to help I’m afraid, other than suggesting you try the ideas in the article and comments. And try to do follow general good advice for better sleep that you can find on this site and on most medical websites that discuss sleep.

  26. I’ve had a CPAP machine for over 15 years, use it every night. But now I seemed to have started making noises not related to the CPAP therapy. I’ve even place tape over my mouth for the last month to keep it shut; doesn’t help!

    I’m comfortably retired, no debts, a nice home and few worries. I’m at a loss as to why I’m making these stupid noises at night!

    1. Have you recently had any dental procedures done, tooth extractions? I have heard this could be a cause to catathrenia as well. For me I know this could be one of several factors.

  27. It’s actually ruining my life I’ve been sleeping downstairs on a single mattress for over 2 year while my partner and kids are in bed I’m so tired all the time as they keep waking me up had a sleep study and definitely have catatherina I’ve got a cpap machine but find it really difficult to wear I’m at my wits end this has been going on for 7 year

  28. Am 19 years, can’t tell how it happened but I really want to stop making this sound. My roommate complains a lot and it’s so embarrassing.

  29. well, I don’t know when did this start. But this summer, I went to a overnight summer camp, and people who shares room with me says I make a loud garage noise, and I really want to stop making this noise.

  30. Hi,

    For a year now I have been told that I’m making noises when I sleep.. everyone explains it that thy sound like I’m eating or just like tasting food, its hard to explain in words.. any ideas??

  31. Since I was a child it seems that I have been holding my breath and making groaning sounds. I have woken up groaning. Sleeping on my back definitely makes it worse, what helps me a little is sleeping with no pillows. But it’s an every night occurrence it seems if I’m really tired the longer I hold my breath and the groaning is much louder and longer.

  32. Recently I have noticed I am having this catathrenia. And this is weird to me because my ex-boyfriend had this and I never knew what it was I always related it to drug use even though not having a clue what it was that he was experiencing and it was very very annoying to myself dealing with him having this going on. So I have noticed recently since I am separated from him I am now having this so it is very important to me that I am reading all this since I finally looked it up. But u wanted to say I found it is probably helpful to raise your pillows or the way I found to work by sitting up while sleeping, because this disorder is so annoying it keeps me awake and scares me! I wake up gasping for air and jerking waking up startled and it won’t stop I can’t sleep! I became annoyed and fell asleep sitting up and I found I slept and it stopped.

    1. Hi Shawtai
      If you wake up gasping for air, I suggest speaking to your doctor about it to rule out sleep apnea.

  33. I have been making weird moaning and groaning sounds in my sleep for over forty years now.Thank goodness it has a name, and I’m not the only one that has this problem.I also toss back and forth after each moan, I have to tell people when I’m staying over at their house so they don’t think I’m getting murdered or something.My husband wakes me if I’m too loud,so as he can sleep.

  34. Hey I’ve just read this now my partner has been waking me up for awhile now and saying I’ve been making grudge like noises and when she does I feel a lack of breath any ideas? I didn’t think too much of it and tend to fall asleep straight away I’m just confused do I go see my doctor? I’m only 25

    1. Hi Shannon
      If your partner, or you, notice you struggle to breathe or hold your breath in your sleep, then it’s worth getting checked for apnea.

  35. I have chiari brain malformation and the worst problems after I fall husband is constantly waking me to tell me I’m making high pitched hooting wheezing sounds and I’ve tried snore spray, ear plugs for him..raising the bed pillows sleeping on my side and nothing seems to work idk what to do …my sounds are from the damage to my brain stem from the chiari.. chiari is a rare condition where the hole in the skullis too small for my big brain and my brain protudes out the back of my skull pressing down on my brain stem causing so many other issues

  36. this has just started with me. I moan in my sleep, or rather just as I am about to fall asleep. Started a few weeks after being diagnosed with COPD. I am not fully asleep when it happens, just at that drowsy about to drop off to sleep stage. As far as I know, since I am single, that is the only time at night that it happens. If it happens at other times during the night I am unaware of it. It is the same sound I would make during occasional nightmares when I was trying to yell out but couldn’t. I would make this same moaning sound that would wake me up. I always sleep on my side so that would not make a difference for me. I have tried sleeping sitting up and it doesn’t make any difference in it, I still sleep moan. My doctor is ordering a sleep study to see if I have sleep apnea, since I am not sleeping well and feel constant fatigue.

    1. Omg! I’m experiencing the same thing. Before it began I just woke up gasping for a huge breath, like if I had been underwater and surfaced for air. I really scared my husband. The moaning happens every now and then for just a few secs but today it was all night and I kept doing it and waking up. I got really scared. I hope all goes well in your sleep study. As for me, I’ll bring this up in my upcoming physical in 2 weeks. Best of luck!

  37. Jennifer Young

    My husband has done this for years, but now it’s getting worse. He falls asleep as soon as he sits down anywhere and starts to moan. It’s especially embarrassing at church! It has been a very stressful month and it does get worse with stress, but now in addition to the sleep noises, he has a terrible cough that has lasted over a month and won’t go away. I am curious if anyone else has experienced this and if it could be related somehow. He has been to a dr. and was given an antibiotic, and cough medicine, but neither seemed to help in the least. He still has these coughing fits and one time even passed out from coughing so hard. That’s about the time the Catathrenia got really bad again. Anyone else dealing w/ a cough/phlegm in addition to the sleep noises?

    1. Hi Jennifer
      I would go back to the doctor and/or seek a second opinion just to be on the safe side.

    2. This is exactly what is happening to me. I am having larynx spasms that feels like I have to gasp for air though a straw. Nothing helps but water and cough drops.

    3. My spouse has had a residual dry cough since November as well as a couple of respiratory illnesses/infections. Also in 35+yrs being married, I have been a daily witness to the dozing off at any given time or place…other than activities that seemed to keep the heart rate high. Recent (March) was treated w/antibiotic as well as given an x-ray to rule out pneumonia, but instead revealed an abnormal image. Scheduled then to have c t scan and then to be seen by a pulmonologist. Up to this point, additional blood work eliminated a few possibilities and dr is leaning towards one of the interstitial lung diseases. Biopsy (a most invasive, radical type) will be required to determine definitively which one. After a round of steroids and a cough medicine all of the symptoms had seemed to have gone into remission, but nearly a wk ago have returned, only now cough is producing a lot of phlegm and noticing odd noises as he sleeps. These days lungs are exposed to so many toxins in our homes and workplaces, things like molds from a variety of sources indoors as well as out, cleaning chemicals, occupational and excessive household dust, asbestosis, etc. And it’s no secret what 1st and 2nd hand smoking will do for you.

    4. Please see a Pulmonologist… my husband recently had the same problem and has been diagnosed with interstitial lung disease and started on steroids. They did a CAT scan of the chest and pulmonary function tests to diagnose it. Hope this helps.

    5. My BF has a persistent cough and
      Makes these groaning/ moaning sounds in his sleep. I don’t know if they R related but at least I see many people
      Have this. He is stressed with having
      A homeless son, 2 gold-digger manipulative wives ( failed marriages
      W women he loved a lot) and business stress. He refuses to go to a psychologist to talk this all out.
      But since u asked, I’m revealing my thoughts.
      Please respond! Ann

  38. I’m 32 and have sleeped talked sin childhood, mostly when I was stressed or had very vivid dreams. I started sleep groaning at 27 while pregnant around the end of my second Trimester and hasn’t stopped since. Some nights its better, some nights worse. Stress usually plays a key factor as well as exhaustion. My husband sleeps through it so its not an issue for me except when for qhatever reason I have to share a room while away on a conference. I do drink coffee on a daily basis although I have been cutting down. It does seem to be louder and happen more when sleeping onmy back but can also happen when on my side. Pillows don’t make a difference. I ocasionally drink alcohol and haven’t noticed if it makes things worse. When I’m very tired I can snore as well. My husband is a doctor, says it doesn’t serm to be sleep apnea however I will for sure book a sleep apnea test. My one question is: If I do not have sleep apnea and am diagnosed with catathrenia is there anything medically that can be done about it that helps besides using a c-pap machine for the rest of my life?

  39. I’ve dealt with this for decades, really bad, sounds like the demons from hell and scares my fiance, she thinks one day I’ll be hovering up by the ceiling. Im 60 and been doing this for decades , it is stress related and anxiety due to excessive caffeine, alcohol intake, i quit drinking 12 yrs ago and experience of insomnia, i tell you if you have ways of dealing with your nerves it will lessen, brisk walking, seven blossoms tea and vitamin b complex stress formula only the other types of b complex make it worse STRESS FORMULA. IF YOU LACK SLEEP AND OVERLY TIRED IT MAKES IT WORSE. TRY NOT TO SLEEP ON YOUR BACK !

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