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Thread: Strange Involuntary Throat Spasm When Falling Asleep

  1. #1

    Strange Involuntary Throat Spasm When Falling Asleep

    Hi. I would like to hear from anyone who has experienced unusual throat spasms when falling asleep.

    For many years I have had sleep problems - waking up during REM and feeling panic, heart racing, sweating, tremors etc.etc.

    One of the symptoms I experience after an 'attack', ie. at the point where I am feeling more relaxed and close to falling asleep again, is a very strange throat spasm. The best way I can describe it is like an exaggerated swallow reflex, but in reverse. Sometimes my airway is blocked for a second or two (by my tongue I guess) and this really frightens me.

    I am scared that I am having epileptic focal seizures and that it might last longer and I will suffocate.

    Sometimes it is just a small ripple and at worst it is like a wave going up my throat.

    Has anyone else had this strange sensation?

    I know that when falling asleep it is common and quite normal to have hypnic jerks - limbs kicking out for example, but I have never heard of anyone having throat spasms.

    Thank you for reading.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    58

    Re: Strange Involuntary Throat Spasm When Falling Asleep

    Hi there

    I haven't experienced anything like this myself but i am sure there are people out there who have

    Have you discussed this with the doctor at all?

  3. #3

    Re: Strange Involuntary Throat Spasm When Falling Asleep

    Thanks for your reply. I have mentioned it to more than one doctor but they don't take any notice. I have so many strange symptoms they don't know what to do with me! I am due to see a neurologist soon for a follow up appointment so will ask him about it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    197

    Re: Strange Involuntary Throat Spasm When Falling Asleep

    I had this frequently in 2014. You can find my old posts on this. It has stopped now and hasnít happened for years.

    It was exactly asyou describe a reverse swallow. I even tried to drink water and it swallowed it backwards and cane back out. There was also a really tight feeling of being strangled.

    I found out it was crycopharyngeal spasm and was due to stress. I also suffered from sleep paralysis at the time too.

    I am on low dose diazepam and this has really helped.

    Also the more you worry about having these episodes the more they seem to happen :(
    __________________
    I try not to worry about the future..............so I take each day one anxiety attack at a time

  5. #5

    Re: Strange Involuntary Throat Spasm When Falling Asleep

    Update: Not only do I get this when falling asleep but it has started waking me up too. Have excessive sweating with it and last night felt as if I was going to be sick, though without nausea, ie. just an immediate feeling that the involuntary vomit mechanism was about to take place without actually experiencing nausea.

    It is beginning to terrify me. It doesn't happen every night and only during dreaming in the early hours of the night or upon falling asleep (I go from wakefulness straight into dreaming).

    I am so frightened that this is epilepsy and if it continues for longer that a few seconds I will suffocate (as I choke during each episode).

    I don't know how I can bear these symptoms much longer.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,091

    Re: Strange Involuntary Throat Spasm When Falling Asleep

    I think I used to have something similar, and Iím pretty sure itís where youíre so tense, that as you relax you get a sort of spasm. I havenít had it for years, had even forgotten about it. But I know how awful it is at the time. Can you listen to progressive muscle relaxation exercises before bed maybe?


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  7. #7

    Re: Strange Involuntary Throat Spasm When Falling Asleep

    Hi Scass, thanks for your reply. I'm not sure it's because I'm tense, but there again, anxiety works in very strange ways! I am not tense when I get these episodes, well, not consciously so, perhaps deep down on a subconscious level. I get the gulps when just about to fall asleep and also now starting to get them during sleep when they wake me up. It seems to occur during transitory phases of sleep, ie. just falling asleep or waking up. They occur many times when I am feeling very relaxed and catch me out of the blue.

    They don't tend to happen when I first fall asleep but I get them frequently during the night (always REM phase) and after being awake and falling back asleep. Also I get them as I lie in bed after the morning alarm has woken me up and I have a little doze before getting up - then gulp, gulp, gulp! I am feeling really relaxed at this stage too.

    I am waiting for an appointment for an EEG to check for epilepsy. Not looking forward to that but it's the only way to find out for sure.

  8. #8

    Re: Strange Involuntary Throat Spasm When Falling Asleep

    Hi all. Iím experiencing this right now. It started with hypnic jerks, usually of arms and head, when falling asleep. Now itís mostly this swallowing reflex. It wakes me up and freaks me out. Has anyone had any luck with getting it to stop? I just started lexapro last week and today my doctor started buspar. I also take trazadone before going to sleep. Sometimes it helps but tonight I kept waking myself up swallowing. My doctor thinks it anxiety related but I pushed for a neurologist appointment. Could take a while to get in though. Iím just exhausted and scared.

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