How to Sleep With Trouble Breathing

how to sleep with trouble breathing

People who are having difficulty breathing while they sleep may suffer from orthopnea. Although this is highly uncomfortable and can ruin a good night’s sleep, it is not dangerous in some cases. It’s best to seek medical advice if the problem is life-threatening or occurs unexplainably when lying down. Different people have different causes of orthopnea, and there is no single cure for it. To find out what may be the cause of your difficulty breathing while you sleep, read the following articles:

Congestive heart failure

Approximately 70% of people with congestive heart failure develop some type of breathing disorder related to their condition. The lower blood-oxygen levels during sleep expose the heart to higher risks of failure and premature death. One such condition is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). While this disorder can be relatively rare, it can have a profound impact on daytime functions.


Whether you have trouble breathing at night or if you’re overweight, finding ways to relieve this problem will help you get a better night’s rest. Obesity is often an underdiagnosed health issue. This condition causes high levels of carbon dioxide in the body and low levels of oxygen in the blood. It can also be caused by abdominal fat, weak respiratory muscles, and certain types of drugs. If you suspect you’re suffering from this condition, consult with your doctor.


While smoking does not cause sleep apnea, the risks of snoring are greater when you smoke. This can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which can make breathing difficult at night. Secondhand smoke can also affect your sleeping partner. Besides smoking causing sleep apnea, secondhand smoke is also harmful to others’ health. In infants, exposure to secondhand smoke has been linked to a syndrome known as sudden infant death syndrome.

Acid reflux

If you suffer from GERD or acid reflux, you may be wondering how to sleep with these conditions. One solution may be to sleep on your side. This position relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, which protects the esophagus from reflux. Another option is to eat a light dinner at least three or four hours before bedtime. Aside from the above tips, you can also try sleeping on your right side.

Sleep apnea

A simple noninvasive sleep study can detect the apnea problem. If you have the symptoms, you may want to have it tested. You may be surprised to learn that the sleeping position you choose affects the severity of your sleep apnea symptoms. Avoid sleeping on your back or stomach, which will cause your tongue and soft tissues to relax and fall back into your throat. This will obstruct your airway and force your body to wake up because of the lack of oxygen.


If you suffer from orthopnea, you may be wondering how to sleep with this condition. Many people with this disorder find that lying flat on their backs can lead to a pause in breathing, which can cause coughing and heart palpitations. The good news is that most of the symptoms of orthopnea go away when a person gets up and stands. Although you should not attempt to sleep with this condition while standing, you should consider sleeping on your side if this is an option.