Insomnia Versus Asthma: How One Influences the Other

In addition to having insomnia, I also have asthma. Lately, I have had more issues at night, and this has had a direct impact on my insomnia.

Reacting to waking with shortness of breath

It is not uncommon for people with asthma to wake up with shortness of breath in the middle of the night. Waking up unable to breathe is scary, and once you've had a scare you are wide awake.

Waking up gasping for air means I need to react quickly. It means I have to think and do something. Once my brain is alert enough to react - I'm wide awake.

Asthma inhalers aggravate insomnia

Aside from waking up in a panic and fear keeping you awake, if you use inhalers to treat an acute asthma attack you are going to end up with an adrenaline rush and a racing heart. Even after the fear is gone, I cannot go back to sleep.

I don't like to use rescue inhalers during the daytime because it makes me feel wired and jittery. I certainly don't want to feel that way when I am trying to go back to sleep. It doesn't make it difficult. It makes it impossible to go back to sleep.

Trying different ways to treat asthma

During the daytime, I try to treat milder asthma attacks without using a rescue inhaler. I try to avoid that jittery feeling. It makes me feel bad, and I don't like it. I will try my best to avoid it.

I have discovered that drinking something hot will often relieve the symptoms. This works well during the day, but if I have to get out of bed and make a hot drink I will be wide awake. Having hot coffee or hot chocolate would also keep me awake for even longer.

Struggling to treat asthma without agitating insomnia

I have tried a number of ways to treat an asthma attack in the middle of the night. I have yet to find a way to treat it that doesn't keep me awake. Medications and home remedies keep me alert for hours somtimes.

I have discovered that I can occasionally find relief during mild attacks by doing breathing exercises to increase the length of my exhale. Trying to do this in the middle of the night requires a level of concentration that leaves me wide awake. Even though I don't have the jitters, I am still awake.

Asthma attacks result in added fatigue

Thankfully, I do not have asthma attacks every night. I do take medication every day to try to minimize attacks, and it does a fair job. On the nights when I do have an attack, I know I will get very little sleep. I will be wide awake for hours afterward, and if it is very early in the morning I know I will not be able to go back to sleep at all.

Asthma attacks coupled with insomnia mean I get even less sleep some nights. Trying to function the next day is hard, and sometimes the fatigue is too much for me to be even the least bit productive.

Dealing with asthma and insomnia

Do you have asthma? How does it affect your insomnia? Have you found a way to treat an attack that doesn't keep you awake? I would love to hear about your experience with asthma and insomnia.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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