Hello Guest, Welcome to Apnea Board !
As a guest, you are limited to certain areas of the board and there are some features you can't use.
To post a message, you must create a free account using a valid email address.

or Create an Account

New Posts   Today's Posts

[CPAP] Violent awakenings
Violent awakenings
Hey guys and gals,
So ive had an issue since august 2019 where everytime I drift off to sleep it feels like im getting centrals and my body just isnt breathing.  I jolt awake violently and this happens over and over.  I had sleep study with ahi of 17 and have been on cpap since 11-01-2019 "Phillips Resperonics" . I have been to  sleep dr.'s and all say there is nothing wrong.  My ahi is usually under 5.  Some nights i'll have several of these jolts and wake up immediately for hours and some nights not.  I have studied oscar and noticed hypopneas, reras and ca's during theses episodes.  My machine was set on aflex -3 and I converted over to c flex from 3 down to 1 now with ramp turned off..  Im on autopap mode at the moment as well.  This is the hardest thing I have dealt with and the dr's just don't care or want to help.  They all try to throw pills at me. 
Is there any advice you guys can give for maybe trying different settings or where to turn?  I need sleep!!!

Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
Post Reply Post Reply

Donate to Apnea Board  
RE: Violent awakenings
Hello gmcurt02, and welcome to the forum!

Are your violent awakenings happening just as you are falling asleep?  If so it might be related to something called a "Hypnacogic Jerk" (aka: Hypnic Jerk, Sleep Start, or Myoclonus).  It can manifest in different ways with different people.  Waking up gasping for air like someone was suffocating you, or feeling like you fell off a tall building are two signs I have experienced myself.  But it is usually only while you just feel yourself dozing off, or just fell asleep.
They are scary, but usually harmless.

If you know for sure you have been asleep for a while and are waking up like that, then it is more likely apnea related.  Others here are better at assessing your screenshot so I will defer to their good judgment.

some links to get you started just in case:


Using a 13" MacBook Air (2017), MacOS Catalina (10.15.7), OSCAR v1.2.0
In a VM: Win10 1909 (18363.1256)

Installing OSCAR on a Mac
Organizing your OSCAR charts
Attaching images and files for the forum
OSCAR Data Interpretation
Post Reply Post Reply
RE: Violent awakenings
Been down that road with hypnosis jerks. Tried tons of natural recommended supplements to no change. They always happen on sleep onset and after I drift off it never happens again. I've gotten those dropping feelings but this is like a startle when I feel myself slow down on my breathing. Im hoping I am going through something like that instead of a true central apnea like I feel is happening. Thanks for your reply!!!
Post Reply Post Reply
RE: Violent awakenings
I've experienced that. For me, what has helped has been to raise my min pressure. I bump it up the tiniest bit (.5 cm), and if that doesn't work I bump it up the tiniest bit more (.5 cm). Do that each night until the violent awakening due to not breathing stops - that has done the trick for me.

When I used to use Flex (I don't anymore, because I sleep better without it), I found that if I had too much exhale relief (ie: if the pressure lowered too much when I was breathing out) I would experience this too. So I lowered the number of Flex, and that helped me too.

I'm not an expert. But based off of my experience with those situations, those are the things that helped me.

P.S. It really is deplorable that doctors won't support us when our AHI is near/under 5 AHI. I get that it's an improvement. But if we're still having problems, then we deserve their support. JMHO
Post Reply Post Reply

Donate to Apnea Board  
RE: Violent awakenings
I will give that a go.  I appreciate it very much!!!
Post Reply Post Reply
RE: Violent awakenings
I have the same issue. My O2 levels drop at that sleep onset. I use flex set at 1 - have many people had this and fixed it by turning off the flex / epap?
Post Reply Post Reply
RE: Violent awakenings
I experience something similar, but during sleep - in my case violent arousals that are preceded by disturbing dreams. The dreams seem to be conjured by my brain trying to explain why I'm short of oxygen, so they typically involve exertion, drowning or fear. The data from my Resmed Tormentor Auto shows RERA, I think - not sure - but not clearlyy not associated with apneas.

For a few minutes after these arousals, I have a racing heart and rapid breathing. I haven't yet tied them to something I can address, though possibly they 'might' correlate with periods of high stress.
Post Reply Post Reply

Donate to Apnea Board  
RE: Violent awakenings
Update. I turned my flex down from 3 to 1 and knock on wood havent had anymore in almost two weeks. Hydrangea thank you for your advice!!!!!
Post Reply Post Reply
RE: Violent awakenings
I've been following this thread, and -- wow! Great advice, great results.
Post Reply Post Reply
RE: Violent awakenings
This is great news! I get these exactly as the OP. I had a stuffy nose last night and attempted to fall asleep without my machine. They got significantly worse. I cleared my nose the best I could and was finally able to use the machine and fell asleep quickly. I still get a couple almost every night though. I may try turning down EPR as I have it on 3 right now.
Post Reply Post Reply

Donate to Apnea Board  

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Arousals/Awakenings with CPAP chrisiscitrus 9 379 08-04-2020, 09:24 AM
Last Post: chrisiscitrus
  Violent episodes! bebbles 6 873 10-12-2018, 07:11 PM
Last Post: kilowatt
  Has CPAP helped with nightmares and "harsh awakenings"? Paptillian 12 4,150 04-12-2018, 03:28 PM
Last Post: Hydrangea
Sad frequent awakenings Dreamless 19 4,203 01-18-2018, 09:31 AM
Last Post: Dreamless
  Anxiety and intermittent awakenings taha 28 3,358 09-30-2017, 03:53 PM
Last Post: HalfAsleep
  Definition of "awakenings and arousals" shewhorn 3 1,313 02-20-2016, 08:54 PM
Last Post: Dawei
Question [Pressure] Pressure tics and awakenings, plus the 90% question Ailu 31 7,735 07-25-2015, 06:09 AM
Last Post: quiescence at last

New Posts   Today's Posts

About Apnea Board

Apnea Board is an educational web site designed to empower Sleep Apnea patients.