Sleep Apnea |3 min read

Choking in your sleep again? Learn Sleep Apnea’s causes, symptoms & solutions


Clear signs of sleep apnea are choking in your sleep and loud snoring accompanied by daytime fatigue. But don’t be so fast to auto-diagnose, this life-threatening and sometimes invisible ailment! More than your sweet slumber are at stake.


What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when your windpipe collapses briefly, momentarily restricting breathing while you’re asleep.

These pauses in breathing can last 10-20 seconds but may occur hundreds of time, stopping oxygen flow to the brain. The loud gasp or choking sound is often an involuntary reflex of the brain, trying to disturb your sleep just enough to jumpstart breathing.

Imagine being at work today and holding your breath for 10-20 seconds every 5 minutes. Doing this all day long would cause your oxygen levels to plummet and lead to fatigue, grogginess, moodiness, and work inefficiency.

Now imagine holding your breath unconsciously like this every night, for years. It is no wonder why millions of Americans wake up feeling more tired and groggy throughout the day!

The first step to sleeping better at night and feeling more vibrant throughout the day is to recognize the causes, signs, and symptoms of sleep apnea.


More than just choking in your sleep: symptoms and causes of sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is more than just snoring, and people who snore do not necessarily have sleep apnea. The different types of sleep apnea are:

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea. Being the most common type of sleep apnea, this happens when the soft tissue in the back of your throat collapses during sleep and blocks the airway, often resulting in the loud choking or snorting noise.
  2. Central sleep apnea. This type of sleep apnea is not so common and more difficult to identify since people with central sleep apnea rarely snore. This condition involves the central nervous system when the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing.
  3. Complex sleep apnea. This type of sleep apnea is a rare combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.


Some of the major warning signs of sleep apnea are:

  • Loud and chronic snoring almost every night
  • Choking, snorting, or gasping during sleep
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Daytime sleepiness and fatigue, no matter how much time you spend in bed


  • Waking up at night feeling short of breath
  • Uncharacteristic moodiness, irritability, or depression
  • Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
  • Morning headaches
  • Impotence


It can be tough to identify if you have sleep apnea on your own since the major symptoms occur in your sleep. Your bed partner can help track your choking sounds or pauses in breathing, but only a specialist can diagnose the condition and provide a practical solution like the ones Dr. Giesy at the TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Washington.


Make your mornings in bed with your spouse better, get a solution to cnoring and choking in your sleep due to sleep apnea


Find permanent solutions and treatments for Sleep Apnea in Washington

We are one of the few offices in Washington that focuses on sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. In fact, Dr. Giesy was one of the first dentists in the Pacific Northwest with 3 Board Certified Diplomat certifications, with one being Dental Sleep Medicine.

Our internationally recognized sleep apnea therapies are nonsurgical solutions that eliminate the root cause of your symptoms. Plus, we work with primary care doctors, chiropractors, podiatrists, and local sleep labs to help improve your lifestyle. No matter what, we will partner with you to help you get lasting relief.

Are you ready to breathe, sleep, heal, and live again? Call us at 253-752-6630 to schedule a visit to determine if you have sleep apnea and what solution will work for your lifestyle.