Waking up gasping for air can be a frightening experience, especially if it has never happened before. In this article, we describe why a person may wake up gasping for air Sleep apnea refers to involuntary pauses in breathing during sleep. They may wake up gasping or feel as if they are suffocating. “It's often accompanied with a bit of a gasp, and you can feel like your heart is racing,” board-certified sleep medicine doctor and neurologist W. Some would argue that you might not actually die in your sleep from of this mechanism, you stand no chance of suffocating in your sleep. Your throat muscles fail to keep the airway open so air can't flow in or out Also, when you sleep the extra weight on the neck can get pushed. However, the same tools we want to help our kids to use in improving their sleep can turn out to be disastrous to the life of your most important treasures. Waking up gasping for air can feel like you're suffocating or as if you can't apnea can cause your breathing to start and stop while you sleep. A blocked airway can lead to a drop in blood oxygen levels, which triggers the brain to arouse you from sleep, so that your airway re-opens, the. If you happen to be a firsthand witness, it can be a little scary to watch someone stop breathing during sleep. What happens if you stop. I don't have a source, but I'm going to say it's highly unlikely. First off, you can probably breath through your blanket. You can test this, put it over. There is an effect at high altitude (above ft) called Cheyne-Stokes which affects you while you're asleep. It is caused by having low CO2 levels in your.