We thank you for your question about the very rare condition of catathrenia.
Parasomnias are unwanted behaviours or experiences that occur during specific stages of our sleep. Parasomnias can give rise to erratic behaviours, emotions and abnormal movements. Common parasomnias that we may be aware of are night terrors and sleep walking. Some parasomnias are associated with sleep apnoea, psychiatric disorders, shift work and stress. Central sleep apnoea is when our breathing stops and starts during sleep, because the brain is not co-ordinating the muscles that control our breathing. Central sleep apnoea is very different to obstructive sleep apnoea. Central sleep apnoea is associated with other medical conditions such as heart failure and stroke
Catathrenia (nocturnal groaning) is an extremely rare parasomnia and this may explain your difficulty in finding reliable information about its management and treatment. A lot more scientific study is required to establish a successful treatment regime for catathrenia. As you are aware, catathrenia is condition which is characterised by lots of episodes of moaning or groaning when we exhale during our sleep. Catathrenia does not usual impact upon a person’s sleep quality. The main impact of catathrenia is that our sleep partners will not have their own refreshing sleep and this is due to the disturbance caused by loud groaning.
There is some limited evidence from medical research that continuous positive airway pressure devices (CPAP) may help some people. The number of people successfully treated with CPAP for this condition is poor and sometimes surgery has been considered for this condition.
The management of your condition needs to be co-ordinated at a very high level of care and this usually requires a referral to a sleep disorders clinic and appropriate consultants. Typically, people with parasomnias have to manage their condition as best they can without any clinical interventions. Consultants based at a sleep disorder clinic will have greater experience at managing parasomnias such as catathrenia and will suggest the most appropriate intervention for you and this annoying condition.
Answered by the Health at Hand nurses
Sleep apnoea and other sleep disorders - AXA Health
The Sleep Foundation (2020) Parasomnias. (Accesssed 18/03/2021).
NHS (2021) Sleep Apnoea. (Accessed 18/03/2021)
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