Snoring can be both annoying and deadly. But it doesn’t have a monopoly on sleep noises, not by a long shot. Another common utterance which might emanate from your mouth while you doze off is the sleep groan.
The medical name for sleep groaning is catathrenia and it isn’t alone in terms of classification. It is what’s known as a parasomnia, which is defined by the National Sleep Foundation as “things that can happen to people while they sleep, apart from sleep apnea.” Catathrenia is a relatively rare condition according to this study, affecting somewhere between 0.3 to 0.5 percent of the population, but according to Men’s Health, that number is probably higher because the condition tends to be underreported.
Dr. Rajkumar Dasgupta, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, spoke with Men’s Health about why the condition isn’t often recognized. “Many times, it’s a bed partner reporting it, not the person themselves,” he says.
While snoring occurs while someone is inhaling, sleep groaning occurs during exhalation. Dasgupta says that a sleep groan tends to last anywhere from thirty seconds to a minute and can sound just like any other standard groan or a Chewbacca groan. His words. Here are some other weird things that happen to your body when you sleep.
Experts aren’t completely in agreement about what causes the condition, but Dr. DasGupta posits that it might share a source with sleep apnea: craniofacial abnormalities. The structure of one’s face can obstruct air from flowing naturally in exhalation and this can cause the groaning noise.
Now, what does this all mean for your health? Dasgupta says that in most cases sleep groaning is entirely harmless, however, it can lead to non-refreshing or frequently interrupted sleep. The latter sleep issue has been linked Alzheimer’s. So if you think that sleep-groaning is making your evening suffer, be sure to see your doctor, as many of the common treatments (like continuous positive airway pressure [CPAP] devices) for sleep apnea can also help take care of sleep groaning.
[Source: Men’s Health]