Shallow breathing is drawing in of only a nominal amount of air into the lungs, usually by drawing in air into the chest area rather than throughout the lungs. Shallow breathing results rapid breathing. Most people who breathe shallowly do it through the day and are generally oblivious of their condition.
Shallow breathing while sleeping or hypopnea syndrome can have sombre ramifications on your health. When your breathing is shallow, you take in minimal breath into the lungs. Contrasting from deep diaphragmatic breathing, where your lungs fill up with the inhaled air, those who suffer from shallow breathing, the amount of air that is inhaled per breath is very little. Those who take rapid shallow breaths during sleep need prompt medical help.
What Causes Shallow Breathing During Sleep?
Rapid, shallow breathing whilst sleeping certainly leads to troubled sleep. Insufficient sleep affects your body’s capacity to mend damage to cells and tissues. You will feel exhausted and irritated. When you inhale less amount of air, and the lungs do not get filled with adequate air, the resultant scarcity of oxygen will hamper the functioning of the organs and will have very severe consequences on the overall health.
- Asthma: Those who suffer from asthma have rapid shallow breathing. Asthma is an inflammatory disorder triggered by the presence of allergens. Difficulty while breathing, tightness of chest and wheezing are the common symptoms.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is another lung condition that reduces the airflow in your lungs. Given that there is restricted airflow, you are forced to take short, quick breaths of air. This leads to quick chest breathing.
- Pulmonary edema also causes one to experience shallow breathing whilst asleep. When the alveolar sacs in the lungs get congested with fluid, you develop pulmonary edema. It usually occurs due to left sided heart failure. The left atrium of the heart receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it to the left ventricle. From the left ventricle, oxygen rich blood is circulated to all the parts of your body. If the left ventricle fails to pump blood as it should, fluid refluxes back into the left atrium and then into the lungs. Consequently, the lungs get congested, and you will suffer from shallow breathing.
- Pneumonia causes an inflammation of the lungs and triggers breathing difficulty as well.
- Stress is another crucial contributing and causative factor; it impacts one’s breathing and lead rapid breathing.
Natural Remedies For Shallow Breathing
If you have been having breathing problems at night, it is essential that you confer with a health care provider and understand the precise cause. A host of medical conditions may be responsible for causing this condition; hence it is vital that the underlying cause be ascertained and promptly managed.
- Oxygen therapy, use of nebulizers and bronchodilators are advocated.
- Wearing a continuous positive airway pressure mask over the nose or the mouth helps adjust air pressure.
- Steer clear of tobacco and alcohol.
- The most optimal way of treating shallow breathing is to encourage diaphragmatic breathing. You should talk to your health care provider / chest specialist to understand the correct way of breathing. During diaphragmatic breathing, when you inhale, the stomach should move out and when you exhale, the stomach must move inwards. Deep breathing exercises and Pranayama are an essential part of Yoga, and are decidedly beneficial in allaying the symptoms of hypopnea.