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Figuring out what I have (help?)


I contracted COVID for the first time ever two weeks ago. A week ago, I developed a very annoying symptom. As I am falling asleep, my throat closes up (or perhaps my tongue covers my throat—how do I tell the difference?) Sometimes I make a humming sound. Sometimes just a click. It wakes me up.

Each night, I have been taking Nyquil (doxylamine) to help me sleep. Before someone suggests that this is relaxing my throat/tongue and causing the problems, 1) I do not take the stuff when I try to nap during daylight hours, something with which I had no trouble beforehand, and 2) it's the only thing that ensures I get a night's sleep.

According to my wife, I do not snore much. I do tend to wake up a lot in the night. I also have (had?) the ability to power nap at a moment's notice. But aside from enjoying naps, I don't suffer from excessive grogginess.

I am in good shape, BMI of around 24, 49 years old. Interestingly, I did not develop these issues when I had a cold two months ago. I did have something similar five years ago when I was overworking and stressed out, although side sleeping with my chin raised helped that a lot. It does not suffice now, nor does sleeping with my upper half significantly raised (like on a beanbag or a tilted bed) though it might have helped. I irrigate with a neti pot and take ibuprofen before bed as well.

I have not been professionally diagnosed. This just started, and the sequence of primary care to specialist to treatment will probably take a long time. I'd like to be sleeping better now rather than in a month or two.

So questions for people who know:

1) Does this sound like sleep apnea?

2) Is this a symptom of COVID? If so, does it go away?

3) I see reference to throat and tongue exercises as potential solutions. Is there anything besides blowing air up my nose (which I suspect I will not be able to tolerate well) which will help?

Thanks very much.

  1. That's super helpful, thank you. As it turns out, a doctor from Kaiser got back to me and suggested it was inflammation and prescribed Prednisone. I am leery of steroids, so I may just ride things out, but he did suggest the inflammation goes away after a while.

    1. Thank you! I meant to say doxylamine, by the way.

    2. Thanks so much for getting back to us, ! I am glad you kept pushing for answers and figured it out. I hope this new routine is effective and that it eventually resolves. So many strange after-effects from Covid! I hope you never get it again. Wishing you the best. - Lori (Team Member)

  2. Hi . I am glad you have otherwise recovered from COVID. We are not medical experts, but the timing of your issues sure seems suspicious. More and more often, we are reading reports of people who have suffered long-term inflammation after bouts with COVID lasting a year or more. Maybe inflammation is a factor for you.. Unfortunately, the only way to know for certain is to see your doctor and undergo a sleep study. Sleep studies for apnea don't always take long to schedule, especially if your doctor orders a home test. If you are diagnosed and COVID is a potential cause, symtoms might eventually go away. There are options beyond CPAP machines for treatment. Here is an article that describes them: Untreated sleep apnea can lead to stroke and heart disease, so it is important to address it as soon as possible. Another reason to see you doctor is that you might not have sleep apnea at all. This might be a symptom of an entirely different health condition that requires treatment. I wish I had better answers, but I hope this helps. Keep us updated if you don't mind. Wishing you the best. - Lori (Team Member)

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