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Night Terrors Dreaming Of Swallowing Something, Waking Up Coughing and Screaming

by Anon

Sorry for the long message. It would be great to have an idea of what this seems like. I can't see a doctor about it until I'm back in my main country.

I have in the past year been having night terrors where the dreams (I usually remember the dreams, but not always) have a certain theme. I get these night terrors several times a month. They vary but can be from twice a month to maybe at maximum about 3 times a week. Usually they are less often (such as 2 to 4 times a month). Sometimes they might have also gone to once a month. They seem to become worse when I'm sleep deprived (from exams, work, jet lag, etc) or stressed but they can also occur when I'm not suffering these things. They can also come on from big workouts in which my muscles are sore.

I exercise regularly (including weight training, cycling, long distance walking, etc etc), and very healthy, have a low normal weight (I'm slim but in the normal range), eat a healthy diet, don't smoke and almost never drink alcohol, and am happy most of the time. I'm running my own small business and am a mature graduate student. I live in two countries for the sake of my graduate studies. I have never snored, and my boyfriend tells me he has never noticed me stop breaking in my sleep. I wake up rested. I never have episodes of feeling tired or nodding off in the day. I am seldom stressed, but I am a sensitive person who can worry easily about things at times; however, I do not have an anxiety disorder.

These sleep terrors involve my usually dreaming that I am swallowing something (usually but not always ball-shaped and small, but the smaller terrors can involve swallowing something more flat like a tiny piece of paper). I'll then think I'm about to die that second. I'll then sit up and try to cough it up (in extreme cases I've coughed my throat raw, but usually I don't), and sometimes I'll scream. It takes me a little while to wake up even if someone reassures me that it's a dream. I don't wake up breathless at all, I can breath fine when I wake up; sometimes the thing that actually wakes me is when I realize I'm breathing so I can't be choking to death. I'll find my heart is beating rapidly and I'm breathing heavily but from anxiety, not gasping for air.

Just one of these terrors, maybe half a year ago, involved my getting up
and walking to the foot of my bed, sitting there and then screaming. I remembered getting up and doing that, I could see the room, but I didn't feel awake at the time; everything seemed hazy. That one didn't involve dreaming of swallowing anything. I haven't done other sleep walking so far.

I've never had sleep terrors, sleep paralysis, sleep walking or other sleep disorders before in my life. And there's been no big shock lately. And I've been doing the overseas living and traveling all of my life since babyhood but much more so in the last 10+ years, so that is not causing it I'm sure.

One thing I can think it might connect to is that maybe 15 years ago I had a major and permanent back injury which also caused internal spams in my neck in which it took a while for swallowed food to go down and sometimes I felt I wasn't breathing in enough air. That got better with exercise and physio and the sports med doctor told me that the injury and symptoms have never caused danger to anyone's life but were just uncomfortable. I found at that time that stress could make it worse and it could sometimes cause me to have difficulty in breathing during exams. I found then also that my throat would feel like it was closing if I lay on my back at night, so I'd have to use two pillows. I've not needed to do that since that time. But I wonder if maybe what's happening now is anxiety related and also related to that injury. I don't have an anxiety disorder but I have had anxiety attacks (when I was in my late teens, from a bad experience; they lasted a couple of years but then I managed to deal with them with some techniques without medication). It's possible since I'm a sensitive person that that is causing all of this.

I said I hadn't had a trauma but the episodes are coming a little after a stressful experience I had a couple of years ago. But they didn't come right afterwards. Another thing is that I took a herb called maca just after that time, not very often maybe once a month at the lowest dose. The herb was quite powerful and I tapered it off. But the dreams seem to have come after that, and I found if I took more of the herb I'd get more of them or more strongly. I seldom take it now.

This could be night terrors rather than actual sleep apnea? Need an opinion.

Comments for Night Terrors Dreaming Of Swallowing Something, Waking Up Coughing and Screaming

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Nov 20, 2015
I feel that too NEW
by: Ingrid

Yeah, I know that feel. It doesn't happen often but when it happens it feels like I had swallowed something, mostly paperclips or little metalic things and I wake up trying to induce it back effortless. Then I realize it didn't really happen. Now sometimes I just think about it and that feeling returns for a moment and I can't tell if I had swallowed something or not, until I realize that would be impossible. I start searching about it right now because I just had one of these feelings. I think a dreamt about it last night and now I remembered. Even though, that's really weird. I have no breath problems, only little stomach ones, could be it. But I'm not sure.

Mar 02, 2017
night terrors NEW
by: Jim

I've had choking night terror dreams for about 10 years. It seems the object that I'm choking on is always larger or more in numbers than the last dream. The dreams are always about something that I've come in contact with during the day, eating late evening makes them more violent and more real. Last week the dream was choking on 8 inch plant marker that I used when I started my tomato seeds as I do every year. When I finally woke up I was bent over sitting on the side of the bed coughing, choking and trying to remove the plant marker with my fingers reaching into my throat. When I do get awake I have to tell myself that this is not real, only a dream and trying to slow my heart rate. I'm actually fighting for my life and I'm afraid I'm going to have a heart attack.

Aug 08, 2018
I can relate NEW
by: Anonymous

This has been happening to me for 10 years. Usually I'll wake up thinking I've swallowed something like a bottle cap, a sucker..something like that. Usually takes my husband fully waking me for me to realize I'm not choking. My therapist thinks it's connected to my obsessive compulsive disorder.

Sep 04, 2018
Swallowing dream NEW
by: Mazza 1950

It was so comforting to read this article about night terror dreams! I am 68 years old and my first episode occurred when I was about 16. I have always suffered periods of anxiety and depression but the swallowing dream is rare-in fact it almost disappeared.
The trouble is, it's started happening again all these years later. Several nights recently, I have woken up shouting 'I've swallowed it!' My husband tried to help by asking what I'd swallowed but of course, there wasn't anything physically blocking either my airway or oesophagus. I try to rationalise it, tell myself that it isn't real and nor does it automatically mean that I am descending into depression again (a big fear).

I haven't been sleeping well recently (due to go on a long and much anticipated road-trip in a few weeks) so perhaps that's playing a part.

Anyway, thank for the opportunity to get this down in writing-it has really helped.

Nov 08, 2018
It happens all the time NEW
by: Anonymous

This thread is a tad old but I’ve found it after looking for so long and finding nothing that compares to what I go through. So this is very comforting for me. When I was 9 I was staying the night at my grandmas house and was eating a butterscotch and I started choking on it. I finally screamed so loud and hard it came out. But ever since then my number 1 fear is choking. And very recently I’ve started having these dreams where I’ll have something in my mouth, it varies to what it is, and I’ll feel like I have to swallow and can’t stop it and when I swallow I swallow whatever is in my mouth and I wake up screaming trying to get it out. I’ve never talked to a therapist about this but I guess I should. It’s becoming so bad that when I’m eating I start actually feeling like I can’t swallow so I have to have a drink every time I eat or I will choke. It’s absolutely terrible.

Nov 08, 2018
It’s affecting my life NEW
by: Anonymous

This thread is a tad old but I’ve found it after looking for so long and finding nothing that compares to what I go through. So this is very comforting for me. When I was 9 I was staying the night at my grandmas house and was eating a butterscotch and I started choking on it. I finally screamed so loud and hard it came out. But ever since then my number 1 fear is choking. And very recently I’ve started having these dreams where I’ll have something in my mouth, it varies to what it is, and I’ll feel like I have to swallow and can’t stop it and when I swallow I swallow whatever is in my mouth and I wake up screaming trying to get it out. I’ve never talked to a therapist about this but I guess I should. It’s becoming so bad that when I’m eating I start actually feeling like I can’t swallow so I have to have a drink every time I eat or I will choke. It’s absolutely terrible.

Nov 29, 2018
Chocking NEW
by: Jeff

Have had this for years I've swallowed everything in my sleep bolts nuts dog collars I know it seems strange the earpiece off my glasses didn't that crazy don't know what causes it also have some acid reflux and I wake up sometimes from that but it's the most terrifying thing that you can ever experience you literally jump out of bed stand on your feet shove your hand down your throat and start digging for the object that's just about to go down sometimes it does and you're terrified

Nov 29, 2018
Amazed and HORRIFIED!! NEW
by: Anonymous

My boyfriend just sent me the link and I am absolutely amazed and horrified that this many people suffer from this condition. He has suffered through this for the past 30 years! He dreams that he has swallowed anything and everything from spiked collars, tools, Nuts and Bolts, grass clippings, bottle caps and more then I could ever list. My first question would be has anybody found anything to help slow down or stop these episodes? He suffers from them several times a week and they seem to be getting more and more violent. I worry one night he may seriously hurt himself trying to clear his Airway of what ever he feels and believes is there!
Any advice or suggestions would be very much appreciated!

Dec 05, 2018
Same for me too
by: Patricia Farrah Diggs

Maybe once or twice every other month 2-3 consecutive days I will wake up in the middle of the night feeling something almost making it down my throat but then I immediately sit up and cough it up but then just when I feel it’s about to come out my glands will swallow and it’s too late smh... That’s when I worry about the dangers of swallowing metal and wondering how much pain will I be in once my body realizes it can’t digest metal.... I then wonder after a few moments of freaking out that this is just another episode of the same Realistic dream I keep experiencing (Which, by the way just started about a year ago) Not sure if it’s related to having braces. I’ve had mine a year now

Dec 12, 2018
I honestly thought i was the only one. NEW
by: C

The first time this happend i thought i swallowed a battery or something metal. Tonight i thought i swallowed four small metal objects and this dream seemed extremly real so real that im still not sure if i swallowed something or if it was a dream.

Dec 12, 2018
I honestly thought i was the only one. NEW
by: C

The first time this happend i thought i swallowed a battery or something metal. Tonight i thought i swallowed four small metal objects and this dream seemed extremly real so real that im still not sure if i swallowed something or if it was a dream.

Dec 14, 2018
Choking in sleep NEW
by: Anonymous

So glad i finally found a recent post on this. I have only started having this happen to me for the past 9 months, I've dreamt I have swallowed hair clips, paper clips, poison pills etc it's so bad. I usually wake up when it just slides down my throat and I swallow it and scare myself. If it's not that than I will start spitting on my pillow trying to spit the object out. It's really terrifying and your sort of sitting there in the dark frightened your going to die because of what you just swallowed and then you realise how it's impossible. Not sure if it relates to anything, might just be a sort of sleeping disorder like snoring, sleep walking/talking etc but it's really scary. Happens on and off for me.

Dec 16, 2018
Scary NEW
by: Anne

I’ve have the same issue..

My mother mentioned I used to sit up in bed and look for things, sleep talk etc. But ever since I was 17 I had these on and off.
(I would wake up with adrenaline and heart beating fast thinking iv swallowed a long sharp object, and feel the dread that it’s impossible to get out). It would be weird things like a phone, or straw. But sometimes I can’t remember what it is exactly but I know it’s in there 100%).

There was a time I scratched my tongue until it bled trying to some how get it out? I still do that sometimes but not till I bleed.

In that state you are fully convinced it’s there and after a while you realise it’s impossible because I didn’t put it in my mouth. It’s sooo weird and I’ve been having it more often, iv had it two days in a row now. 😭

It’s so strange honestly lol

Dec 20, 2018
by: Aimee

I've had these terrors for quite sometime now. The only things I've found that help are Xanax(0.5), or my boyfriend holding me super tight when going to sleep. I just woke up from choking on a bean... A couple of nights ago it was two huge sticks! I'm SO happy this forum is here! I thought I was crazy!I wonder if it stems from suppressed feelings from a traumatic event?

Dec 23, 2018
Choking during dream state NEW
by: Francis

I began experiencing this ten years ago and have been unable to shake it off.
I dream I am choking on everything from paper to pens and it’s seriously affected my life.
It began when I decided to take legal action against my childhood abusers in the church. I am a professional middle aged healthy and fit Dad. I have done many years of therapy however I believe the stress and anxiety has caused these choking events.
My wife believes it’s a body memory of swallowing you know what 😕 but I believe it’s about finding my voice to tell my story. I am scared and feel very vulnerable.
Neither My doctor nor my therapist have been able to help with this so I am actively trying to find a way through.
These choking events mostly happen within the first hour of sleep. I believe that it could be a way of my psyche communicating. We all suppress stuff but sometimes maybe we should think twice about killing our voice.
I intuitively feel its soul related. Would like to know if anyone else feels that too?
I don’t believe it’s solvable with a tablet.
Thank you to everyone who has shared it’s helped lighten the load.

Dec 24, 2018
Me too NEW
by: Anonymous

Me too.. i am waking 2 or 3 times a month thinking that i have swallowed items. It doea occur it times of stress but i wake up screaming, coughing and even spitting into my bed. The othernight i convinced myself i had swallowed my new pet rats and made my partner check they were both there in the cage.
As much as i can tell myself its ok after minutea of gagging.. i am quite distressed by it all and it really scares my partner.
Has anyone workes out a way to prevent it from happening?

Dec 26, 2018
Same here
by: Anonymous

Ive had this a few years too, always wake up in a panic thinking ive swallowed a pool/golf ball. I do have sleep apnea and sleep with a mask to keep my air ways open so always thought ot was part of that, i wake up just as i swallow then panic thinking the ball is going to get stuck and end up ripping the mask off.

Jan 03, 2019
Me too NEW
by: Anonymous

I’ve also had the same- since I was 18, I’m now 38. I use to crawl on 4’s to the bathroom with my fingers down my throat trying to get whatever it was out. This I did while sleepwalking. Just last night, I had another where my boyfriend in my dream tells me that I swallowed a sharp object and if I don’t get it out, it will shred my insides. I woke up with my throat feeling numb and as if there truly was something in my throat. I was told before to go see a Shaman or a medicine doctor, but I haven’t as of yet.

Jan 07, 2019
by: Anonymous

I’m so glad to find this feed of people that suffer from the same thing! I’ve been waking up choking out of my sleep for the last 15 years. I’ve woke up thinking I’ve swallowed rocks, keychains, credit cards (to name a few) , and when I sleep with earplugs, i dream I swallow them too. The other night I woke up thinking i was choking on an ear plug and after coughing and trying to get it out, I was like screw it and was like I’ll jsust swallow it ( obviously nothing was there, and I was half asleep)
Anyone have solutions? Is it anxiety?? This is crazy there are so many of us that go through this!

Jan 09, 2019
Same problems!
by: Anonymous

I have had these same problems for about 3 or 4 years now! I have anxiety disorder and take medicine for it, but it's been really bothering me lately. Last night I woke up thinking I swallowed something sharp and I was spitting and gagging myself to get it out. I finally, after 5 minutes, started to wake up, but it still felt so real. I swallowed and it felt like something went down my throat (it didnt) but my gosh it seems so real! I've been wondering if I should go back to counseling or something! I'm glad I'm not the only one, however, not glad we all have this issue! It's not fun at all and super scary when hapit's happening! If anyone has any answers let me know! I might try taking my ativan again a half hour before bed to see if that helps! 💜

Jan 15, 2019
It is not night terrors
by: Anonymous

I had this for a year only to find out I was not breathing. Sleep study showed I stopped breathing 27 times an hour. Once I got my CPAP machine, the nightmare of chocking stopped.

Jan 20, 2019
Wonderful to know I'm not the only one!!!!!
by: Mic

OMG, how relieved I am to see that I am not the only one going through this!

I dont remember when it started but for YEARS I have been dreaming that I swallow things in my sleep.
Mostly buttons or my labret jewelry, sometimes batteries and bolts, but the other day I dreamt that I swallowed one of my JBL Bluetooth ear buds and was terrified!

I "woke up" (whether i was really awake of half asleep, i dont know) and tried to hack it up but it felt too far down to get back up so I was like F it, and just swallowed until it went all the way down.
I remember that I absolutely could not find the other one and was searching the bed and the floor for it and couldnt find it anywhere!!

I was lying there just thinking if i actually really did swallow it and was in such disbelief that I could get something that big down my throat.
I actually took the other one that was still in my ear and put it slightly in lips a little bit and thought there was absolutely no way I could have swallowed that without choking to death on it.

I was at work all day wondering if this thing was in my belly and how bad it would be for me and wondered if I was going to die later that day!
It's a terrible feeling!

I got home and put on the shorts that I use to sleep in and was relieved to see that the other ear bud was in the pocket!!!!

Sometimes I wonder if I have that disease called Pica, but not so sure because why would that only happen at night when sleeping.
Plus I dont CRAVE these things that I supposedly swallow so then I think it isnt that, but i wonder if this and that are kind of related.

I feel a little bit better about the whole terrifying experience.

Jan 23, 2019
How to prevent? NEW
by: Anonymous

Any ideas on how to stop this problem? Often dream of swollowing something amd i thought it was night terrors. CBT helped briefly in the past.

Jan 29, 2019
by: Anonymous

While I’m sorry there’s so many others that are suffering from this disorder, I’m also glad to hear that I’m not the only one. I really hope to find out if there is a cure or if anyone has any remedies that have worked for them to reduce?

Jan 30, 2019
Me too! NEW
by: Nikkie

I sometimes wake up multiple times a night thinking I've swallowed ridiculous things like my keys, my phone, my vape. Things that I could never actually swallow in real life. Sometimes it's smaller objects such as coins and I wake up feeling like it's in my throat and I panic and try to get it out.

Feb 23, 2019
Sleep apnea? NEW
by: Anonymous

Obviously I'm here for the same reason. I've had these dreams for years and been wondering if they might be a sign of sleep apnea - I'm happy to read one other person on this thread found it was, and wonder if any others have had it tested? My oximeter readings were consistent with it apparently, so I'm hopeful as I also consistently wake up feeling awful and need a fix!!

Mar 06, 2019
Here's an article related to this string: NEW
by: GNL

This article from the National Institutes of Health validates these episodes. It doesn't provide a treatment (as it's likely complex), but shows that research has been documented on this issue.

Mar 11, 2019
Recurring Dream of Swallowing Poison NEW
by: Annie

These dreams started last October. At first they were nightly, then they became sporadic. The intensity varies. I usually wake in a panic just at the moment I'm about to swallow poison, and then when I swallow, I feel a lump in my throat like I just swallowed something like a pill. Sometimes I sit bolt upright in terror. Most times, it just freaks me out enough that I lose 2-3 hours of sleep. I have never screamed, but panic and fear are common. Sometimes if I've really exerted myself, I'm so tired that I sleep through the night without having this dream, so I've wondered if my body is saying to get more exercise. I am overweight. More recently, the past few days, I've had this dream 3-4 times a night. It's so hard to go back to sleep. I feel exhausted. I would love to figure out a remedy.

Apr 14, 2019
Glad I'm not the only one! NEW
by: JS

I have experienced this same thing for about 20 yrs. It happens several times a month, usually within the first hour of sleeping, and I've "swallowed" everything from medicine, batteries, ice cubes, and spoons to radios, drinking glasses, and a stairwell bannister. When I sit bolt upright in terror, the "object" often gets forced down my throat. Sometimes I feel like it goes from my throat into my ears as well. At times I've nearly called 911 or have run into the bathroom to try to spit out or throw up whatever I think I swallowed. I usually figure out it's a dream after several seconds, but not before my heart is pounding and I'm shaking.

I asked my doctor about it and he suggested it could be fluid (presumably post nasal drip?) going down the back of my throat. This then gets incorporated into a swallowing dream. Anyone else think this might be what's happening to them?

I've also noticed lately that now in real life when I see a small object (like a paperclip), I often have a thought of swallowing it. I have NO desire to do this, but the thought just comes into my head uninvited. I really think it is the result of having had these dreams for so many years. Anyone else have this experience?

May 15, 2019
Anxiety? NEW
by: Anonymous

I have been having these problems for about 5 years now and have swallowed everything from the tv remotes to wall tiles!
Sometimes I wake with a gasp just as the object goes down my throat. My heart races and I dare not swallow in case it goes down further. The feeling is real in my throat as if it’s blocked and after a while once I realise where I am and could not have possibly swallowed anything I sip water to ease the feeling. Occasionally my throat still feels tight and closed and there have been many occasions when I have found myself in the bathroom looking down my throat or sticking my fingers down it until I realise it can’t be true. Or wake up properly maybe!
I think it’s linked to anxiety. I dread going to bed!
I have also noticed it usually happens within an hour of going to sleep.

May 26, 2019
Dealing with the same thing!
by: Alicia

Wow I can’t believe how many of you are experiencing this same thing! It’s been happening for a couple of years now. I’ll wake up feeling like something is in my throat or I’m choking on an object and I’ll start coughing like crazy trying not to swallow it. Either I’ll give up and just go ahead and "swallow" the object or I’ll keep coughing until I come to and realize it was all in my head. It’s all terrifying. I wonder if it is linked to anxiety? I have dealt with it most of my life and I usually feel most anxious before bed. Nice to know I’m not alone but sorry to hear you all are going through it too.

Jun 10, 2019
Waking up choking NEW
by: Anonymous

I woke up in an absolute panick an hour ago feeling as if I had swallowed something and was convinced I could not breathe until I swallowed whatever it was. I recall waking up on my right side at the time. I had my retainer in which freaked me out even more as I first thought I was swallowing this. Luckily I had water on my night stand and gulped this down. I still have a weird feeling in my throat and top of my stomach which leaves me to think that perhaps it did have something to do with acid reflux as mentioned in previous messages posted, as I ate quite a bit before bed time. I took a calming tablet after the incident as my nerves were shot and the more I kept thinking about it I found the tightness in my throat coming back. I am stressed at work currently and find anxiety creeps in which definitely kicked in after this incident. A few messages on this thread mentioned acid reflux and anxiety.

Jun 14, 2019
Glad O found this Thread.
by: Elizabeth.

I have also been dealing with this for a number of years, last night 13/6/2019 I had another episode, this time it was a pocket watch that I swallowed whole, of course woke me up gasping for Air..
It varies on how often it happens, sometime a few times a week some times only once per month. And if I am lucky I can go a couple years f months with no episodes.I am going to make an appointment with my GP to see if I can get into a sleep study/ testing for sleep apnea.
I am starting to document dates and times of the occurrences, and if I remember what it was I swallowed. Thank you again and I will bookmark this Article for any updates.

Jun 18, 2019
I thought I was the only one NEW
by: Steve

I’m blown away by how many ppl have experienced this. I’ve had this for about 15 yrs and I’m 44. Every time it happens, I didn’t actually swallow anything, but it is always in the back of my throat. I’m terrified to swallow so I try to cough it up, thinking I will surely die if I swallow. It’s been anything from golf balls, bolts, razor blades, paper clips, bottle caps, nails, etc. It seems like it takes me forever to realize it’s not real. Sometimes I cough for so long my throat is raw. Is there some kind of cure for this? I wouldn’t even know where to start. I still can’t believe this happens to so many ppl. Going to sleep can be nerve racking. I hate it.

Jun 28, 2019
I’m so glad I found this.
by: Rob

Wow! I am 49 years old and I have had these dreams since I was 11. The first time it happened I dreamed I swallowed a brick. How bizarre? When I was a kid the objects were always bizarre, a bus, a spring, fireworks. Throughout my adult hood it’s been objects like a pacifier, rocks or food. I haven’t had the dreams in a while but tonight I had the worse one ever in terms of panic. I usually sit up in bed and utter the words oh no, but generally come to my senses. tonight I dreamed that I was choking and I jumped up in a full panic and raced around the room. I came to after turning the light on. My legs felt like rubber and my body was spent from the adrenaline rush. I wasn’t able to go back to sleep and my mind was being flooded with the thought that I’m crazy. I searched the web for info and stumbled across this post. I don’t wish this on anyone but it is comforting to know that I am not alone.

Jul 01, 2019
Swallowing Dreams/Halucinations
by: John

Thank you. You described me exactly. I have lived with this horrible condition for over 20 years now. It cost me 2 relationships because no one wants to deal with this. The doctors just want to medicate me heavily with anxiety drugs like Lexipro which help but destroy any chance of intimacy. I live on very little sleep and horrible anxiety dreams. It sucks.

Jul 09, 2019
I also have this dream! NEW
by: Anonymous

I also frequently have this dream! In the dream I realise I have something stuck in my throat (things such as pen lids, coins, jewellery, and even my mobile phone) and try desperately to cough it up. In the past I’ve slept with a mouth guard in due to having jaw problems and have often dreamt I’ve swallowed the mouth guard,. Whatever the object is, I always end up swallowing it and choking, it’s at this point I wake up coughing and spluttering. The dream is so realistic that my throat actually feels like there’s something in it when I wake up and it takes me a few seconds to realise it was just a dream. The past few times I’ve had this dream I’ve looked at the clock and seen that I haven’t been asleep for too long, so it seems to happen quite early on in the night. The panic and distress it causes is horrific and it takes a while for me to fall back to sleep! I also suffer from acid reflux so it would be interesting to see if the two are linked!

Jul 11, 2019
Children? NEW
by: Anonymous

Hi - my 6 year old has had this occur several times now - she wakes up thinking she's swallowed a wood chip, or a golf ball, and is terrified.

Would love some advice or pointers - thank you so much!

Jul 13, 2019
Same here
by: Whirlygirl

I‘m glad to see that I am not alone. I’m 40, and since my mid-20s, I dream that I swallow odd things - mostly needles or spoons, but recently it have been iphones. Don’t ask. I wake up with the feeling that I have something stuck in my throat, and sometimes I just lean out of bed and try to throw up, sometimes I run to the bathroom. I’ve never actually induced vomiting though, I seem to wake up enough in time.

Anyway, the most common explanation seems to be that you’re subconsciously trying to hide something that keeps coming back.

However, I once read that there might be a physical reason: the dreamer reaches deep sleep where his/her muscles relax completely. That includes throat and tongue muscles, and the tongue slips back into the throat until it evokes a reflex, caused either by cutting off oxygen or the feeling of an foreign object (tongue) in the throat. For this theory speaks that I only have those weird dreams when I sleep on my back, but not when I sleep on the side. Has anyone else ever heard about this?

Aug 03, 2019
Same NEW
by: EC

I can't believe other people also experience the same thing. I woke up this morning thinking I swallowed a metal fork and how would I digested it. I have also woke up trying to cough up batteries, paperclips and even the alarm clock next to the bed. Why most of the time is it metal objects? I have done past life regression, I was strangled in one life, beheaded in another. Past life memories, who knows. I don't like anything around my neck, even a necklace.

Aug 05, 2019
Another One Here
by: ElGee

Funny, but horrifying list of things I’ve "swallowed":
1) Our CAT
2) Compact umbrella in its bag
3) Floor lamp

Of course, I’ve had the clips, pins, screws, quarters, dreams, too.

Like many of you, I’ve woken up and attempted to claw out whatever it is I thought was in my throat.

My husband was very frightened when he first experienced my unusual sleep terrors. Now, he converses with me and tries to get me to lie down. Trouble is, I argue with him in my dream state hat I swallowed the thing!

Aug 07, 2019
Happened to me last night
by: brundon

While sleeping with my wife , I woke up thinking something small and plastic fell in my mouth. I stayed up coughing and nothing came out.

Today I had been feeling an itchy sharp sensation in throat behind Adam’s apple.

I think I had it from coughing to hard last night but wow I thought I was the only one lol. 2 years ago when I was 19 , I really thought I swallowed a Jar or tac’s 😂😂🙂

I’m not alone !!😀:~D

Aug 21, 2019
here we all are! me too! NEW
by: Anonymous

I started sleep walking and talking at age 4. Everyone thought I would outgrow these childhood sleep disorders, but at age 40. They are all still here. But, as the sleep walking has decreased the night terrors such as swallowing and waking up trying to get random objects out has increased. Along with more lucid dreams which makes me question which reality is actually real some days.

I've never done a sleep study, I'm healthy, take care of my family and no idea why this happens. In addition, I'm a twin, and my twin never had any of these symptoms when we were children like I did. And to my knowledge nothing as an adult. Makes me wonder if all this is simply genetic.

I've tried to link the episodes to different stressful parts of my life, but they rarely line up to create a pattern. The episodes are completely random as far as I can tell. But, to all those also having these experiences, you're not alone. It can be frightening, but after having so many different sleep disorders most of my life ( walking, talking, terrors, and lucid dreams ) I've learned to accept this as who I am and try not to dwell on them too much.

I have spent days questioning why, and what this means; which just creates worry and panic. I just wake up and "just keep swimming, just keep swimming" Quoted from Dory in the Disney NEMO movie. So, just keep swimming ya'll. And you're not crazy, and you're not the only one.

Sep 12, 2019
My cause - Bad Reflux (GERD) NEW
by: NW

*Note - I don't experience daytime reflux or heartburn, so don't rule this out immediately just because you don't have heartburn.

Same thing for me. I wake up choking and think I've swallowed something foreign based on what I was dreaming about, often metallic (nail clippers, bottle caps, etc.). In a panic, I cough and jam my fingers into my throat and trying to remove it. Not fun!

I was diagnosed with GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). I was prescribed Omeprazole (Prilosec) and while taking it the issue seemed to go away completely.

I've been trying to get off of Omeprazole so I switched to Ranitidine (Zantac); however, it does not work as well and the issue returned.

I believe the underlying cause for me is a "lazy" lower esophageal sphincter. This is what prevents stomach acid/contents from moving back up the throat. While laying down, stomach acid makes it's way up my throat, my body feels it even though I'm asleep, and in my dream it becomes an object in my throat. I then wake up in a panic.

It's much more common when I have alcohol or nicotine (I quit!) in the evenings. These are both GERD triggers that relax the lower esophageal sphincter. Eating close to bedtime is also a no-no.

Hope this helps some of you, though I'm sure it's not the solution for all. Good luck!

Sep 13, 2019
Not alone
by: Anonymous

I have been dealing with this same dream since
I was 13 or 14 years old I'm now 21! It's always different things that I'm swallowing but when it happens I halfway wake up and go to the bathroom to dry heave or throw up to try to get it out, there have been times that I would immediately wake up and start to panic and dry heave on the floor to get it out. After that happens I usually fully wake up. The dream is always so vivid and feels so real. I really thought I was the only one who went through this! I felt like I was weird or something . I'm sorry that you all have to suffer from it too, but I'm glad to know I'm not alone

Sep 21, 2019
Happens to me too!
by: Jen

I have dreams like these probably 2-3 times a year. Sometimes I remember the dreams, sometimes I don't. Just last night I sat up out of a dead sleep and started coughing, claiming that I had just swallowed a ring and a necklace. My husband told me about it this morning and I had only a vague recollection of it. The time before that it happened I thought I had swallowed 2 buttons, and I remember it vividly. It feels so real when it happens, like I can actually feel something in my throat. I thought maybe it was because, when I was a child, I'd sometimes actually swallow small buttons or coins on purpose. I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. I don't know though. It's really a weird and interesting thing, and it's a bit of a relief to see that I'm not the only one this happens to.

Oct 03, 2019
I'm not the only one! NEW
by: Cheshire

It's currently October 2019 and I've only just discovered this forum?! This is insane! I'm 27 and have been having choking dreams for the past 10 years, last night I dreamt it was a large marble and I woke up, leaning forward to cough it out! I've dreamt I was choking on lightbulbs, handle bars, anything! I often wake up and get out of bed to "save" myself if you will! The thing is at this point I'm half awake so my reasoning kicks in.

I've told my siblings about this and they think it's something psychological which makes sense. My upbringing was very strict and religious and I battle a lot with that in my every day life so I think it's related. But I'm so glad I'm not the only one! I don't feel like too much of a weirdo anymore!

Oct 10, 2019
All forms for me NEW
by: Mark W

I have had night terrors in all forms growing up, but i never bothered to look up the swallowing one until now... basically, i feel like i am swallowing something important, like a key, and i wake up trying to cough it back out - takes me a few seconds before i realise it's nothing (thought maybe a bug?) Sorry to hear people scream, etc... sometimes i wake up and my heart is pounding and i can't remember if i was paralysed, or the room was moving, or someone is in the room standing in the corner. Sometimes i think my arms are dead and if i move the wrong way I'll dislocate my shoulders. Creepy. Just remember it is not real, it's not every day, and it's okay to be scared - you'll be fine in the morning :)

Nov 21, 2019
Same here NEW
by: Janice

I have been doing this for years since the 1980's. I swallow and choke on jewelry, bolts, screws, rings, anything metallic etc. Last night was a new item. I dreamed I swallowed ear plugs. I do this 5-7 nights a week. It is the worst ever in all the years. I go back to sleep and and coke again. I am retired so I don't have any stress. I never told my doctor I do this but my sister thinks at my next visit I should discuss this with him because she feels I am really choking in my sleep..So I will.

Nov 26, 2019
Me too!!! NEW
by: theCreativeGuy

I thought I was the only one who was going through this. I wake up from sleep seeing a dream about me swallowing something. It was a pen at the earlier days. Now it has advanced to go pro mounts and some metallic objects!! So what I am going to figure out is that you are not the only one. Don't worry, have a great sleep. Wish I don't die out of a heart attack seeing this horrible dreams. ;)

Dec 06, 2019
Same Dreams NEW
by: High rise

In the same boat as everyone. Mid 20’s healthy physically and mentally I think, and it’s comforting knowing I’m not alone. Have always been a sleep walker and talker since a very young age but in the recent year it has turned into violent swallowing fits. Waking up choking on something sometimes to the point of shoving my fingers down my throat to get it out, and damaging my throat for no reason, spitting out, trying to gag and throw up. Usually smaller objects are imagined like coins, tacs, and food but it always ends up being nothing. For example, been on a Toy story binge since Disney streaming started and last nights episode I was convinced I choked on and swallowed on the little green plastic soldier. The episodes are very random and can’t be tied to any one event or moments of stress or exhaustion. Hope this also provides comfort to someone else.

Dec 06, 2019
I think it is GERD or NERD! NEW
by: Anonymous

Ok after following this forum and seeing a fellow sleep choker being diagnosed with nighttime GERD, I decided to see my GP and get reflux medication for night time. I don not have reflux in the day and had not considered it as a cause. But after thinking about the sensation caused when having an episode, it seemed to be worth a shot. Day 4 on medication and I haven’t had a choking dream episode! I will let you know what happens once my 2 week trial is up! But feeling excited.

Dec 08, 2019
Keeley benson NEW
by: Keeley

Hi iv just woken up and come straight to this site as it always seems to calm me down and make me realise it isn't really. Now most of my life (I'm 26) iv suffered from anxiety now when I was younger I had choked and always been worried since about choking even with my kids, it literally takes over my life. Now in 2010 when I was pregnant I started getting this weird feeling like I could get enough air in my lungs witch use to scare the life out of me anyway once I'd given birth to my first son one morning I woke up and I just literally could not swallow anything big in food wise at all it just would not go down now I suffered like that for nearly 2ywar I would only eat soup and use to get scared incase it got to point that I could swallow anything at all. Now in 2011 I started having these night terrors when I dream iv put something in my mouth and by time I know it ic swallowed it and all I remember is jumping out of bed and panicking just like I did tonight, my heart races, I try bring back up what iv swolled and it takes me ages to come around and it still feels like there's something there in my throat that I need to bring up until iv woken properly. It's the most scariest thing ever now they stopped for a while but then just return out of the blue and I hate it. Sometimes it would happan a few nights running and I would get ti point I was scared to fo to sleep. My choking obsession is bad it's taking over my life and I literally felt I was the only "weirdo" I felt about this and felt I was the only one. I wish we could get something to take it away as it literally frightens me to death and been a single mum to 4 and been on my own makes it worse. It makes me shake, my heart races and I panic. Sorry for the long comment but theres so much I'd love to say but can only out so much. I'm thinking if actually going to a doctor now I feel like I need help with this as iv been fighting this horrible battle doe a very long time now and iv had enough now

Jan 07, 2020
It's nighttime acid reflux! (GERD) NEW
by: Anonymous

Thank you to the previous posts mentioning GERD and nighttime acid reflux. You are a lifesaver! I originally thought it was purely psychological, but after reading this thread I went to my doctor and he recommended I try a PPI acid reducer (think nexium, prilosec, etc.). He said stomach acid is coming up my throat while I sleep and that leads to a sensation of choking. The dreams of something in the throat is caused by something actually in your throat (stomach acid!). The mind plays a trick and makes you think it's some crazy object.

I used to wake up choking 2 to 3 times a week and since I've been on nexium for 2 months I've only had 2 total episodes! And both were nights when I was up late eating food right before bed.

Definitely look into this if you are experiencing a lot of nighttime choking episodes. Acid in the throat can be very damaging over time!

Jan 31, 2020
by: Maria

Like everyone else I'm glad I found this forum. It happens on occasion with me. Everytime it happens I feel like I swallow a piece of wood. Like the hard ware kind. This time around it felt like a wooden ball. When it happened I felt like I was choking and I stopped breathing. I couldn't catch my breath. I felt like my heart was going to explode from the sheer panic. I remember my husband tried to calm me but I calmed myself and fell back asleep. This only happens once in a blue moon and I can't think of any correlation. Also I am empathic and intuitive....I had seen someone in a prior post make mention of that so who knows being like that is related.

Feb 17, 2020
It is freaking me out
by: Anonymous

I've just woke up because I thought there was something blocking my airway, possibly chewing gum? I actually had to have some water to try and wash it down. But, then realized I haven't swallowed anything, what freaks me out is I feel like there is something stuck in my throat!

Apr 05, 2020
Wake up to Choking sensation NEW
by: Anonymous

I’m so glad I found this forum. I woke up last night feeling the same sensation as described and I was terrified. I woke up believing I had inhaled the zipper on my pillowcase. The zipper was still there so I was afraid it was my chapstick or something else. I felt a big lump in my throat and I was scared to cough it up because I thought it might be too deep and block my airway if I moved it up and I was afraid to swallow as well for fear of chocking or making it worse. I drank some water and it felt like it went down further in my throat but was still stuck. I was afraid to go back to sleep for fear of dying in my sleep. I’m so glad I found this thread in that hour and was able to go back to sleep. It was so scary. I just now woke up and feel fine. I’ve been staying at my parents house for corona quarantine and i think this might be stress related from everything going on and butting heads with my family at times.

Apr 13, 2020
Is There a Club for This? NEW
by: Anonymous

I have always had sleep episodes. Sleep walking, talking, etc. I am 60 years old and for about 10 years or so, these scary choking/swallowing dreams started. Two nights ago I dreamt I choked then swallowed a pill that would give me Covid-19! I swallowed in my dream and then screamed and tried to cough it up. It took forever for my husband to calm me down. My throat is still hoarse. He thinks I have a obstructed airway. I think it is stress.

Apr 13, 2020
Happens to me NEW
by: Sleepless in MDpire

I am amazed to find out that I am not alone in this. It usually happens once a month. In my dream I am about to swallow a coin sized object and I know if I do I will choke but can't stop myself. I wake up sitting up and screaming. I know I haven't really swallowed anything but my husband needs to reassure me that I am alright. Last night it happened twice! I have read that this can be interpreted as holding things in, not fully talking about issues that might be bothering you. I am not in therapy, had lots years ago but THIS was never a problem. This started within last 5years, I guess. But, I do know that I have difficulty stating when something is bothering me; having difficult conversations; not feeling appreciated. I just know it is such a scary dream. Each time I tell myself start being more honest when something upsets me. I will try to do better.

Apr 19, 2020
Me too
by: Anonymous

ME TOO!! My nightmares like this started after I had kids. I regularly dream I swallowed something I shouldn't have and wake up violently choking, gagging and reaching my fingers down my throat trying to get it out. My husband says it looks like I'm possessed. It happens less frequently in my own bed, but almost every time I fall asleep in my kids' beds, I wake up to a choking episode. It's seriously the STRANGEST thing. Usually I just sit up in bed, but the other night I woke up, turned the light on, and screamed that we had to go to the hospital. It took a minute for my husband to convince me that i was dreaming because it was so real. I've also read this is caused from holding feelings/emotions in... but that's not me. I don't sugar coat and I'm a very blunt person. Mine seems to be tied to my kids somehow. I wish someone could give me a magic answer.

Apr 22, 2020
Wow, I’m not alone NEW
by: Chrissy

For several years I’ve experienced waking up feeling like I’ve swallowed something too big and then on waking I have to drink copious amounts of water to flush it down. It’s frightening and ridiculous at the same time as once I’m awake I realise that I haven’t swallowed anything. Reaching a point where I am having difficulty sleeping. My husband knows about these bizarre episodes but I’ve never told anyone else for fear I’d be looked at as being crazy but this thread gives me hope that there are others out there who know what it’s like. Interesting that at this moment after waking from one of these episodes, I now feel maybe some heartburn so I’ll look into the idea of reflux as well. Thanks everyone for sharing your stories.

Apr 27, 2020
I spit so that I won’t have to swallow NEW
by: Canman

Hi and thanks for sharing, everyone!

I have almost the same thing, all though not as frightening as waking up thinking I’m about to die, as some of you describe.
I would say my dreams also include the fear of dying, but usually I just sit up, spit and go back to sleep. I can always remember where I spit, and I’m usually awake enough to find a suitable place. For instance I’ve been sleeping on a mattress in my kid’s room, and there I’ve been spitting on the floor play mat. Easier to clean it up in the morning, than from the floor. Still disgusting though.
Sometimes I do swallow, and that usually wakes me up because I’m scared I might get hurt.

I don’t know what I’m afraid of swallowing, only that it is harmful or lethal.

I sometimes get existential when I go to sleep, thinking about how we’re finite and mortal, and how the universe is eternal, and so on. I don’t chose to, it just happen. And it usually scares me. I think I dream of swallowing (and spitting) more when I have these existential thoughts.

May 03, 2020
I’m not the only one
by: Night swallows

This has been happening to me most of my life. It scares me to death and though she’s used to it, it’s upsetting to my wife. I end up creating a scene sitting up in bed until I run to the bathroom and try to remove what is in there. Slowly I realize there’s nothing there. I thought it might be because I’m mouth breathing and the wind pipe sticks together from dryness, but it sounds like acid reflux.

May 20, 2020
Dream I’ve Swallowed Something NEW
by: Timmy KC

There is some comfort in knowing I’m not alone. Though I curious what it’s all about. I haven’t had the dream in a longtime. I would say ever since my divorce I’ve stopped having the dream. The only thing I can say is different between that time and now is that I am living more openly and honestly now. I feel more free now. I’ve done a lot of emotional healing work. Anyway, who knows! Peace to you all!

Jun 11, 2020
Sleep choking #metoo
by: Anonymous

It’s comforting to find others with this problem. I’ve been waking up choking on a random object for as long as I can remember. My most recent episode I was choking on a doll but I’ve choked on so many random objects in my lifetime including lamps, balls and even my own daughter :-(

I feel that this gets worse as I get older and now I choke every night BUT it’s not always an object. Choking on an object is probably two or three times a week. Other times, I’m just waking up choking. As others have said, its usually in the first hour of sleep. I have been sleeping on my back recently and I think the choking is worse.

My suspicion was that it could be post nasal drip leaking down the back of the throat causing this. Perhaps it could be GERD or even sleep apnea. Maybe its a different cause for each of us? As it seems so many people suffer with the problem, I don’t think its psychological.

Jul 11, 2020
1st time Choking Dream
by: Anonymous

Glad I found this. This just happened to me about 20 minutes and due to my aggressive anxiety I immediately started searching. I had been sleeping for about 3 hours and I had a dream that I had a credit card stuck in my throat. I would try to reach down to grab it but would only push it down farther. This caused me to wake up instantly feeling like my air way was completely closed until I swallowed. I’ve never felt my heart beat so hard in my entire life.... Now I have a heaviness in my chest and can’t fall back asleep. This is the first occurrence for me.

Jul 18, 2020
by: Anonymous

So relieved that there are more people like me! Although I constantly worry I am suffering from rem sleep disorder or sleep apnea. I have been choking for years now and wake up with my fingers down my throat trying to retrieve whatever I have swallowed! I even jump out of bed and try to get help!

Jul 20, 2020
Same.. NEW
by: Anonymous

noticed the same thing recently, only on weekends. Narrowed it down to alcohol and nicotene consumption. probaby nicotene as i just started to dip more. Now I'll stop.

Aug 26, 2020
!!! NEW
by: :s

Iv had this thing where I wake up thinking I swallowed something like a sharp pin or lid etc on and off now for a while (Iv posted 2 years ago about this on this very thread!)

But yesterday it was the worst and hope no one else experiences it.

I woke up in front of a mirror last week which was strange so I realised I sleepwalk.
Then a few days after I woke up sitting next to my bed!
Then I actually had the sensation of swallowing something like the sensation of swallowing a tablet without water.
Immediatly I thought no, no, no dont tell me I just put something random in my mouth and swallowed it while sleepwalking. That moment I was conscious and aware that I was sitting etc By that time I felt it was too late, and the feeling of knowing foreign material is in your stomache is horrible.

So my body started shaking quite violently like I had a full blown panic attack; so much adrenaline because of confusion. Knowing that you are not aware of what you are doing feels terrible like youre decaying to a state of delerium so that was heartbreaking of itself.

It felt like a nightmare turning into reality. Especially after I had the taste of blood in my mouth! I spit on my hand and see blood, I look in the mirror and there is a cut on my tongue but far back. I was convinced I swallowed a pin or something sharp I still dont know what happened but then I drank water and tried to vomit to get that out.. but then I googled its not good to do that if you think you swallowed something. I was getting ready for hospital to get an xray but went to sleep at my mums house instead and thankfully no pains or anything...

Im just going to make sure there are no objects accessible near the bed and do a lot of praying I even had a freddy kruger dream before which I find amusing now

Sep 06, 2020
Night terrors of swallowing objects
by: Anonymous

OhhMyy! Thank goodness for this page. I have had several of these occurrences ! It’s the scariest feeling ever! Does alcohol and or pot make it worse?

Sep 09, 2020
Some relief at last NEW
by: Dave

I have had these for thirty years and thought I was the only one. I associated it with anxiety and depression which has always been a problem for me. Meditation has helped a little and a few years ago a doctor gave me melatonin tablets( a sort of sleep hormone) which helped a bit.
However it has never gone away and over recent years I have had one or more of these 'attacks' on most nights and have had to sleep separately from my wife.

I have always resisted looking into hypnosis as a source of help but a few weeks ago I decided to give it a go and started watching a you-tube self hypnosis video for sleep problems before going to sleep.
The effect has been dramatic and I have had no real attacks during this time. I am now committed
to continuing that 10 minutes or so of video self-hypnosis every night and hopefully enjoying some normal sleep for the first time in 30 years!

Give it try and post on here if it helps you. There are plenty of choices of these videos on you-tube so choose one that suits you.

Sep 09, 2020
choking in a dream and fell down the steps NEW
by: Anonymous

i cant take these choking night terrors much longer, and they are getting so bad to the point that im getting hurt in my waking life,they started off with me just waking up in bed and choking but now after a year of this its getting worse now i wake up choking and trying to scream i jump out of bed and run to try and clear my throat and fall down or bang into walls or door frames, last night on 9/8/20 it was the worst one yet i remember dreaming i was choking on an object and i woke up and ran out of the bed room on the second floor and fell down the steps leading to my living room i banged my head and hurt my foot, i dont know what to do

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