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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

Sep 22, 2020
Choking Dreams NEW
by: Cassandra

All these stories sound similar to mine. I think it's been about twenty years since my night terrors turned into choking dreams. Dave, you mentioned self-hypnosis before going to sleep? Is there a particular link you found with guidance that was the most hopeful? Thanks.

Sep 23, 2020
Reply to Cassandra NEW
by: Dave

The you tube videos I have been using are by Michael Sealey - mainly his'Hypnosis for sleep problems and insomnia'.
Its about 30 mins long and I started watching it all before going to sleep,but now I tend to watch the first 15 minutes as Im pretty sleepy by that stage!

I watch it every night before going to sleep and it has been highly effective. This regular nightly routine may be important to its success.

If you try it,perhaps you could feedback your results?

Oct 03, 2020
by: Cassandra

Thank you for the suggestion Dave.
I'll try this for a while and report back after I've done it for a couple of weeks.

Oct 06, 2020
Sleep choking/sudden waking NEW
by: JC

I have been living with that strange disorder for many years. My doctor just prescribes anti anxiety meds. The only thing that worked was a combination of anti anxiety meds and clonopine. My doc won’t give me clonipine anymore because it is addictive at higher doses. I never abused the recommended dosage. So here I am, dealing with this years later. I have tried everything. I just don’t sleep much. Life sucks.

Oct 08, 2020
Swallowing ridiculous objects as I drift off to sleep
by: Richard

When I was in my fifties, the dentist made me a gum shield for my lower jaw to stop me grinding my teeth during sleep. I tried using this, but I would wake up in the night, find the gumshield was missing and assume that I had swallowed it. Sometimes I found it in the bed, sometimes I had to search the whole bedroom. Soon I developed a phobia of the shield and I gave up (against the dentist's advice). I am now 77 and the phobia has worsened. Every night, as I drift off to sleep, I imagine that I am swallowing ridiculous objects, such as armchairs or lamp posts! Last night it was a long rigid plastic tube, and I tried choking it up, but failed. I then got up and tried to make myself sick. I have terrible nights, as you can imagine, and it is not until I eat my breakfast that I can accept the truth - that it was just a phobia.

Oct 11, 2020
50 years with the problem NEW
by: Anonymousdavid jackson

glad to have found this forum.I have had the condition since my mid twenties and im now 78.Its the same old story, wake up from a dream thinking im choking to death because theres an object from golf balls to boat oars stuck in my throat .unerving to your sleeping partner as i jump out of bed screaming help me help me, im choking to death ,then wake up and realize im not, and go back to sleep.Had these night dreams occur from every three months to once a week.Have been told its acid reflux but think ive also got physcological issues but dont really know,In closing i will say that ive figured out that alcohol,caffein and eating after 8pm seem to create the ideal conditions for this malady.In closing cant believe the medical proffession cant figure out a cure and most dont seem to really understand or are aware of the problem

Oct 31, 2020
I feel I have swallowed a pill that is going to kill me!
by: Claire

For over two years now I have frequently woken up suddenly with a choking/gasping sensation ~ I have swallowed a tablet that is going to kill me and I can’t bring it back ~ it is always a tablet.. It is terrifying until I realise it is not real, and then I have palpitations for 10 minutes afterwards. My Doctor organised heart tests which have all been normal. I suspected it was probably sleep apnea or panic attacks but for some reason he shook his head regarding my theories! He asked me if I snored (don’t think I do) or suffered from heartburn, which I definitely don’t (except for a couple of times when I was pregnant). Despite this he asked me to try Lanzoprazole in the morning and Gaviscon Advance when I go to bed. I don’t want to speak too soon but since starting on this regime I have not had one ‘attack’ ~ amazing because I definitely get acid reflux. At the time I started this regime I definitely thought my Doctor was ‘going down the wrong track’. I have found this forum so helpful.

Nov 12, 2020
We always seem to know what we are swallowing
by: Richard

I reported my particular problem on October the 8th = it's about three comments back from here. At that time I had not read the preceding comments, of which there are many. One common factor seems to be that, in this dream state, we seem to know what it is that we are swallowing. In my case it is something different every night that I have the problem.

I thank all of you who have written, and I send my heartfelt sympathies, knowing what we go through. I feel a kinship with you all.

I am trying the self-hypnosis idea and it does seem to be working. I have tried Michael Sealey and Paul McKenna. As a result I have had two weeks of good uninterrupted sleep....until last night, when I thought I had a metal ball in my throat! I tried to bring it up, but, as ever, I thought I had swallowed it, Strangely, it got into my mouth through my cheek! Or so I dreamed!

Nov 12, 2020
Second post
by: Claire

Richard, I have read your story and in a slightly different way it reflects the problem most of us have had. I would recommend you take nexium control ~ a Lanzoprazole capsule first thing in the morning and wait half an hour before eating. Then a good slurp of Gaviscon Advance before bed. This has cured my night terrors as I called them ~ well I have not had a ‘tablet swallowing’ attack in several weeks now, since I started the nexium control regime. Although I don’t suffer from heartburn or acid reflux I believe this study and have told my doctor that I believe my condition is called ‘Silent Reflux’. This forum has been so helpful to me thank you!

Nov 17, 2020
by: Anonymous

I can’t believe so many of you have been able to describe something I’ve been experiencing for about 7 years now. Everything I try explain what is happening to partner/ friends / doctors they all look at my blankly. What’s even more surprising is none of us seem to have found a conclusive answer as to what is causing it! I’m very grateful for the hypnosis and "silent reflux" treatment - will give them a go! I keep thinking one day I’ll give myself a heart attack, most people go through their lives thinking maybe once or twice that their life is at risk... we have to deal with this on an almost weekly basis. Can’t be good for our health!

Interesting to note that sometimes I take diazepam and never have had an attack on it. Clearly not a long term plan, but I agree with what someone else said... always seems to be shortly after going to bed. I also wonder if it is some sort of post nasal drip / saliva that creates the feeling of chocking which prompts the wake up panic..

Nov 17, 2020
Swallowing objects
by: Ron

Seems I’m not the only one with this problem but my GP’s don’t seem to know how to deal with it .
I’m in my early 50s and have had these dreams since my mid 20’s , though they seem to be getting worse. I dream of swallowing objects , pens, razor blades , paper clips and so forth similar to many people report on this group. Can be larger objects. I wake up trying to spit out the object I’m swallowing and in my case I actually spit blood. I do not spit blood at any other time of day. Does anyone else actually spit out blood?
These episodes are currently nightly and always occur within minutes of falling asleep. They are causing distress to my wife as I disrupt her sleeping.
I am overweight and take medication for high blood pressure but had these symptoms when much younger and fitter.

Nov 30, 2020
Small Marble
by: Tracy

I have been having this dream that I have 3 people standing over me. I can not see their faces, but they make me swallow a clear marble that looks to have some kind of computer chip in it. I wake up choking and my throat hurts like something has been stuck in my throat. It's VERY scary!!!

Dec 04, 2020
Not Apnea but Swollen Uvula? NEW
by: Hope

You could be swallowing your uvula in the back of your throat which is cutting off your airway or making you feel like you are choking. By the time you wake up, you feel like you can breathe just fine, but when you're dreaming that you're choking, you may literally be choking. See your doctor as soon as you can. Looks like this post is a few years old, so hopefully you've gotten some help by now.

Dec 04, 2020
Articles to read NEW
by: GNL

This has been happening at our house for over 30 years. We posted an article a year or so ago - here it is again:

After years of researching this, I believe this is a Non-REM Parasomnia, as it occurs during the first part of the night. It is categorized as an 'arousal disorder'. Read this article:

There is no single explanation or solution. This article shows a variety of causes, along with data on solutions that have been prescribed:

So, it could be GERD, you could need a CPAP, antidepressants, or another medication - it all depends on where the problem is originating from. No one solution.

It's a real thing. Doctors have not heard of this (for the most part), and will give you the blank stare when you describe this.

Another good read:

Dec 04, 2020
Post above - GNL NEW
by: Anonymous

GNL, this is exactly what I needed to read today - thank you. I had 3 choking fits last night and am tired of trying to find a solution. This is a nightly occurance for me now - the only change is the severity and number episodes I have during the night.

On particularly bad nights, I notice that before I sleep I have alot of cattarh in my throat which I struggle to clear.

Ive started to accept this might be just a way of life for me as Im not really open to meds like antidepressants.

Dec 08, 2020
Had No Idea! NEW
by: Anonymous

Thank you everyone for sharing! I too experienced this phenomenon last night. I think it's happened a couple more times in the last few months, but today was the first time that I thought to research the day after. I suspect it's related to stress, anxiety, maybe even OCD brought on in this time of pandemic. I hope everyone is staying safe this Holiday season!

Dec 14, 2020
reply to claire from Oct. 31, 2020 NEW
by: shawn

I have the exact dream sequence and it never changes. I too was recently diagnosed with GERD and since I have been off of my medication I have started to have these episodes again. I believe it is GERD. Your comment has received me tremendously. Thank you.

Dec 18, 2020
Lasting thing was a rolling pin! NEW
by: Anonymous

Hello, kindred spirits! I've had this for years and thought it was because I was so premature and in the NICU for a long time with tubes in my throat and everywhere.
Just like others in this forum, I awaken with my heart thumping and a fear that I've swallowed something - from my kitten to you name it, the most recent experience being last night about a rolling pin that I was sure was going to kill me. I was about to call 911 when it occurred to me that it was impossible to swallow a rolling pin - and besides, I didn't have one by my bed!

Dec 27, 2020
Dream of swallowing poison or medication
by: Anonymous

I dream I have been warned certain medications or something poisonous will kill me if I swallow it,I then dream I have put it in my mouth by mistake and wake up sitting on side of bed coughing and trying to be sick to get rid of it, I eventually wake up completley and realise I have been in bed and not swallowed anything, I have had this same dream several times over last four years.

Jan 12, 2021
I shout at my loving wife while in the middle of a choking dream.
by: Ian

Thank you everyone for sharing your stories of this as I was thinking I was going mad. This has been happening to me for at least the last 10 years now and every time I am convinced I am going to die.
It is usually a dream that ends up where for some reason somthing goes down my throat or at least right at the back of my mouth and there is nothing I can do to stop this thing from choking me or sufercating me to death.
The objects that I believe I have logged are Rediculously impossible to swallow and have even included large iron bars the last time just 30 minutes ago was a guitar neck.
My poor suffering wife has no idea what to do. If she tries to wake me up and tell me I'm dreaming she gets abuse until I come round. If she leaves me to choke she gets abuse again until I come round or wake up.
When I have this happen, to me it is very real I know I have this thing inside my throat and any minute I am going to die. It is always a definite fear of death, my heart will be racing out of my chest I will usually head straight to the bathroom to see if I can dislodge the item, I usually cough or try to force the object out so severe that I sometimes start to see blood and usually make my throat very sore or cause it to end up with a very bad itchy throat and cough. I also usually to try to look down my throat in the mirror and have even been known to go down to the kitchen for a knife or scissors or something to try to remove the object.

Believe me when I say this at the time and moment of it happening it is life and death, with a pounding heart and absolute terror of dying it is very real and scary.
I always fear my loving wife will get fed up of this and really need to seek help.
It helps to know that I am not alone and there are others with the same problem.

Regards Ian.

Jan 31, 2021
This prescription has helped.
by: GB

It's amazing to see all these posts.
I thought I was going crazy!
I'm in my mid 60's and it's been happening for about 18months.
Jumping out of bed believing I've almost swallowed something.
It can be as others described a bottle top, coin etc.
The first thing that helped, was my wife gently speaking to me,'It's okay you haven't swallowed anything' prior to that she'd shout, WHAT's THE MATTER! which made it worse.
Then I went to 1 doctor, that had no idea what it was.
Then another who reckoned it was stress related. Yet I have an easy life, not particularly stressful. still, he prescribed me a nightly low dose of AMITRIPTYLINE 10mg. It has definitely worked at nighttime.
Though if I have a daytime can happen again.
I didn't want to take the pill, but to me now it's worth it, to get a full nights sleep and I've not noticed any side effects.

Feb 05, 2021
Update on previous comments NEW
by: Claire

After 3 or 4 months I have not had one single nighttime terror attack (as I called them), My experience was similar to most who have posted on this forum so I can now definitely suggest 1 Lanzoprazole capsule (nexium control) first thing in the morning. I don’t even take the Gaviscon at bedtime any more. It is wonderful not to wake up with my pill swallowing attacks, when I fear I will die! This silent reflux seems to be what we all suffer from.

Feb 08, 2021
You're not alone (another case) NEW
by: Male, 64, 6' 185 lbs

Male, 64, very, very good physical condition and health. Have had this dream recurrently and intermittently for many years. Maybe 20 years. For quite a while it was that I have a poisonous filling in my mouth that I swallow and it's gonna kill me in the next few seconds. I wake up screaming and choking. Big fun. That's pretty frequent, in fact, at least a couple of times a month, though there have been longer stretches of peace. Last night I dreamt I swallowed an engine (!) and woke up screaming. It's debilitating to my energy and awfully unfair to my wife. Only minor correlation is with alcohol consumption in the evening, but I don't think it is a strong correlation. For me, the panic is of quick, instant death.

FWIW, medication at night for me is 25 mg. Doxepin for allergies, and 10 mg. Atenolol for blood pressure. So, y'all are not alone. Resolve now to cut out the alcohol unless with dinner. No post-dinner or movie-watching brandy. Maybe I have low-level GERT or somesuch. Let's see what happens.

Feb 15, 2021
Shallow breather NEW
by: Jim

I have had this problem for some years now and my main swallowing item is my false teeth which I take out at night. Sometimes I have to go to the bathroom to check that my teeth in a cup have not been swallowed.

Recently I discovered I have a tendency to be a shallow breather and I have found a exercise to combat this which is to breath in deeply and hold my breath for the count to 20 and then breathe out. I try to do this ten times and my swallowing dreams have been less frequent.

If I have a swallowing dream episode I do the deep breathing exercise before I try to go back to sleep and this helps stop it happening again during the night.

When I was in hospital a couple of years ago for a operation they gave me a deep breathing apparatus that has four balls you have to raise by breathing and the last ball a black one is really hard to raise when breathing in. I find it is a little noisy so I don’t use it during the night as I don’t want to wake up my wife.

Feb 17, 2021
Prevacid is doing the trick! NEW
by: Male, 64, 6' 185 lbs

I posted on 8 February 2021. As a result of reading these posts, I began a course of nightly OTC Prevacid antacid on 9 February. For the past eight days, I have had ZERO death-swallowing dreams, and have slept better than I have in years. Go figure. I can't imagine it's placebo effect, as -- after all! -- I'm sleeping. All I can think is that I'm glad I didn't try to tackle this issue psychoanalytically, or through psychodynamic therapy. I'll keep it up, and check back. Thank you again for the forum and I hope my experience is helpful.

Feb 18, 2021
Checking back in
by: Anonymous

F / age 36 / 56kg

Thought I would check back in with my comments, I’ve since tried Gavascon before bed which doesn’t seem to have helped, in fact my swallow - imminent death episodes seem to be happening more frequently now (several times a week). I decided to do a hone sleep study (1 night) suspecting sleep apnea as my partner has mentioned my snoring before, I feel tired during the day etc. Turns out my oxygen levels are good, no indication of any short of disturbed sleep (frustratingly I didn’t have an episode, go figure!). One thing I have noticed is occasionally I take a strong sleeping pill, it’s also an anti-anxiety pill and I’ve realised I’ve never had an episode when taking it (have taken it for 4-5 years on and off). It’s not a daily or long term solution as these pills are fairly addictive as it’s a benzodiazepine.

I also, like the poster above, started doing deep "vagus nerve" breathing exercises before bed as I’m also a shallow breather. I’ve found that’s helped, I just need to remember to do it before bed each night and make it a habit as lots of stuff on how helpful that is for sleep.

Mystery for me continues, I am glad I’ve not got sleep apnea though, but it’s really debilitating and I also feel sorry my partner has to get a shock each time it happens. What I’m swallowing changes each time, I recently had braces in during lockdown and have since had them taken out - now I dream I’ve swallowed my braces! It literally can be anything, but one things for sure it’s going to kill me (I’ve also dreamt I’ve swallowed something poisoness, coins, safety pins, my own teeth!).


Mar 03, 2021
Swallowing strange objects in sleep
by: Anonymous

I too have these dreams which are so real , I’ve swallowed phones , heavy big metal objects , crazy things and I can’t help but swallow them , I try really hard not to but it slips down my throat ,sometimes I think F%!,,;: it I’ll swallow it and suffer the consequences , other times I panic , wake up and feel how am I going to poop that out , and really feel like I have swallowed it , I’ve read where sleepwalkers Night talkers are more prone to this , I did swallow a butterscotch that got stuck in my throat when I was 5 had an ambulance that gave me something that made me vomit it up , I really can’t remember , but maybe I can ! , and I am allergic to penicillin that made me convulse and couldn’t breathe in hospital when I was 9 so maybe these experiences made me freak out deep down , it freaks me out when it happens , so weird

Mar 04, 2021
Choking dreams
by: Pippa

I am so glad I have come across this forum as I have lived with choking dreams since I was 14 and I am now 47! I was referred to a sleep clinica few years ago but they were baffled by my severe choking dreams. They ruled out sleep apnea. My dreams can get so bad that if I wake up after falling asleep on my sofa, I end up hurting myself in my panic of thinking I am choking to death. I have swallowed or choked on any objects from marbles to hair clips and pens. My throat has been so sore from choking. I can have them every night or go for a few weeks without them. The consultant suggested anti depression tablets but I refused as I am not a depressed person and love life in the day! My husband wants me to go back to my GP but with covid I have left it. I sometimes just cry as I think I am stuck with this sleep disorder forever? Any advice welcome

Mar 04, 2021
Anti depression not strong. NEW
by: GB

Pippa just read your post. I know what you mean about anti depression tablets, I felt the same. But a 10mg AMITRIPTYLINE low dose 2 hours before sleep definitely made a big difference. They are not only for depression but also for bed wetting kids. So they are not strong but really help foe me with no side effects. To me it’s worth having a little blue pill to stop it happening.

Mar 07, 2021
Me too!
by: Elizabeth

I had what I considered a particularly bad episode last night, so decided to start researching and came across this discussion. The closest I could find to what I was feeling was night terrors, but my situation feels very specific. Someone posted about feeling like they had swallowed poison and mine is like that too. I don't feel like I'm swallowing an object, but I had this nightmare once where I was told if I swallowed at all I would die. I woke in a panic that I had swallowed then quickly realized it was a dream. This has morphed into at least once every other week I'm about ready to fall asleep, but remember that I'm not supposed to swallow, swallow then have a panic attack. Last night I woke up trying to cough up whatever I had swallowed. The desperation to spit and cough was new for me. It's so strange, so it is good to find you all. I thought it might have to do with sleep apnea (I haven't been diagnosed with that just thinking about what it could be) and anxiety. I'm going through some major life changes now, so wondering if that has something to do with it too. Thank you all of the articles. Please know you are not alone! This thing is pretty nerve-wracking and terrifying when it happens.

Mar 21, 2021
Does anyone’s face flush with this?
by: Teresa

I’ve been having these night time episodes for about 20 years and I’m so pleased I’m not alone. I’m mid 50s but feel they’re getting a bit worse. I take a very low dosage of epilepsy, for feinting which started in my late teens, though epilepsy wasn’t fully diagnosed after EEG, it seemed to sort the feinting. Now for past 20 years, like all of you, I sometimes wake up in the night, panic I’ve swallowed peculiar objects, phones, my kindle, keys, balls. Last night, it was TWO leather bound books....I don’t even have leather bound books. I usually cry out, jump out of bed, either throw myself on the floor on the way to the bathroom because I’m scared I’ll swallow it before I get there and I try and cough it up. Put my hands in my throat. By this time, I’m usually coming round, my poor suffering husband is now awake and tries to convince me I’m fine. I’m an anxious person...I do worry a lot. Covid doesn’t help of course. I also wonder if rich food or alcohol might trigger it, though I get them without any rich food or alcohol . I Recently used a lavender sleep spray and I got one, so stopped using that straight away. Always have them within about an hour of falling asleep. I probably experience this two or three times a month, sometimes more. Last night was a bad one ( leather bound books night!) ocassionally, if it’s a particularly bad episode, I get left with a flushed red face, always in my right side. It takes a month to calm down, which is a bother. Does anyone else get this? I’m interested in the theory that it’s GERD, but would be good to hear if anyone else suffers with the flushing too.

Mar 23, 2021
Feels like something in my throat NEW
by: Anonymous

So far this has only happened to me twice but twice within the last few months. Basically I think I swallowed something then wake up and feel like I have something in my throat (even though I can always breathe/airway isn't blocked) and then I run to the bathroom and try to cough it up to the point where I almost vomit. Then I try chugging water or something carbonated and the feeling is still there so I try to eat some food to push the perceived object down, which then causes more anxiety about having something inedible moving deeper.

It happened again last night, where I dreamed that I had a small candle in my mouth and ended up swallowing it. I was terrified for at least 10 min before reminding myself that I don't have a candle of that size, and I eventually went back to sleep. I know I didn't swallow anything and that my airway isn't blocked yet it still feels like there's something stuck in my throat.

I've never had any sleep-related condition before (as far as I know) and the only relevant experiences I can think of are when I accidentally swallowed a ball bearing as a child (my parents were terrified but everything ended up being alright) and late last summer/early fall I was eating chicken wings (fully awake) and was convinced there was a bone stuck in my throat and even went to urgent care only to be told there's nothing in my throat.

Apr 03, 2021
Same here! NEW
by: Kate

I’ve been suffering with this for the last two nights in a row! The first night I was choking on mushrooms and tonight it was bits of a cut up plastic straw. In my dreams it’s always a loved one who is telling me I’m choking! I’m also coughing in my dreams and trying to regurgitate what I’ve swallowed. I told my family about the first night and brushed it off because I’ve always had weird dreams since I was a kid but now for the second night in a row I’m terrified!! It’s now 3am and I was frantically googling. It’s comforting to know other people here have the same dreams but it’s just so so strange!!

Apr 30, 2021
by: Ashley

It's so interesting to read everyone else's stories as I was having trouble explaining it to my husband. I notice it happens when I am stressed or my sleep schedule is bothered. One night my husband was home (he usually works nights) I shook him awake thinking I was choking. Usually don't remember what I am choking on seems like a marble or golf ball. I don't remember dreaming before it happens either.
A little background: always been an anxious person, sleep talked, sleep walked, grinding teeth. No trauma mental or emotional.
Also think it is worth mentioning I usually am sleeping on my side or stomach when it happens. I sometimes remember twisting my body around when I sit up.

Sorry this is all over place. Woke up from the worst one yet last night and still groggy.

Apr 30, 2021
Doctor NEW
by: Anonymous

I’ve already posted my choking experiences and read some of the recent additions.
I just wonder is there a Doctor/Specialist that could shine some light on this strange phenomenon.
Also the best way to deal with it.
2 doctors I’ve seen haven’t got a clue what it is.
So would really appreciate some explanation.

Apr 30, 2021
Silent Reflux NEW
by: Claire

I wholeheartedly believe it is ‘silent reflux’ because ever since I started nexium control I have had not one episode of choking (thinking I was swallowing a pill that was going to kill me). I never fear going to sleep now as my problem has long disappeared. It was so terrifying at the time though.

May 02, 2021
It’s been improving…
by: Teresa

Hi All,
I posted earlier up the thread and have been thinking about the ‘reflux’ possibility that others have posted about. I sleep on a latex pillow ( firm but bouncy) and have done for years ( not the same one!) I am a side sleeper and have been positioning my head and neck slightly more up on it deliberately. My shoulders are just level with edge of pillow. I wasn’t like this before and my head was lower. I used to get the problem with swallowing usually after 1-2 hours of falling asleep and I know we can’t guarantee that we stay in the same position all night, but moving my head further up has definitely made a big difference as I have not had an episode for over a month, since doing this, which is unheard of for me. If I get up in the night I always make sure I am settling back in a higher position. You soon get used to it. It’s worth a try if others feel they sleep a bit lower on their pillows perhaps? I am keeping my fingers crossed in the meantime that this continues to work.

Jul 02, 2021
Choking up a pill NEW
by: Andrea

I'm so not alone! I dream that if I swallow a pill that I will die. I wake myself up choking and heart racing. I called my sister even during the night. It usually happens a couple hours after I've fallen a sleep. I don't think about it going to bed. It happens probably 5-15 times a month. CRAZY!!!!! I'm a terrible sleeper to begin with. Every time I take medication, I'm super careful that I don't choke on it.

Jul 03, 2021
Same, ending in Vomitting
by: Jamie

I had this last night for the very 1st time and only now finding out about all of this.
Mine occurred where I swallowed plastic wrappers and plastic balls to which causes alot of coughing, screaming and gagging to which all this hassle caused vommitting (NOT Self Induced).
Any remedies?

Jul 11, 2021
You are not alone. NEW
by: Anonymous

For me it's usually a key or something important, usually takes me a few seconds once awake to come to. Then no harm done really, I've been getting all sorts of night terrors for years now, occasionally scare my wife too! Lucky she's there to wake me sometimes when I'm stuck.

Jul 14, 2021
Swallowing an object in my dream. NEW
by: Nana Gonzalez

I been having this dreams too. Especially this month I been dreaming that I swallow something different every time I panic and wake up trying to pull back out w.e I put in my mouth. It’s crazy how in the same night I have this episode twice to three time in one night. Somethings I even scared my spouse cause I wake up screaming or tapping him, giving him singed that I’m choking so he can help me. I don’t know what this dreams means but it sure feels real and it scars me. Sometimes I even think what if one day I actually die.

Jul 26, 2021
Not always GERD NEW
by: Anonymous

For those thinking PPIs are a perfect cure, Ive been on twice the normal dosis of Esomeprazol (just like pantropazole) for months and I still have these dreams. Maybe it'll work for you, it's worth checking out but sadly, not the cause for me dreaming I swallowed worms, a whole cob of corn or a package of bandaids.
I do have a panic disorder, so maybe it is psychological. I'll look into apnea as well tho. Thanks for letting me know I am not going insane here

Sep 05, 2021
Swallowing something
by: Anonymous

Last night I had this and I’ve never had it before it felt like I was swallowing a tongue bar and I don’t have my tongue pierced and I woke up I wasn’t chocking but my chest felt tight I could still breathe but it was abit difficult but I thought I was the only one but now I know I’m not the only one going through this

Sep 20, 2021
Dreams of swallowing something NEW
by: Penny B

I just had a dream i was choking on a Jolly Rancher woke up with my throat hurting and gagging ive had other dreams like this before. I feel like i really did swollow something like a spider while i was sleeping. But my throat also makes tiny whisling sounds or squeaking and i feel movement, Is this sleep apnia

Sep 27, 2021
Swallowing something NEW
by: Anonymous

While I don’t want anyone to experience this, I am relieved to see I’m not the only one. It has been happening to me for at least 20 years. I am a healthy 55 y/o female, normal weight, non-smoker. I will jolt awake (only half awake), choking because I know that I swallowed a rock, or marble, or coins. It takes several minutes of coughing and gagging to realize that I’m awake and none of those things are near my bed. Very scary and seems so real. Wish I knew how to stop it.

Sep 28, 2021
Episodes now much rarer NEW
by: Richard

I have written twice, I think, on this site. Reading all the accounts has led me to think that the choking episodes tend to take place soon after "dropping off". So I have tried sleeping pills, viz Zolpidem Tartrate, and I can report success. I now sleep through until around 03.00, and, although I usually get patchy sleep after that, it is free of choking episodes.

Oct 26, 2021
My thoughts NEW
by: Anonymous

I Agee these issues for me start right after I fall asleep, I went to a sleep dr and did the sleep study twice and I do not have sleep apnea so I ruled that out. It could be acid reflux/gerds but I don’t wake up with heartburn chest pain or a sour taste in mouth. Post nasal drip could be another reason but I find that this happens to me 10/10 times when I eat before bed so a lot of my waking up thinking iam choking on something and running out of my bed have been alleviated by simple not eating about 3-4 hours before bed, I also do believe it is a psychological thing and not a REM disorder as since most of the people here wake up way before they ever hit REM sleep.

Nov 02, 2021
Pure panic NEW
by: Teresa

I've had this for several years. For a while, I dreamed I swallowed jewelry, or a couple times a pen cap. Lately, I've dreamed of swallowing my tongue. When I awake, I bite my tongue to make sure it's there. The other night I grabbed it with my fingers to make sure I didn't swallow it. It's so unsettling and terrifying. I mentioned it to my mom and she used to have the same issue, but hasn't had it for a while. Hoping mine will subside one day.

Dec 01, 2021
Parasomnia, Parvor Nocturnus NEW
by: Anonymous

Greetings to everyone who suffers from the common theme of choking on objects. Indeed, it shares consistent themes among those experiencing it and with good reason. If you'll take note of the entirety of comments and their similarities, you'll see that most all instances the objects upon which people choke either fall into the category of those things which range from smaller objects that are accompanied by the traditional sense of risk in accidental ingestion such as rings, pins, marbles, etc., to the outright absurd and impossible such as lamps, tires and other objects that are literally unable to be ingested due to their dimensions alone. Another similarity is ingestion of pills or similar materials that are deadly poisonous in nature.

Also take note that in most all instances, people have vivid recall of precisely what the object constitutes. In all instances and very importantly, people awaken as a continuation of the dream content and desperately work to expel the object by hacking, coughing, spitting or otherwise eject the material with either the sensation of choking or imminent choking.

You should also examine the timeframe of these occurrences, ie during the first third of sleep, as well as endurance of the problem itself, ie lasting many years in most instances. Dreams of choking to the wakeful state are the consequence of Parasomnia, or Parvor Nocturnus, are part of arousal disorder and can consist of sleepwalking, night terrors, confusional arousal, bedwetting, limb movement and others. Object choking is a form of night terror.

Much like sleepwalking, which is actually genetic and relates to expression of the DQB1 gene, night terrors are similarly genetic as well. While secondary underlying causes can produce nocturnal choking such as silent reflux or sinus drainage, they are less associated with dream states, particular NREM sleep parasomnia wherein a person is essentially partially awake and partially asleep.

Most people who undergo various forms of treatment typically report success in the first few weeks, only to find that the symptoms return. This is due to a placebo effect and is common. Parasomnias are often exacerbated by stressful events, poor sleep architecture, exhaustion or difficulties not recognized as influential. Persons who have historically experienced poor or disturbed sleep in general typically indicates a predisposition to parasomnia as part of arousal disorder.

While difficult to extinguish altogether, success in treatment often prevails where attention to sleep practices are concerned relevant to time, absence of any light, strict use of the bed at the proper time for sleep only, daytime activeness and absence of sedentary behavior patterns, no eating sooner than 3 hours prior to bedtime, no alcohol prior to sleep or for use as a sleep aid, caffeine reduction, use of relaxation techniques and determinations regarding any medications that have known sleep disturbance side-effects to be discussed with your primary care physician, correcting any urinary frequency issues and other circumstances that collectively can interfere with obtaining restful sleep and less chance of interruption by arousal disorder.

The key to experiencing less events is the establishment of firm regimen regarding daytime activity and sleep architecture. While difficult and challenging at first, continual adherence and instances of increasing success work to reinforce patterns that influence the diminishing presence of arousal disorder in the form of object choking. It's very important to realize that the sheer number of unrelated people all experiencing extremely similar symptoms is evidence of a true disorder. Misdiagnosis is common, so it's also important to work with your primary care physician to examine the full extent of symptoms to differentiate from other disorders that can interrupt sleep patterns. Most critical with regard to arousal disorders in the form of object choking is that invariably a prodrome exists in the form of dream content of the nature all of you here are experiencing and your physiological reactions upon reaching the wakeful state.

In other words, if disorders such as GERD are suspected they must be formally evaluated by a gastroenterologist rather than merely approached with symptomatic treatment by use of PPI or H2 inhibitors. The same is true for sinus disorder that must be thoroughly examined by an ENT specialist. In all instances, any differential diagnosis must be ruled out by specialists in those fields such that confidence in arousal disorder is increased to the degree that it, too, can be extensively evaluated and treated by a Somnologist. In approaching the issue in this context, it reduces mere symptomatic treatment that can oftentimes represent trial and error in determining positive effects.

Your primary care doctor, however, is the place to start because any disorders present and requiring treatment are integral to your general health.

Best regards

Dec 26, 2021
Nocturnal Swallowing Disorder NEW
by: Anonymous

For over 60 years I have had this sleep issue. I believe it started when I was five and while sucking on a cough drop in bed I accidently swallowed it and it stuck. I was able to breathe and I know now it went down but I felt it in my throat for days, convinced it was still stuck.

Since that time I have woken in a panic hanging over the side of the bed with my fingers down my throat digging for whatever it was that I swallowed and gagging until I wake up enough to realize I hadn't swallowed that golfball,jar,phone,toothbrush or vase. This alarmed my husband at first but he has gotten used to it as have I.

I think that is what I came here to say. I don't feel that it affects me that much. I have lived with it most of my life and until fairly recently had no idea other people did too. I do not have GERD, not a sleepwalker and have pretty good sleep practices. However, I have suffered from an anxiety disorder since I was an adolescent. I now take meds to control this and the sleep episodes have diminished. I have them more when I am stressed or anxious about something. Nocturnal swallowing disorder is just something I live with.

Jan 06, 2022
Chewing gum
by: Anonymous

When I was younger my mum told me I could not eat chewing gum as it was not digestible. Over the past eighteen months I sit bolt upright in my sleep convinced I have chewing gum stuck in my throat and I’m dying. I then realise I have nothing there and relax. Sometimes it happens twice a night. Always very disturbing and always chewing gum and sometimes it is bigger than the last piece. Very weird but glad I’m not alone.

Jan 23, 2022
this terrifying experience
by: M London

shocked by the number of people reporting having this terrifying experience but at the same time reassured it's not just me. It's always the same scenario I am swallowing some large object like a phone, spectacles, a chain etc. and it's too late to stop it fully going down my throat after which you jump out of bed in absolute terror panicking about what to do. The worst thing is the time it takes before you realise that it didn't really happen in which you are terrified about the consequences of what it will do to you. Be interested to hear from anyone who has found a way to stop this awful 'dream'

Feb 08, 2022
sleep choking NEW
by: Anonymous

This is so comforting to read knowing i’m not the only one this has happened to. I’m 19 years old and only started having these about a year ago. I had one last night where i was chocking on mini alcohol bottle ( ik crazy) and i was sticking my fingers down my throat to try get it out. My boyfriend was terrified at what he was seeing as he thought i was genuinely choking on something. He said that i sat up in a panic crying saying " i’m going to die fuck". I was leaning over my bed with my head in my hands trying to cough it up, so hard that my throat aches this morning. I eventually calmed myself down telling myself that that can’t have been something stuck in my throat as the actual object wouldn’t have even been something i could have choked on. These nightmares or terrors or whatever it is because i have no idea happen out of the blue for me. The last one i had previous to last was about 6 months ago.

Feb 25, 2022
I had no idea so many others experienced this
by: Anonymous

My first time was about a years ago. I was 47 at the time. The first time it was a earring I woke up believing I had a swallowed and I jumped up with my heart racing and I realized I hadn't swallowed anything. I had no idea that was the beginning and I would have more episodes of this.Another time I woke up when thought I had swallowed a battery, I panicked ,I coughed and put my finger down my throat trying to make it come up.My heart was racing,I was afraid I was about to die .Ive had this happen about 5 or 6 times.I now suffer insomnia, I often wonder if it could be because I'm afraid to fall asleep at night because I'm
fear of having another episode of thinking I'm choking from swalling something.I hope we soon find about this

Mar 03, 2022
Dream of swallowing something NEW
by: Lii

I feel relieved to know that i'm not the only one experiencing this. I went straight to search this up because I had a dream where I swallowed a small plastic straw and i would immediately wake up and try to get it all out, and only start to realise it was just a dream about 5 minutes later. And the same thing happened again on the same night after that dream, but this time i swallowed it instead. It's the first time i'm experiencing this. I'm diagnosed with clinical depression but I'm not sure if this has to do anything with it.

Mar 04, 2022
Glad I'm Not Alone NEW
by: Anonymous

This has been happening to me for awhile and just happened a couple weeks ago the week of my wedding, and again a few days later on my honeymoon. It is a terrifying feeling. I have GERD so I will try taking some antacids and see if it does anything. The most recent thing I 'swallowed' was a silver dollar.

Mar 17, 2022
Thank God I’m Not Alone, I Think…. NEW
by: Anonymous

I’m a 60 year old Mom and Wife, and have had some form of night terror since my teen years. What worries me is that the intensity and frequency of the choke-scream dreams have spiked in the past 6 months, but this is the most relaxed my life has been.

I HAVE EVERYONE BEAT ON THE FUNNY CHOKING OBJECT - I am a scientist who deals with tons of data and software applications. One of my chokes was on an EXCEL ICON JUMPING OFF MY DESKTOP AND DOWN MY THROAT. Yes, you read that correctly. I’m married to the best husband that life has to offer for 25 years, and I just don’t want him to think he’s married to a LUNATIC.

Many thanks to the person who gave outstanding advise on activity levels, eating and bedtime routine. I will try your suggestions and hopefully sleep soundly 😴

May 07, 2022
swallowing poison and objects NEW
by: Anonymouslytrue

So I am very happy to have found this thread. Anyone else also wake up to drink water, and feel like it was poison/cleaning fluid/sewage then wake up scrambling to force it up? Also have done it with random objects...very unnerving but glad I am not alone.

Jun 28, 2022
Thank you!
by: Emma

I cannot believe so many other people are going through the same thing as me. It’s absolutely terrifying. My latest ‘episode’ was last night- that time it was lots of long pins and I needed to breathe but didn’t want them to go down my throat. I sat bolt upright, hand in mouth trying to grab them… thankfully I recover pretty quickly afterwards usually these days but this was a particularly bad one. I’ve suffered for around the last 5 years- ‘swallowed’ things from metal forks to sofas and umbrellas. Totally ridiculous but extremely frightening at the time. Years ago the dr put it down to stress and anxiety but I’m not so sure. I worry I will have a heart attack!
Thinking of getting tested for sleep apnea as my brother has recently been diagnosed but with totally different symptoms to me. All I know is that I want it to stop :( Sone nights I feel like I’m sitting up then laying back down constantly throughout the night… my stomach muscles certainly feel it some mornings!! Thank you so much for this group. So sad others are going through it too but I am reassured it’s not just me! I hope everyone gets some answers and help.

Jul 02, 2022
It’s the acid reflux I didn’t know I had
by: Anonymous

I have lived with waking up (50% of the time not remembering) believing I had swallowed my mouth guard for close to 30 years.

I was put on Klonipin for REM Sleep Disorder. Later rediagnosed as Night Terrors. I came off the medication a few weeks ago. My choking was almost nightly. I came across this thread and those posting about silent reflux felt similar even though I have never had any trouble with reflux.

I went on antacids three nights ago after talking to my physician. No more choking. It’s still early, but I think I’ve finally found the answer. Thank you!

Do not dismiss the fact you may have reflux. I eat a very strict diet. No sugar, dairy free, gluten free, etc. I exercise 3x per week. I had no idea or clue I had reflux issues. Just take the medicine to see if you have an issue.

Related note, I have severe acne and like skin conditions. They are starting to clear up. 🤙🏽

Jul 05, 2022
Swallowing NEW
by: Sleepless in Omaha

I suffer from this; it started a year ago. It’s completely irrational and absurd, but it feels real when it happens. I believe it’s related to immense work stress that also started about a year ago

Jul 05, 2022
4 years free from ‘nightly attacks’ NEW
by: Claire

As an update to my post of October 2020 I can truthfully state that I have not had any more ‘swallowing a tablet’ attacks since I started taking a PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitor ~ ie Lanzoprazole). I had suffered these terrifying nightly attacks for a long time, had heart tests etc, until my GP suggested we try a PPI in the morning and Gaviscon at night. I dropped the Gaviscon after one or two months but have continued to take the Lanzoprazole. To this day I have not had any more attacks. To my knowledge I have never suffered with acid reflux, heartburn or the like but it was a long shot by my GP, who called my problem ‘silent reflux’.

Jul 18, 2022
mine is different
by: J

I've been trying to figure this out for a long time. every time I read about this condition it's always saying "wake up choking panicking screaming gasping for air'. I really don't experience that. what I do experience is that while sleeping I dream I guess, that I have something in my mouth, usually something squareish. I wake up and before I realize it is in my mouth I swallow instinctively because we do that at regular intervals. so as I'm waking up I feel this thing making its way down my throat and then yes I do panic because I'm asking myself what did I swallow, how far is it down my esophagus, and what's it going to be like when I pass it. my mind races and I do feel a lot of anxiety and that feeling of a foreign object lodged somewhere halfway down between my throat and my stomach persists for hours.

I don't understand this. it only partially matches any account that I've ever read about it and it seems to not follow any of the primary descriptors in every other post in this thread. it's only started probably about a year ago. I'm a 42-year-old male in reasonably good health. I'm sure it's psychological, but I can't begin to trace it to its origin.

Feb 22, 2023
I'm experiencing almost the same NEW
by: anonymous

Your description is very similar to what I'm going through.
In my case, it started two months after being stranded oversea for 6 weeks because of the
Covid-19 pandemic.

I bought an infrared camera and I'm recording myself at night.
Sometimes I wake up coughing, feeling that I swallowed something that could harm me, but in other occasions, I don't remember anything.

As far as I learned, it is called night terrors.
It can happen to me once a month or twice the same night.

I'm paying more attention now to find a pattern that explain what trigger it.
I decided to see a doctor as well.

May 05, 2023
experiencing the same NEW
by: aley avery

Since I got pregnant with my second child and i was somewhat late in my pregnancy, I have been experiences this.. it doesnt have everyday or every week, its not consistent so its hard to figure out what could possibly be causing it.. This is what I experience:

I dream or think I swallowed my wedding ring, pacis or necklace but most of the time my wedding ring..and i wake up, set up, start to grab my throat trying to cough it out, and push the object out somehow...but usually it gets to the point where I think its too late and I think " oh no, I have to swallow it in order to be ok" and there is no way out.. it really has been bothering me and I really relate to some of these comments.. I dont have any underlining health issues, i eat well, i am active. generally a very healthy person.. has anyone found out anything else? could there be some health issue actually going on?

Hope you all are doing ok. :)this thing sucks.

May 05, 2023
Im laughing NEW
by: Anonymous

Here I was thinking this was too strange a thing to be common and here we are, a whole community of people waking up in the middle of the night trying to cough up bottle caps, pencils, sewing pins, and whatever else can go in our mouths but shouldnt. There should be a sleep study about this.

May 07, 2023
by: Anonymous

Still trying to cough up random, sharp objects. Totally agree a sleep study needs to be done on this. How bizarre

Jun 10, 2023
Exactly what happens to me almost nightly for years NEW
by: Anonymous

Almost every night, I dream that I’m choking on something stuck in my throat and I think I’m going to die. I wake up on my hands and knees, coughing my throat raw to get it out, something spitting, and sometimes I scream. I wake up and realize it was a dream and I’m okay. I think it’s anxiety, but I’m looking for deeper meanings. It could be a physical problem, but I don’t want to do a sleep study to find out. I really think it’s anxiety or frustration about life or unresolved childhood trauma.

Jun 27, 2023
Same Here NEW
by: Anonymous

I have these dreams of swallowing things maybe once a year, for many many years now. Sometimes it is swallowing gum or candy, but sometimes it is things like nails. Upon waking I usually sit up, freaking out, and it takes me a minute to realize that it didn't happen, couldn't happen. I've never had any real-life traumatic choking experiences so I don't know why this is a recurring theme in my dreams.

Jul 10, 2023
Me too!
by: Sarah Sue

I’m not going to bore you all with the details of my situation, because we are all similar. I’m here to say that I didn’t have the swallowing thing when I was intermittent fasting. So I’m going to experiment with stopping eating 3 hours before bed and see if that helps. I’ll be back to update my progress!

Jul 12, 2023
Similar but not swallowing ?
by: NERDESS323

When I get hysterically upset in real life I cough and choke and it takes me a second to catch my breath. Had a nightmare last night about a traumatic event in which I called my husband and was screaming and crying. Before doing something terrible to myself (I deal with depression and see atherapist) I woke up. I felt like I had something caught in my throat and started wheezing, almost like my throat was closing up. I took a shower and used my inhaler but I still feel like I screamed my throat raw. My husband is still fast asleep next to me, so I'm safely assuming no screaming happened. Still this is a first for me. Normally I'll wake up with bruising or an creepy crawly feeling but never something this severe.

Jul 31, 2023
To know its not just me helps, as much as wouldn't want anyone else to suffer NEW
by: Amz

This has been going on at least in the last 4
-5 years, initially it was my wedding ring id ‘swallowed’
As I write this I have come away for a couple of days with my husband and have had an ‘episode’ last night. (He must have sent me this link whilst I was trying to get back to sleep)
Coughing screaming not even sure what it was but the feeling that I was going to die. Thank fully my husband is dealing with it really well and calming me down but I just worry he will one day have enough of it. It doesnt happen every night sometimes a couple of nights a week or it can happen a few times a month.
I do get stressed quite a lot with work and have a lot going on but Im sure as does everyone else.
I have told my gp recently after a last bad episode who sent me for an xray…. This was subsequently clear and now I have to follow up again to tell them its clear so they need to do more test or something not just leave it?! Id like for them to look into it but I don't think I will get anywhere and I dont know what to do.
Its awful, and I worry about staying in other places where it may disturb people or they wont understand which makes me dread these events not look forward to them.
Im so suprised so many other people are dealing with this especially upto so recently, and its made me not feel alone which is something. Although I wish none of us had to suffer from it!

I dont know if these help but I have trying;

Coming off my phone/electronic stuff etc for a while before bed
Sleepy pillow mists, rollerballs from tisserand
Sleepy tea’s from whittard/m&s
‘Sleepy’ body lotion from Lush
Baths before bed

Hope oneday there is a study/answer for us!


Jul 31, 2023
To know its not just me helps, as much as wouldn't want anyone else to suffer NEW
by: Amz

This has been going on at least in the last 4
-5 years, initially it was my wedding ring id ‘swallowed’
As I write this I have come away for a couple of days with my husband and have had an ‘episode’ last night. (He must have sent me this link whilst I was trying to get back to sleep)
Coughing screaming not even sure what it was but the feeling that I was going to die. Thank fully my husband is dealing with it really well and calming me down but I just worry he will one day have enough of it. It doesnt happen every night sometimes a couple of nights a week or it can happen a few times a month.
I do get stressed quite a lot with work and have a lot going on but Im sure as does everyone else.
I have told my gp recently after a last bad episode who sent me for an xray…. This was subsequently clear and now I have to follow up again to tell them its clear so they need to do more test or something not just leave it?! Id like for them to look into it but I don't think I will get anywhere and I dont know what to do.
Its awful, and I worry about staying in other places where it may disturb people or they wont understand which makes me dread these events not look forward to them.
Im so suprised so many other people are dealing with this especially upto so recently, and its made me not feel alone which is something. Although I wish none of us had to suffer from it!

I dont know if these help but I have trying;

Coming off my phone/electronic stuff etc for a while before bed
Sleepy pillow mists, rollerballs from tisserand
Sleepy tea’s from whittard/m&s
‘Sleepy’ body lotion from Lush
Baths before bed

Hope oneday there is a study/answer for us!


Aug 06, 2023
I need help
by: Jess

I’ve been having this recurring dream pattern on and off for a few years - dreaming I have swallowed a pill or something poisonous and believing I am going to die. I woke up last night and have scratched chunks out of the back of my throat with my nails trying to remove it. Reaching the bathroom sink and seeing all of the blood convinced me further that I was definitely dying. I’m now too frightened to go to bed.

I’m going through a difficult emotional time at the moment so am wondering whether it is linked to anxiety. I’ve also not been taking care of myself recently: eating poorly and not exercising, so it possibly could have a link to digestive health. I will try an antacid or something similar to see if it helps.

I wish everybody luck on their journey solving this mystery. Please repost a cure if you find one!!

Aug 23, 2023
Me too NEW
by: Anonymous

Hi although I wouldn’t wished this on anyone, im glad I’m not alone.
It happens sometimes twice a night , maybe every night. Then stops for a while. I get so I don’t want to go to bed.
It starts with me realising I mustn’t swallow or I will die, it could be ball shaped, often metal. My husband has to hold on to me as he is frightened I will leave the bedroom and fall down the stairs. I usually wake with my fingers down my throat and I’m on my knees in bed.
I don’t eat before bed, have given up coffee for herbal tea, and changed my diet, including no chocolate or ice cream which I thought were triggers.
I just want a good nights sleep

Aug 23, 2023
Cured! NEW
by: Claire

I have replied many times to different posts as this was ME for years! Always a pill that was going to kill me and I would wake up terrified and desperately trying to cough it up ~ until I realised this was a dream. I was left with palpitations that went on for a long time and it happened repeatedly until I sought help from my doctor. SILENT REFLUX was what he diagnosed, as I said I didn’t suffer with reflux, and I now take Lanzoprazole 30 mg each morning and the problem has been solved. My doctor also prescribed Gaviscon at bedtime but I gave this up after a while on the recommendation of my daughter, who is a nurse ~ she suggested the proton pump inhibitor (Lanzoprazole) should suffice. She was right and I have been ‘terror free’ for a few years now. I hope this helps people like me.

Oct 14, 2023
Update NEW
by: Anonymous

I posted here before about waking thinking I had swallowed chewing gum and was dying. Recently I went to the doctor and mentioned this problem. She said she had never heard of the condition so I told her about this website where people experience the same things of swallowing various items. She gave me a steroid nasal spray for post natal drip and in the last 3 months I have been fine. I have woken sitting bolt upright but not had the experience of thinking I had swallows something harmful and life threatening. Hope this helps someone

Dec 26, 2023
i thought i was alone NEW

i'm 19 now and i have been having a recurring dream that i have swallowed a ring/a small object for almost 2 years now. it's always the same: i swallow the object (in my dream) then i can literally feel it travelling down my gullet. next is overwhelming panic and my only thought is that i must remove it. so i rush to the toilet and shove fingers down my throat to attempt to puke it out. then after some time i realize it's the same dream i've been having. it is so scary & i truly hate it.

Jan 10, 2024
Falling on my head NEW
by: Anonymous

Been dealing with this for almost 10 years!!!! Always a bottle cap or something small and round. Happened the last 7 nights in a row. But I also have the same reoccurring thing where something is about to fall on my head. Anyone else?

Jan 11, 2024
Humidity NEW
by: Anonymous

Been dealing with this moat of my life - now nearly 40. Just lately ive been wondering if humidity helps. I think its better when i have laundry drying in my room which improves the humidity. A long shot maybe but just a hypothesis at the mo!

Apr 26, 2024
Swallowing objects in your sleep NEW
by: Anonymous

It's acid reflux. Take Tums before bed and don't eat past 6:30 p.m.

I am so grateful that I found this thread. For 10 years I have been dreaming that I have swallowed objects like pencils, light bulbs, wine bottles. I would be half awake trying to cough up what I thought I swallowed and thinking how am I going to poop this out? When I finally wake up my throat is on fire from coughing so hard. A lot of the time I literally jump on my husband and I would say "what am I gong to do?" He would tell me that I'm sleeping but I am absolutely freaking out. I don't know if I'm going to die from the panic attack that I'm having or from what I swallowed.

After taking Tums every night before bed the episodes have drastically cut down.

I hope this helps everyone looking for some answers and relief.

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