If you’re a noisy sleeper, it may be snoring, or it may be another condition that is closely related, but isn’t necessarily as serious. It’s called catathrenia, night groaning, and it’s only recently come to light.

Distinguishing Sleep Groaning and Snoring

dreamstime_18559801Although snoring and sleep groaning both are sounds people make when sleeping, they are distinct. Typically, sleep groaning only occurs when a person exhales. Snoring can occur during both inhalation and exhalation. The sound is different, too. While snoring is a more mechanical sound, sleep groaning may sound intentional, which is why some people with sleep groaning are reluctant to talk to their doctors–the sounds might be confused with sexual noises and people fear it’s associated with sexual dreams, which they aren’t.

What Causes Sleep Groaning

At this point, we’re still unsure about what causes sleep groaning, but there are several theories. One is that sleep groaning is a type of parasomnia, similar to sleepwalking. In fact, many people who currently suffer from catathrenia had parasomnias like sleepwalking, night terrors, or bedwetting when they were children.

Bruxism–nighttime tooth clenching–may also be related to sleep groaning. People who clench their teeth may make groans because contracting muscles related to bruxism may cause them to make the sound.

Catathrenia may also be genetic. It seems that many people with the condition have a family history of groaning during sleep.

In other cases, sleep groaning may actually be confused with snoring.

Sleep Groaning Is Bad for Health

Like snoring, sleep groaning is a sign that you aren’t getting good sleep. Perhaps 80% of people with sleep groaning also report daytime fatigue, depression, and anxiety. However, sleep groaning isn’t associated with sleep apnea.

The good news is that a polysomnogram can distinguish between snoring and sleep groaning and may help people get good treatment so they can rest easy.

If you are suffering from sleep groaning or snoring and want to learn more about potential solutions, please call 402-493-4175 for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.