Nocturnal Groaning – Sleep Disorder, Parasomnia or Anatomical Complication

Abnormal sleep patterns are common for many adults. In fact, in today’s society, it has become increasingly difficult to discern what is normal and what is abnormal in terms of sleep. For individuals who suffer from complications with sleep talking and sleepwalking, the challenges of the parasomnias may affect not only their quality of sleep but also the quality of sleep for family members.

Groaning in your sleep is a complex sleep dysfunction. While some physicians classify sleep groaning as a parasomnia, there may be an anatomical basis for this sleep dysfunction. The anatomical basis for your sleep complication, especially when sleep groaning is of concern, may include lesion development, narrowed airways and even occlusion of the vocal cords. Because of these potential anatomical contributions to sleep groaning, the condition is often not described as a traditional sleep disorder except to the degree that it is classified as a parasomnia.

To be diagnosed with sleep groaning, or nocturnal groaning, there are specific symptoms and characteristics of the parasomnia disorder. It is during REM sleep that your respiration will change, the sound will produce and the complication will result in the mimicking sounds of snoring although much deeper. Nocturnal groaning often occurs during inspiration rather than on expiration, for which management of the complication can be difficult.

If a family member reports to you that you suffer from nocturnal groaning, it is important to ask your health professional to investigate the possibility of lesion development. Once ruled out, most patients find their nocturnal groaning is simply attributed to a natural flow of air upon inspiration that generally occurs during REM sleep. Generally not attributed to any other sleep disorder, nocturnal groaning is simply a noise nuisance and does not result in any type of daytime fatigue in direct result to it.

If, however, you suffer from daytime sleepiness, in combination with nocturnal groaning, the complication may be attributed to another sleep disorder that has developed. As a result, you may require a sleep study to further assess your sleeping habits and quality of sleep.

Nocturnal groaning, or groaning during sleep, is generally considered a nuisance and not indicative of a health complication. If you suffer from nocturnal groaning the greatest complication may be in the quality of sleep your family enjoys. To put your mind at ease, ask your health professional to rule out the presence of other complications and then consider a sleep study to confirm nocturnal groaning is your only sleep complication.