Catathrenia is a parasomnia characterized by groaning and breath holding during sleep. A person with this sleep disorder briefly holds their breath and then groans upon exhalation. Generally, the sufferer is unaware of the sound and actually sleeps well. But, sleep partners are not so lucky and are usually disturbed and awakened by the groans, sighs and snorts. Sometimes a catathrenia victim will wake themselves up due to their own noises. A sleep partner may choose to wear earplugs.

The cause of this sleep disorder is unclear and requires further study. Current research states that a high level of stress may trigger the malady, but this is mere speculation at this point. Studies have found that the ailment may be related to sleep apnea.

Catathrenia is relatively rare and not a serious condition, but, victims can be embarrassed when sleeping in a public situation, like, on a airplane or staying with friends and family and it can affect the quality of sleep.


  • Groans
  • Snorts
  • Sighs
  • Squeaks
  • Brief breath holding
  • Sore throat in the morning

Unlike snoring, which happens when inhaling, groaning occurs when exhaling. The groans can be quite loud. A groan can be long and drawn out, lasting up to a half a minute and is generally followed by sigh or snort. This process is usually intermittent, but one episode can last up to an hour.

The condition is most common in men, but women can acquire the condition as well. All ages are susceptible.

This disorder most often takes place during the end of a sleep cycle, within about two hours of waking up, but can occur during any stage of sleep.


  • CPAP
  • Medication
  • Oral appliances
  • Surgery

Since catathrenia appears to be related to sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is sometimes used successfully to treat the condition.

Unfortunately, some sufferers see no improvement with CPAP, upper airway surgery, or dental devices.

Be sure to consult a doctor for your best options.

Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Checker

Was this page helpful? If so, please Like, Share, Tweet, or Stumble to others that might find the information to be valuable.