A new study evaluated five men and three women who have sleep related groaning.
They were monitored during an overnight sleep study. The number of groaning episodes during the night ranged from 40 to 182; the duration of these episodes lasted from two seconds to 46 seconds.
Almost 77 percent of the groaning episodes occurred during the sleep stage of rapid eye movement sleep – or REM sleep. About 63 percent of the episodes were associated with an arousal from sleep.
This may explain why some sleep groaners report having occasional restless sleep or mild daytime fatigue.
Four of the eight participants also had episodes of “bruxism” – or tooth grinding. In one person the episodes of bruxism and groaning appeared closely together.
The AASM reports that sleep related groaning is also known as “catathrenia.” It is classified as a parasomnia. These sleep disorders involve undesirable actions over which you have no deliberate control. You remain asleep or in a sleep-like state during an episode.
Groaning tends to occur nightly. An episode involves a deep breath followed by a long expiration; a monotonous, loud, groaning sound occurs as you exhale.
Moaning and “mournful sounds” also can occur. Some people have described hearing high-pitched or cracking sounds, as well as loud humming or roaring sounds.
A sleep groaner usually is unaware of the problem. It can be more disturbing for a bed partner, roommate or family member who hears the sounds.
The groaning usually stops whenever you change position in bed. But episodes are likely to resume again later.
Learn more about sleep related groaning on SleepEducation.com. Get help for a parasomnia at an AASM-accredited sleep center near you.