Ask the ASA: Waking Up With a Grunt

Welcome to Ask the ASA, a regular feature that allows our visitors to ask questions and receive answers from the American Sleep Association!  Use our contact form to send in your questions (or send them to us via Facebook or Twitter), and we’ll select the best ones to receive answers from the ASA.

This time around, Dr. Neil Kline from the ASA addresses a question about waking with a grunt:

Now and again I’m finding I’m waking myself up by loudly grunting in my sleep.  I’m suffering with a common cold at the minute.  Is this the course of the problem or should I be worried?

Great question – there are several potential reasons why we make noises during sleep. Nasal congestion from a cold certainly could be a cause of grunting noises. It can be normal to occasionally make vocal noises during sleep – especially during REM (dream) sleep. However, grunting and gasping can also be a symptom of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which the airway closes during sleep. It is usually associated with snoring, gasping, and daytime sleepiness. Either way, if you have concerns about a possible sleep disorder, be sure to discuss with your physician.

Dr. Neil Kline is a representative of American Sleep Association. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Sleep Medicine.  For more information on the ASA, visit their website.

Questions for the ASA are edited for clarity.