Is there a name for this sensation?

Is there a name for the feeling that if you let yourself fall asleep, you will stop breathing? Is it a known symptom of anything?

I guess it could be called fear of sleep apnea. It could be associated with serious illness, so if you are concerned about it you should see a doctor.

Hypnophobia is fear of falling asleep, which is more general than the term you want. Many people with sleep-disordered breathing are hypnophobes. People with bad hearts or “fluid in the lungs” may become short of breath when lying down (orthopnea) or wake up short of breath at night (PND). People with apnea do stop breathing at night for short periods of time. Asthma and COPD can also cause this. These symptoms are also associated with anxiety, in particular obsession-compulsion. If you have these symptoms or this fear, you do need to see a doctor.

Someone I know recently described that very feeling.

I don’t have sleep apnea but I do experience the sensation you describe only when I’m extremely anxious and going through a bout of insomnia.

Regardless of what the cause is, you really should see a doctor. Even something as seemingly simple as insomnia can be a symptom of other things and is not at all healthy.

Thanks, everyone. Mentioned it to a doctor today. She didn’t care much. Oh-well.

Sorry to hear about that, sounds like you might want a new doctor.

Sleep apnea was my first thought also. I had a friend who was diagnosed with it. He’d lived with it for about a decade but didn’t suspect anything was wrong. He was always slightly tired but thought it was just a tendency to be lazy. His doctor had him sleep overnight in a lab to be diagnosed. I’d look up the symptoms of sleep apnea and see if they fit you. Good luck.