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Hmm..so I'm not sure if Mushroom and Bubba's Mom are describing the same phenomenon..what I'm talking about is unconscious and happens during sleep. But if it happens when you're awake, I suppose it could be an indication that it might happen when you are sleeping, so it might be worth looking into if you feel like you need to sleep more than 8 hours a night, have morning headaches, feel drowsy during inactivity, or any other symptoms of sleep disorder!
Basically the muscles around the throat and palate soften while we are sleeping, and for some people this means the airway gets fully obstructed (apnea) or partially obstructed (hypopnea). Either way the body has to partly rouse itself to increase the breathing effort (though often the person doesn't full wake up and isn't even aware of this) enough that the sleeping pattern is interrupted or disrupted. This leads to varying levels of sleep deprivation depending on how many times it happens during the night, but I'm told that it gets worse as you get older (ie more interruptions, more sleep deprivation).
I have Celiac and a sleep disorder (hypopneas, periods of reduced breathing, rather than apneas, but which are just as bad). I think having an untreated sleep disorder puts the body and nervous system under a lot of stress. In my mind I wonder if its part of the reason I developed Celiac - from stress, which was potentially exacerbated or caused by my untreated sleep disorder. I have probably have had the sleep disorder since my teen years (now 27), because we think its due to having a large tongue and a very narrow jaw space, but not sure when I developed/triggered Celiac (I got a very bad case of eczema, tested negative for DH, which got worse and prompted the Celiac tests when I was 26) - I could've developed it last year or it could have been happening for several years or more. Its hard to say because I have no gut reaction to ingesting gluten - I don't feel anything or get sick.
Anyway, its interesting to think about the connections, but hard to say for sure! I don't think going gluten-free will help my sleep disorder at all, since its not so much about inflammation in my throat but just not enough room for my tongue.