National Sleep Foundation

Chapter 6: Parasomnias

Catathrenia (Sleep-related Groaning)

Catathrenia, or sleep-related groaning, is a chronic groaning that occurs when the person is sleeping. It usually happens every night, and mainly occurs in the second half of the night, during later REM sleep cycles.1  The groaning or moaning sounds are usually clustered and occur within a long period of expiration (2-50 seconds) subsequent to a deep inspiration. No association between sleep-related groaning and respiratory or psychological disorders has been found.2   There is no known effective treatment for catathrenia.3
The International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD) lists catathrenia as a Sleep-Related Breathing Disorder (SRBD), under Isolated Symptoms and Normal Variants, because it appears “to be associated with prolonged expiration, usually during REM sleep. However, some studies have documented catathrenia during Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep.”4

References

  1. Mahowald MW, “Other Parasomnias,” in Kryger M, Roth T, Dement W (ed.), Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (5th Edition), St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders, 2011, pages 1198-1105.
  2. Vetrugno R, Provini F, Plazzi G, Vignatelli L, Lugaresi E, Montagna P. Catathrenia (nocturnal groaning): a new type of parasomnia. Neurology. 2001;56:681-683.
  3. Mahowald MW, “Other Parasomnias,” in Kryger M, Roth T, Dement W (ed.), Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (5th Edition), St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders, 2011, pages 1198-1105.
  4. American Academy of Sleep Medicine, International Classification of Sleep Disorders (Third Edition), Darien, IL: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 2014.