This may happen for several causes and the cause depends on your other symptoms and your medical history and condition.
>>Are you obese or over weight ,do you have any allergy ,do you have any medical problem in your nose,any nasal obstruction ,or you have been diagnosed of big tonsil or big tongue ,if you have any of these you might be complaining of sleep apnea ,
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that can wake people up in the middle of sleep due to the possible obstruction of the breathing airway. The reasons of airway obstruction can range from excess tissue, weak airway muscles, position of the jaw, or a large tongue and tonsils. Be sure to seek the opinion of a sleep doctor if you suspect you have sleep apnea.
>>Do you have an akle swelling or you get tired of small activities or do you complain of sweating when you wake up suffocating ,rapid heart beats or any other complain ,then you might have a heart problem
Heart failure can cause shortness of breath that wakes a person up in the middle of the night. This condition is also known as paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, and can be fatal if left untreated. However, don’t immediately panic if you have one isolated gasping episode in the middle of the night
>>Do you sleep on your back and you have always some secretions stuck behind your tongue there in the throat ,nasal secretions can migrate down to the throat, which in turn, can block the airway especially if you sleep on your back the secretions will come there and clse the airways ,this case will be a nasal drip.
A post nasal drip For those prone to nasal allergies or have bad nasal colds, post nasal drip may be a familiar discomfort, and can definitely cause you to wake up in the middle of night, gasping for air.Since your throat sensors can notify the brain that the airway is blocked and oxygen cannot flow to the lungs, the brain would send signals to the chest muscles to cough and gasp for air. Thus, people wake up feeling like they are suffocating. Post nasal drip can usually be alleviated with antihistamines or nighttime cold medicine.
Do you complain of wheezing, shortness of breath and a sense of tightness in the chest when you wake up suffocating ,then it can be an asthma attack .
It is quite possible that gasping episodes in the middle of sleeping is caused by an asthma flare. During an asthma attack, the lining of the airway becomes swollen and thick mucus is produced, which in turn can cause air shortage. These episodes can be lessens by an inhaler, having regular exercise or medication from the doctor.
Have you suffer of any panic attack or have you been stressful at the days you wake up suffocating ,if you suffer beside waking up a shortness of breath or rapid heart beat and you are stressed then Sometimes, waking up in the middle of the night, is more of a psychological problem than a physical one. When a person is under extreme stress, suffers from anxiety or has panic attacks, it is very possible to suddenly wake up in the middle of the night .try to consult a psycologist.
all these causes might be the cause depending on your other symptoms ,look for your symptoms ,try to figure out what is happening before that day and the nature of your medical condition at that day what you eat what changes you have at that day ,....
IF this happens more often you must check with a doctor to see the underlying cause and treat it .