Why does a bad cold cause me to gasp for breath in the middle of the night?

bad breath
themandrill5 asked:

When I get a REALLY bad cold, occasionally i’ll wake up in the middle of the night unable to take a breath, or breath out, without EXTREME difficulty. It lasts about 30 seconds or so. My unprofessional guess is that post-nasal drip has triggered my epiglottis to close, but it’s really scary and i’m not sure if that’s the answer or not. What is it and what can I do about it?

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