For tabooistic reasons mostly. :) People would avoid calling the unclean force by name in order not to attract it, and this is why certain demonic beings are often known by many names even in the same culture. Gniutka/Gniotka seems to be derived from the verb gnieść 'to stifle' and it shows the main function of the creature – to suffocate sleeping people at night.

It seems I have found an exact masculine counterpart of your gniotkagnotek from Eastern Poland. The source is The ethnolinguistic dictionary of N.I.Tolstoj and T.A.Agapkina , and it also mentions gnieciuch and gniolek* from Małopolska. These names are all derived from the aforementioned verb, and in any case the demon is the same as zmora.

*Could be "gniotek" as well, my pdf is in bad quality and I can't recognise the letter:

Wow. Thanks a lot.  :)
That's exactly the kind of information I was looking for and it makes a lot of sense. My father didn't grew up far away from Małopolska so it's probably possible that the people there had the same beliefs…

Random: For anybody who wants to know more about the Utopiec/Utopek, according to my father he also put the souls of the drowned into clay-jars.


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