I am not a professional, only a victim of the strange adrenaline surges at night. I found something that comes as close to a curse as anything can, at least for me.
For the last two weeks I haven’t been able to get to sleep. I was going nuts. I would start to drift off, then a surge of adrenaline would wash over me and that would be the end of sleep. Determination or laziness would keep me trying to sleep all night until I would drift off for a few hours out of sheer exhaustion. Not enough sleep, if it was sleep at all, but at least I was able to function.
I started trying all the usual suspects in sleepless remedies. Chamomile tea, over the counter sleep aids. No good. While watching a TV show, I was envious of the characters that had pot because of how relaxed they looked and how easily they went to sleep. Still, my faith and regard for my health would not let me turn to drugs or drink. Whatever was going on, I needed to solve it or suffer.
In my search for help, one piece of advice was very important to get started with. Whatever is happening is not meant to hurt you. The affects hurt, certainly, but the root of the problem is not meant to hurt you. I’ll explain in my theory. My theory is that something happened to trigger the adrenaline surge the first time. For me, I can’t remember what it was. That’s why this was so baffling to me. I don’t know what started it. But fear of it happening again, of not getting to sleep again, triggered a response from my mind. If sleep was going to be a problem, then it was going to help me out with that. (The mind is an amazing and complicated organ.) See it like the immune system deciding to attack some part of the body. It happens, and the affects are harmful, but it was just a response to something body thought it had to defend against. So my mind set up an alarm system. If I began to sleep it would send out adrenaline to keep me awake. Even when I was so desperately tired I couldn’t have been afraid of anything, the alarm system was still set up in my mind. It got to where even thinking about sleep would bring on the surges.
It was that last side effect that really led me to understand what was happening. And using advice I gleaned from countless anxiety websites and blogs, I talked to myself. Yeah, not something I thought would lead to a cure, but there it is. I knew I had to tell my mind that sleep was safe. My mind was confused and needed to be reset about sleep. So, last night I focused on all the happy memories of sleep. I repeated in my mind things like, “sleep is safe. Sleep is good.” I made sure to include the feelings of safety, comfort, peace. The memory of a truly comfortable spot in the bed, of clean soft sheets. I did this right as I was falling asleep until there was no response to the thought of sleep. And I am happy to say I got seven hours of peaceful sleep last night.
I really hope this helps someone out there. Not being about to find answers to this one was really frustrating and distressing. I would not wish this insanity on anyone.
If your cortisol rises during the day, instead of falling, it will give you the surge you are talking about and make you sleepless. I have this problem and take ashwagandha. This is an herb which normalizes cortisol. It is utterly harmless and has no side effects.
Tonight is my 4th episode with this, that is why I am up. Got sick of dozing off and feeling like this and waking up scared! I have been searching all type of stuff and finally i found this tonight!!! i can finally put a face to this madness. I thought I was having hot flashes or even worse, dying. My blood labs were all norm. So was the brain ct scan, chest and abdom xray. Docs looked at me like im crazy, saying they dont know what im talking about. Its my anxiety or stress, ect. But what Emud said makes perfectly good sense, ADRENILINE RUSH!!! Because as long as Im awake, I dont have this symptom at all, only when I drift off!! It does not even happen in a deep sleep, only when I drift off. Each episode starts with me drifting off, then I feel the heating sensation from my waist to the top of my head, my head sometimes feel under slight pressure, then my hand and arms sometimes feel tingly and numb, either in one arm/hand or both. I then almost instantly wake up heart racing, scared and weak feeling, like ive been through a fight. After Im awake, It goes away and I dont feel it until I try to doze off again or im so tired from fighting sleep, my body just gives in and I seem to fall asleep and it either doesnt happen or im too tired to notice it. I will be telling this to my doctor. I hope this helps somebody out there. If you have any questions or stories to share please add to this thread. I will be checking back often.
I say wow !! you describe it so good.
my drift offs feel like my mind is beeing detached from my body and all limbs get very numbed. scares me off. I'm over tired non-stop. I'm also aware of my celiac condition but this goes for a decade now and doctors look at me like I have a psychiatric disorder.
from time to time I get good old sleep but it is so seldom that I feel like a kid with b-day present.
now i'm trying to figure out adrenalin-histamine connection and hope to work this out, eventually.
Omg! You describe it exactly! I have been dealing with this since Dec 2013 after I attended 2 days of a Landmark Forum in the Philadelphia location (a mind strenthening course (curse!!) that my boss sent me to). At first it happened every time I tried to fall asleep. I would jerk forward. Eventually, with taking short naps during the day, after having one good experience, the next day would be better as far as the nap would go. After two years, seeing all doctors, (phychiatrist, neurologist, ENT,obgyn, etc) trying different drugs, and being diagnosed as Paranoia, I have gotten over all but the one or more often two adrenaline surges that happen every night an hour and a half after I fall asleep and at 2:30 am or 3:30am. I was up with nervous feeling all over and horrible thoughts. But once conscientious it seems to all disapate. I am going to try your herb recommendation. Ty!!!
The same thing has been happening to me - it started a couple of years ago when I had something stressful happening in my life - but as soon as this was over - it stopped. However it came back gradually/intermittently & recently it seems to be once a week or whenever I have something remotely stressful to do the next day (sometimes it's not even a stressful thing - just an event - yet I still get anxiety and adrenaline at night and that's it, no sleep all night. I've had the odd bout of insomnia in the past - but I took that for what it was, the odd case of insomnia. However now - as soon as I feel that I'm not going to sleep, it triggers anxiety and this racing heart all night. I don't even feel particularly anxious (probably subconsciously more than I think) but my heart won't let up - all night. I feel calm, but my heart is pounding and because the adrenaline is there, I've not a cats chance in hell of sleeping. I'm creating my own nightmare and cannot see how I can disassociate sleep with anxiety & adrenaline. It's exhausting. Breathing techniques do not work for me - I practice and try but it never does anything. All in need is for the adrenaline to be stopped - is there something you can take (that's not addictive) that can cap this surge - just break the cycle? Not sure on beta blockers, I'm also going to get put on the waiting list for CBT. Don't know what else I can do!
You are describing exactly how I've been feeling. I became very sick in December & January with multiple apts with multiple Dr's to try and figure out the problem. Finally, diagnosed with ulcers. Once I was on meds, the symptoms from those started to resolve. I had been having problems sleeping & eating, but once I started feeling better, I began sleeping again. For a few weeks...until the waking at night started again. I hadn't been able to truly pinpoint why, but what you said about possibly the anticipation of something stressful or even knowing that the next day would be busy, would subconsciously make me anxious. And now, I almost anticipate it every night. I get the same...waking out of a dead sleep with heart racing, arm(s) tingly, hands & body weak. Overall feeling just terrible and can't calm down. But, strangely enough, breathing normal. Not out of breath. But also cannot seem to calm my racing heart no matter what I try. I do take Xanax as needed but when I say as needed, I mean like 1/2 a pill a month. I really never need it. But, if I wake up like this, at times I've taken it and it will help me fall back asleep, but I'll wake feeling like I've been run over by a truck and heart still racing.
What's really weird is that I had company at my house and had given up my bed for 2 nights. I slept in my sons bed, him on the floor. Guess what? Slept completely through the night! So is it partly association with my bed and all the sleepless nights when I was sick???
How in the world do I/we break this horrible cycle??? It's very frustrating! And I've too been to ALL the Dr's. All bloodwork and tests, scans are normal. I am scheduled to get a sleep study and see an endocrinologist for thyroid/hormones too. Maybe that'll provide answers. Keep posting updates!!
Prayers for all of you that are dealing with this. I know how I feel and would not wish this on anyone!! I'm sorry to see so many others are suffering too!
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