Aa
A
A
Close
Avatar universal
possible answer to adrenaline surges at night
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.  
Cancel
10 Answers
Page 1 of 1
757137 tn?1347200053
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.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
1837563 tn?1339907400
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.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Hi

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.

best regards,
Luka
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
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!!!
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
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!  
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
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!
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Beta blockers work good . My doc gave me a beta blocker  which co trips the high heart rate too . Mine is because of the high rate . Trying this beta blocker for like 3 days now . Do get the surges but not with those intensity . But I do have insomnia whhere I take a lil bit of this sleeping pill . Sleep 9 hours .  
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Well for me it always happened so I went to the bathroom then it stopped, it seems like it happens from holding iron inside which causes your adrenaline to rush. It wouldn't stop anytime it happens until you dispose of urine so I recommend going to the bathroom until you feel like you are calming down, take deep breaths, think about anything that is a happy memory (may sound weird.ut works) and drink water because your body needs to be hydrated or else your adrenaline rushes, also if you feel like your stomachs is empty which can cause it too, eat a little snack like yogurt to help.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Hey guys i know im late however i was experiancing the same problems as you guys for months i was mentally and physically exhausted until i went to a differant gp my old gp gave me sleeping pills and benzodiazepines however my new gp gave me a beta blocker called nebiliit it slows you heart and works in you adrenal gland to control it. As i said it is called nebillit in austrlia not sure about us its non addictive and dozent have bad side effects give it a try.guys !!
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I have the same thing now for over a month. Just at the exact moment of falling asleep I awake in a panic. I think the original poster is correct and some how your brain perceives sleep as unsafe and is trying to protect you. I'm going to try some his methods because this is unbelievable hell.

Also regarding beta blockers they can work for many for panic attacks. They prescribed me propranolol I took 10mg and worked the first night I slept for 12 hours. I developed a quick tolerance though and after the second night never worked again. I even tried multiplying the dose up to six times. Then I threw in the towel.

If I can't get this resolved I'm considering putting a bullet in my head. Yes it's that bad.

Also want to recommend 3 things that help for other people

1) a supplement called seriphos you can get on Amazon. It supposed to successfully block cortisol surges.

2) inositol. There's studies done on it's effectiveness for many things including panic and anxiety disorders.

3) l theanine.  It possibly increases seratonin and blocks adrenaline but it's unclear. Nevertheless it's working for many with sleep and anxiety disorders.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I have been having these surges and I think I have figured out the cause. If your blood glucose drops too low at night it creates an increase in adrenaline to increase glucose in the blood. This can happen in non-diabetics too. Adrenaline is a stress response and increases anxiety. People with more stress have flexuating blood sugar and are more sensitive. Try eating a protein, fat and starchy vegetable right before bed. This might be another full meal for some people. Some may also require another balanced snack at about 1 am. It is also helpful to do some belly breathing to help you relax since most of us are dealing with high amounts of stress. If you need a little more help, take a tsp of Magnesium Citrate CALM in 1/4 cup of water. It is a natural beta blocker and is essential for most bodily functions. Most of us are deficient in Magnesium anyway and this type calms nerves in about 10 minutes. Good luck everyone!!
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
A good idea if you want acid reflux along with your anxiety -- lying down right after eating will give you GERD, as if it weren't bad enough to have an emotional problem.  This won't happen to everyone, but anxiety sufferers are notoriously subject to digestive disorders.  If your blood glucose is dropping that low you have a health problem, and need to see a doctor to see if you have diabetes or hypoglycemia.  People have been sleeping, well, since there were people, and this doesn't obviously happen or there wouldn't be any people left.  Also, adrenaline isn't one thing -- the adrenal gland excretes more than one hormone.  The one you're thinking of is cortisol, but it doesn't increase anxiety, it's a response to it.  Nobody knows why some of us have this problem when there's no reason to use this fight or flight hormone, but it's thought the problem lies in the primitive brain in the amygdyla.  We'll see.  Know that eating fat before bed, well, that's the hardest thing to digest, and protein requires the production of acid to be digested, increasing the chance of developing at best acid stomach and at worst GERD.   The magnesium idea is a better one, but it seldom has a very strong effect on people with a bad anxiety disorder.  It does, however, help with relaxing muscles, which taking antidepressants can tighten.  But don't take it within a few hours of taking medication if you're on medication for the brain, because they use the same pathways to get to the brain and can block one another's absorption.  
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
You may be suffering from adrenal fatigue. I was diagnosed with this since having adrenaline surges when trying to sleep, I cannot say that I completely got rid of the symptoms but there are days where I feel better and can sleep with no interruptions. Hope we all can get thru this.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
This is a very old post, but in your case, who diagnosed you with adrenal fatigue?  How do they know you're having adrenaline surges?  If you read the answers to this post, just because you get nervous or agitated at night it doesn't mean you're having extra emissions of adrenaline, and you probably aren't.  At any rate, there are ways to work on your adrenals but you won't find them with your doctor.  You might find them with natural medicine.  There is a class of herbs that has been used for centuries call adaptogens.  Athletes use them quite a bit, but they are a big part of natural medicine outside of Europe.  You might try using ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic herb that many find helpful for sleep and is a calming adaptogen rather than a stimulating one.  Eleuthero is also helpful for many.  Holy Basil is pretty good at reducing cortisol production and is again a calming adaptogen.  Again, I doubt you're really having adrenaline surges, but maybe you do have a weak adrenal gland for some other reason.  The adrenal gland does go into overdrive when you have a full fledged anxiety attack, called the fight or flight response, but that's not the same as agitation or nervousness.  At any rate, exercise and a good diet and use of adaptogens can balance the adrenals and at least help with the physiological part of anxiety.
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Your Answer
Avatar universal
Answer
Do you know how to answer? Tap here to leave your answer...
Answer
Answer
Post Answer
A
A
Recent Activity
Avatar universal
Blank
Shadowfluffy6 added the Menstrual Cycle Tracker
20 hrs ago
317787 tn?1473362051
Blank
Dee1956 commented on NA
Dec 10
649848 tn?1484935765
Blank
Dee1956, and Barb135 commented on KeeLolo's status
Dec 10
Top Anxiety Answerers
Avatar universal
Blank
Arlington, VA
370181 tn?1428180348
Blank
Arlington, WA
Avatar universal
Blank
973741 tn?1342346373
Blank
675718 tn?1449992146
Blank
El Paso, TX
Anxiety Community Resources
Top Anxiety Answerers
Avatar universal
Blank
Arlington, VA
370181 tn?1428180348
Blank
Arlington, WA
Avatar universal
Blank
973741 tn?1342346373
Blank
675718 tn?1449992146
Blank
El Paso, TX