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Avatar universal

Develop rapid heart rate while sleeping

I have had three episodes now during the middle of the night that are terrifying. (One was just while laying around) Out of a dead sleep I will awaken and my heart is racing so fast I can't even count the beats.  I start trembling and shivering and feel very weak.  The first time it only lasted about 5 minutes.  Last night it lasted almost 30-40 minutes before it would slow down.  I was so close to going to the ER, but was afraid the minute the ambulance showed up it would be normal again.  I had heard if you hold your nose and mouth shut and try to blow that causes your heartbeat to slow down...well that didn't work...Finally I decided to take a xanax and within about 2 minutes it slowed down.  I can't believe the xanax worked that quick, but after that I was ok and could go back to sleep.  This morning I awoke and feel like I have run a marathon.  Very shaky, weak feeling and tired.  This was so scary and I'm afraid it will happen again, but next time my husband might be out of town and I'll be alone.  I don't want to seem like a hypochondriac and run to the ER every time this happens but it really has me worried. I had a dr. appt last week and mentioned to him about the one when I was laying around and that it only lasted about 10 minutes and he said it was probably just an adrenalin rush, mostly because I do tend to have anxiety problems to start with.  What would cause this while sleeping.  I had no problems before going to bed.  How could anxiety bother you while sleeping?  I had worked in the yard earlier in the day and really pushed my heart rate up for a few minutes and had to go lay down and rest for a minute, but after that felt fine.  Could the exercise earlier in the day had caused this 12 hours later?  Can adrenaline really effect you in this way with rapid heart rate and palipatations versus being a true heart problem?  Sorry for all the questions, but I am so scared it's probably adding to my symptons now.  Please don't just tell me to go see my dr.  He thinks I'm a head case now as it is.  These are true symptons and it's not all in my head.  Thx for your advice.
35 Responses
Avatar universal
This rapid heart rate may be in response to adrenalin suring a dream that you have had and that things were exacerbated the more your worried about the symptoms.  You may continue to try the Xanax.  I wont tell you to see your md, but iff things continue or if you have symptoms (dizzyness) with this, i would recommend that in the future.
Avatar universal
I have the same thing happen to me, but add to it I get a warm sensation starting at my feet and moving through my body up to my head and my heart is racing.  I get up and walk around, but they seem to be lasting longer than they used to.  It makes me so nervous and I'm sure that adds to the problem.  I am completely worn out the next two days when this happens during the night.
Avatar universal
thank you for sharing your experiences.
Avatar universal
When I read your post, I felt as if I could have written it myself.  In the past month I have had the exact same thing happen to me.  The first time it happened I had woken up just a few minutes earlier, I noticed that my heart skipped a beat then went into a very rapid heartbeat, it lasted 17 minutes.  Then  in the past couple weeks, I have awoken twice with a rapid heartbeat, it was beating  very fast and hard, the type of beat you get when you have just finished exercising.  Both of these times it lasted between 3-5 minutes, it terrified me so bad, and I am sure that my increased anxiety at this  time was only making the matter worse.  During these times I did not experience any other symptoms such as dizziness, chest pains or shortness of breath.  The rest of the day I felt kind of tired, I think when you get something that scares you as much as this, it can make you feel worn out.  I'm 36 and I try to take good care of myself by eating a low fat - high fiber diet, I do not drink, smoke, or have any caffiene in my diet.  The last time I had my cholesteral checked about 6 months ago it was 140.  From what I have read it seems like anxiety and stress can cause this.  I have always been a VERY anxious person, there are days where as soon as I wake up I feel jittery, those are the days I try to  keep busy.  But I always feel like I am "on edge" for no particular reason.  I am not on medication for my anxiety, I try to just deal with it, but some days are hard.  But ever since I have had these episodes of rapid heartbeat, I have been extremely anxious.  I have family that live about 2 hours away, I would drive there every week, but since this has happened, I am worried about driving that far.  As I mentioned, I don't get any dizziness, but if the rapid heartbeats happened while I was driving I might get so scared I'd bring on a panic attack or something.  I know exatly what you are going through with the anxiety and worry that accompanies this. I wake up every morning feeling like I am waitng for something to happen, and when another day passes and I have no problems, i feel better.  I just wanted to let you know you are not alone with what you are going through, I think that helps alot.  I know after I read your post and many other on this site, I felt much better.  If you want to communicate further about this feel free to email me at ***@****  
                                            Good Luck,
                                                 Lynn
Avatar universal
Dear Lynn,

Thank you for sharing your experiences.
Avatar universal
O my God...I cannot believe people are experiencing the exact same attacks I have been.  I have never written in a forum such as this but I am baffled by these experiences because I have been experiencing the exact same thing.  The last three night I have woken to go to the bathroom with my heart over 100bpm (easily) and have gone into full blown panic attacks because of it.  I was diagnosed with Supra Ventricular Tachychardia four years ago but this seems different.  When I get the tachychardia I usually feel a skipped beat and then my hear will go off into an irregular fast rate for anywhere from one to thirty minutes.  But what's been happening in my sleep is clearly different.  It's my natural heart beat but just extremely rapid.  I have been precribed ativan for my anxiety issues in the past but rarely take it.  I took a half when this happened and my heart settled down along with the rest of my body which makes me think this is definitely anxiety related.  It is the scariest feeling in the world and I too am scared to be alone at night or drive far distances since this has been happening.  I've avoided the ER thus far since I see a cardilogist every 6 months and have been reassured my heart is fine- but after all the tests (echo stress, echocardiogram etc...) I am still not convinced:(  It does make me feel better to know others have had the same experiences.  I'm still so scared now to sleep because of it- it seems to happen all the time now.
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Hello all
I have been experiencing this for 2 months and yes it is terrifying! Mine has been related to iron deficient anemia but I have been taking the iron for 3 weeks now and the symptoms have seemed to return with a vengeance iwas up all nite!  I do drink coffee and smoke but I cannot do it anymore it is too bad I hope the symptoms go away as suddeny as they came.  My doc upped my iron doseage.  Good luck everyone my heart is racing right now!
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i have anxiety probs too and im not medicated either and also wake upto a rapid heart rate! evn if i nap thru tha day sumtimes its only happend a few times but enuf to get me worried.. i consider myself to be relativly stress free at tha moment n not feelin anxious at all n iv jus woken from a day nap wit a rapid heart n its only jus slowed down after bout 20 mins, i try not ti stress n think why its happening while its happening cos thatl end in a panic attack for sure! does anyone no why this happens? by reading all these comments it def seems anxiety related.. good to no im not tha only one thinkin im gona have a heartattack n die!!
Avatar universal
Hey Im having these exact same things happen to me I awoke after a somewhat intense dream and I shot up out of bed with my heart beating so fast and hard that it was the worst pain Ive ever felt which lasted for 5-6 minutes and my heart continued to race for 30 minutes and slowed after controled breathing. Im only 16 male and in very good shape working out and runing every day should I be concerned???????
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Has anyone come up with a solution?
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I'm 31 and have been experiencing these exact same problems.  I experience these rapid heart beats mostly at nite when I try to rest and fall asleep.  Sometimes it happens out of nowhere, and other times,I think "what if is gonna happen now?" And sure enought, just by thinking about it, it happens! I feel that I do tend to be a little anxious at times, and I do get stressed...I'm a mom of 2 young boys,both under 10 yrs old, and I'm also a student.  I've been trying to maintain good health and an excercise regiment, I run 2 miles every day, and eat a low cal,low carb,high protein diet...why is this happenning to me? I feel paranoid that I may be ill...I haven't seen a doc in 3 yrs since  my insurance is expired and I can't afford any right now...that being said, who knows what could be wrong.  I'm really scared. One things for sure, it does feel good to know I'm not alone.  
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