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Tachycardia When Falling Asleep?

Something strange happens to me now and then. I will be falling asleep or asleep for no more than an hour when something sends my body bolting upright. I awaken as I am forced upwards, gasping for breath with the whole bed shaking from tachycardia - it is beating that fast and hard. Once I almost fainted within the first thirty seconds. When I wore the holter the cardiologist said I was having a tachycardia but didn't know what triggered it. Has anyone experienced this during that early phase of sleep (REM?) I wake up disoriented and sure I am dying and eventually I realize "oh, it's just that thing happening again". It's very terrifying when it happens though, especially when I am so out of it and can't think straight. By the way, I have never had tachycardia when I am awake (knock on wood).
66 Responses
Avatar universal
mmmm sounds like sleep apnea to me.. This is a disorder where you stop breathing in your sleep for short periods of time (Before you freak out its very common and will not hurt you). I wake up with a start, gasping frequently, because i have pretty bad sleep apnea, but im still alive. the tachycardia is probably from the shock of waking up so fast not being able to breathe right away.
Avatar universal
I have this same symptom , I will drift off to sleep , then suddenly be awaken gasping for air with palpatations , happened 10 times in a row one night.Somtimes I drift off to sleep , and I am awaken with a shaking arm or leg. I dont get it , doc says its Anxiety but I dont buy it.
171267 tn?1199874189
I have had this happen to me too mumerous times. Sometimes when I wake with the jolt my heart rate will be bradycardic then goes tachycardic. Sometimes it makes me feel absolutely terrible for about half an hour, especially if I was in a deep sleep. I too also think that I am dying when it happens and it takes a while for me to calm down. I have been advised that it is probably sleep apnea and intend to get this checked out in a couple of months - doctor does not seem concerned. What I have found that helps is sleeping on my stomach.
I have been there! They keep telling me its nothing. I am happy about that but I cant stand it! dont want to resort to sleeping pills either. Other than the palpitations that are not tachycardic, I fall asleep only to be awaken from not being to breathe! Annoying much!
170935 tn?1225374676
wow, can't believe you guys suffer from similar symptoms as me during sleep!!
i am always waking up panicking within the first 2 hours of sleep. sometimes i jolt awake but have no idea why. most of the times i jolt awake feeling like my heart has stopped or it's beating way too slow. as soon as i awake palpataions start.
i also have svt and have jolted awake like this and had an svt attack straight away. why does it only seem to happen during the first stage of sleep??
Avatar universal
sb, how do you know you where having an svt attack? Svt during sleep is EXTREMELY rare.. and when i say extremely rare, i mean EXTREMELY rare lol..What Seemsto be happening is alot of people suffering from a very common condition called sleep apnea, and working themselves into a panic over it..
Avatar universal
I did read that there is something about the transition into REM (probably getting this wrong) that triggers the tachycardia in some people. It's just so weird. I did mention sleep apnea to my doctor and he was skeptical.
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