For the past couple of years, with frequency increasing lately, I have been jumping out of my sleep several times throughout the night. Most times, it occurs within the first couple of hours of sleep. It occurs in a variety of ways: I'll experience brain zaps; I gasp for breath; I woke up choking (although I credit that to acid reflux); I feel a heavy feeling in my chest and shiver out of sleep. All of this results in short-term panic and an extremely rapid heart rate.
A little background about me: I am a 25 year old male, 6'0" 200 pounds, although I work out 4 times a week and I am more muscular than overweight. My only real medical issues have been heart palpitations in the past, usually brought on by anxiety, stress, or post-drinking. I also have severe allergies. Moreover, years ago, I had surgery for a deviated septum, but now, I feel like I breathe worse. My nose is continually clogged. No real mental issues, but sometimes I experience anxiety and I have an extreme unfounded fear of death, which usually comes out more so at night.
I don't have medical insurance at this point, but when I get it, I will surely get a sleep study. At this point, my self-diagnosis is part sleep apnea, part anxiety. I imagine my shortness of breath during sleep leads me to gasp for air and my subconscious anxiety manifests the fear of death, causing my mind to panic and heart to race, as I initially think I'm dying.
My question: does this sound like it could be an accurate assessment? Or does it sound like I'm leaning more towards either sleep apnea or anxiety issues that prevent me from sleeping? And finally, will waking up several times throughout the night with a rapidly beating heart increase my risk for heart disease? And is there any actual potential of having a heart attack from such a rapid beat?