Avatar universal

Please help! Strange sensations when felling asleep

I had a very unsettling experience while trying to sleep last night. As I was drifting off into sleep, I had the sensation that my heart had stopped. Twice. I know that is very much impossible as the moment I open my eyes the sensation is gone, but it freaked me out nonetheless. Along with this feeling, I involuntarily swallow, which could be what I'm feeling all along but I have no idea. There's also this weird sort of "rush" that goes through my body when this happens. I have really bad anxiety and just started taking Celexa yesterday. I also have Ativan which I take .5mg of if I really need to which I did last night which seemed to help me fall asleep.
I woke up today feeling very weak and achy. I don't know if it's from the stress or if something actually happened to me in my sleep.
Please if anyone has any sort of advice or similar experiences, they'd be much appreciated. I've been terrified of sleeping since my anxiety started up a few weeks ago. I'm so scared now that my heart will stop in my sleep. I have no diseases or any sort - I had an EKG which turned out normal as well as normal blood tests. I don't smoke, drink or do any sort of drugs.
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Avatar universal
This is EXACTLY how I felt last night and as it has happened to me about 3 or 4 times in the past I now think I know why it happensd to me......

The last 2 times it happened, I drank coffee late at night and last night I drank hot chocolate. Coffee and tea tends to keep me awake and last night I actually said to myself I should not drink this because of what happened last time but I drank it anyway.

It is very scarey and reading your report has made it very clear that the sensation must be that of my body shutting down, feeling that my heart is stopping, unable to move my hands although after really trying very hard I did move them and finally after desperately trying to wake up I did.

Not a nice feeling. Hope my experience helps others too.
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1710576 tn?1308190441
I have had simular episodes of that you described. And the other responses you got were very informative.I did some research a while back for my insomnia, and came across a paragraph or two on this chemical that is produced by your body to inhibate you from acting out your dreams, I feel my levels somehow get thrown off from time to time, and give me some really lucid dreams, most very scary, but like someone else said "sleep paralyse" I forget the name of the chemical, but I am sure you would find it interesting at the least,good luck, Rich
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Avatar universal
Hi and hope you are doing well.

Your symptoms could occur with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. When a person normally sleeps the airways are usually patent allowing normal passage for air entry. The upper airway that is at the region of the tongue and the soft palate is the most compliant (soft) part. In some people this is liable to collapse and cause airway obstruction.

As the air way collapses the lungs do not have air entry leading to deoxygenation (decreased oxygen) of blood and the person wakes up. This period of non entry of air is called ‘Apnea’ and the waking up is called an ‘Arousal’. This keeps alternating and the person may not actually wake up all the time, but these repeated arousals can disturb the sleep architecture and cause fatigue, headaches and daytime sleepiness.

This is diagnosed by a polysomnogram (sleep test). Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea is by CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) where air under gentle pressure is passed into the airways keeping it patent.

I would advise you to discuss your symptoms with your primary care physician who may then refer you to a sleep specialist for further evaluation. Warm regards.
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1670856 tn?1316773768
Hi there.
Well could be. But am no expert in Sleep Apnea. . . .

Just wondering. . . . Could sleep apnea happen before you fall asleep?

Cause in the state im suggesting, your actually getting these symptoms/reaction before you fall asleep.

(lets say mid between awake and asleep)-

Sleep apnea for me sounds like something that happens during sleep.- May it be after 1 second you have fallen asleep or 1 hour.

So just want to understand this,.

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Avatar universal
Hi, I've just joined up and although I've posted my own health query, I hope I can give something back as I established a Non-profit org in the UK some years ago to help/support people with Narcolepsy and other sleep disorders.
Sideways, in answer to what you ara describing, I would suggest that you ask your GP to refer you to a specialist in respiratory disorders; my thinking is that what you are describing, could possibly be due to sleep Apnoea. There are two types of sleep apnoea; Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (which is the more common) and another which is basically caused by something within the central nervous system (I believe?) I am not a medical professional, so please don't take my word as any kind of diagnosis. I just think that Sleep Apnoea could be a possibility and is relatively easy to diagnose and treat. (If your medical practitioner thinks to investigate along this line, suprisingly, many don't consider sleep disorders). Good Luck. Best wishes, Cat
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1670856 tn?1316773768
Hi there. First off I can only guess I know how you feel-. (Its hard to point at a diagnosed anxiety patient and say "I know how you feel"- Cause we all feel differently and we all are convinced we are feeling something different. "

But I might be able to give you some calm.

I, and many in here have reported that same feeling.
And while many think my suggestion is silly, i urge you to read about it.

In short I would say your experiencing a effect from sleep paralysis.
(most will experience this once or twice in a lifetime, while others quite often)-

So you can either google that, or read a post I made on the subject where Ive tried to go into as much detail as I could.


In short your actually consciously aware of how your body shuts down for sleep.
Something that really is not that normal, since you normally just drift of unknowing youve fallen asleep. So imagine you could feel how you went from AWAKE to SLEEPING.
Thats scary.

Why you get this now? No idea. But seams that its more likely to happen with Anxiety diagnosed people due to a chaotic sleep pattern and a mind filled with worries.

It might also be the meds your taking thats giving you this issue.

But remember I AM NOT A DOCTOR- So dont take my word as facts.-
But read the link I gave you and see what you think. It might make you want to research further.

Good Luck, and feel free to ask anything If needed.
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