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Why Does My Heart Rate Go Up At Night

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Obstructive Sleep Apnea As A Model Sleep Disorder

Heart Palpitations at Night

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by repetitive cessations of respiratory flow for at least 10s. Typically sleep apnea events last for 3060s. The respiratory cessations are owing to a collapse of the upper airways that are normally kept open during breathing. With the drop of muscular tone during the period of falling asleep in patients with sleep apnea there is a faster drop in muscular tone of the upper airways than the diaphragm and the accessory respiratory muscles. Thus with a continued muscular effort of breathing during sleep, the upper airways collapse when the negative intrathoracic pressure created for inspiration during each breath becomes too strong to keep the upper airways open. Each apnea ends with a central nervous activation , which reconstitutes the regulation of breathing. The arousal is caused by the drop in oxygen and the increase in carbon dioxide during the course of the apnea. These arousals remain below the level of wakefulness and are not noticed by the patient affected by sleep apnea. A patient with sleep apnea may have 600 single apnea events in one night. Not always the upper airway obstruction needs to be complete. A partial obstruction is called hypopnea. A patient suffers from sleep apnea if he has more than five apnea and hypopnea events per hour of sleep. This number is defined as the apnea-hypopnea index .

Figure 1

Sleep And Congestive Heart Failure

Damage to the heart that hurts its ability to pump blood is called congestive heart failure . Sleep disorders can be both a cause and an effect of CHF. The low oxygen levels and high blood pressure related to obstructive sleep apnea can cause the kind of damage that leads to CHF. The heart muscle is unable to handle the stress caused by the OSA. People who have CHF from another cause will see it get worse if they then develop sleep apnea. If sleep apnea is treated, however, patients with CHF will see their heart function improve.

About 40% of people with CHF have a sleep disorder called central sleep apnea . CSA occurs when the brain fails to tell the lungs to breathe. As this signal is lost, the lungs do not take in the oxygen that your body needs. This happens most often as people are falling asleep. CSA also causes people to wake up many times in the night. When they wake up, their heart rate and blood pressure both rise.

The low levels of oxygen that result from CSA are very harmful. The result is that CSA may worsen heart failure. In return, the heart failure may promote CSA. This causes a horrible cycle of declining heart function. Properly treating the heart failure is the best way to prevent CSA. If CSA still develops, there are treatments that can be used to keep it from occurring.

Natural Reaction To Alcohol

However, alcohol can still increase your heart rate without being intolerant to alcohol. Your body may be experiencing a natural reaction to alcohol. Alcohol makes your blood vessels dilate and get larger, which makes the heart pump more blood to keep the same amount in the body. To do this, itll need to pump harder and faster to keep the same amount of blood circulating.

This reaction can also make people feel hot when they drink alcohol, because more warm blood is closer to the surface of the skin. It can also make your skin look a little flushed and make you feel sweaty. However, these symptoms dont automatically mean you have Asian Flush or alcohol intolerance. In many cases, this can happen to anyone who drinks alcohol.

However, to make things confusing, feeling hot and flushed are also symptoms of Asian Flush. To distinguish between the two, Asian Flush symptoms are usually felt immediately after drinking alcohol and are typically accompanied by other negative symptoms like headaches and dizziness.

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What Can Cause Heart Racing At Night

1. Nightmares or Night Terrors

If you suddenly wake up with yourheart racing, you may have been experiencing nightmares. This symptom may be accompanied by fast breathing and sweating on the forehead. People who have night terrors usually remain asleep throughout their experience and do not remember their dreams, but they may experience rapid heartbeats. Although nightmares or night terrors are harmless, they can disrupt sleep or lead to some injury if they occur often.

2. Emotional Triggers

Heart racing at night can also be due to emotional triggers. Rapid heart rates are often triggered by emotional factors such as anxiety, stress or excitement, all of which increase the amount of adrenaline produced by the body.

3. Hormonal Changes in Period, Pregnancy and Menopause

Hormonal and other bodily changes during menstrual periods, pregnancy and menopause can cause your heart to beat faster. Fortunately, if you are otherwise healthy, these changes are temporary and will not cause serious problems.

4. Certain Medications or Substance

You may be taking certain medications that cause heart racing at night. Palpitation is a common side effect of many medications. Drugs medications used to treat high blood pressure and asthma, for example, often cause your heart to beat rapidly. Besides, the consumption of spicy foods, caffeine, nicotine alcohol and recreational drugs can also make your heart beat faster. Such an effect may be more obvious at night when your body rests.

When Heart Rate Or Rhythm Changes Are Minor

Had a very fast heart rate (up to 120 bpm) during my sleep ...

Many changes in heart rate or rhythm are minor and do not require medical treatment if you do not have other symptoms or a history of heart disease. Smoking, drinking alcohol or caffeine, or taking other stimulants such as diet pills or cough and cold medicines may cause your heart to beat faster or skip a beat. Your heart rate or rhythm can change when you are under stress or having pain. Your heart may beat faster when you have an illness or a fever. Hard physical exercise usually increases your heart rate, which can sometimes cause changes in your heart rhythm.

Natural health products, such as goldenseal, oleander, motherwort, or ephedra , may cause irregular heartbeats.

It is not uncommon for pregnant women to have minor heart rate or rhythm changes. These changes usually are not a cause for concern for women who do not have a history of heart disease.

Well-trained athletes usually have slow heart rates with occasional pauses in the normal rhythm. Evaluation is usually not needed unless other symptoms are present, such as light-headedness or fainting , or there is a family history of heart problems.

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Q: Im Experiencing Afib At Night Should I Be Worried

A: Its not uncommon for atrial fibrillation to occur at night. The nerves that control your heart rate typically are in sleep mode, and thats when your resting heart rate drops. Under these conditions, pacemaker activity from areas other than the normal pacemaker in the heart can trigger the onset of AFib.

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In addition, many patients with AFib have an underlying issue of obstructive or central sleep apnea. If you are frequently sleepy during the daytime, that is especially likely to be the case. If you suffer from AFib, sleep apnea can disrupt the hearts rhythms. This is a dangerous combination.

To help treat sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend continuous positive airway pressure or other devices that may help to reduce the frequency and burden of AFib.

Heart Racing At Night: Common Causes And Treatment Options

Many blood pressure and asthma medications can lead to a racing heart rate, By looking at your resting heart rate curve, it can cause dangerous health conditions such as heart failure, and you need to know whats going on.Why Do I Have Heart Palpitations at Night?Heart palpitations at night occur when you get the feeling of a strong pulse in your chest, no heavy exertion, but they shouldnt be taken lightly, all of which increase the amount of adrenaline produced by the body, Youre just lying there in bed, cause for concern is not 100% definable by age.

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When A Person Is Drunk Does His Heart Beat Rate Change

As mentioned above, your heart rate can change when a person is drunk for a variety of reasons. It could be because you have an intolerance to alcohol and your body is experiencing negative symptoms from this condition. Otherwise, it may be that your body is trying to pump enough blood through your now-dilated blood vessels.

You may also experience a changed heart beat when drunk because the body is dehydrated and might experience some level of increased adrenaline. Stress, caffeine and lack of sleep can all make this reaction more exaggerated and trigger an adrenaline response.

Its the difference between being drunk with friends in a calm, relaxed environment or being stressed while drinking alone. With your friends, your adrenaline and stress is decreased, so you dont notice as many negative symptoms. Whereas if your stress and adrenaline is high when drinking alone, you may feel your heart rate increase.

Treating Sleep Apnea To Reduce The Risk Of Heart Disease

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Talking to a doctor about sleep apnea is an important step that anyone can take to protect their heart health. If a person is diagnosed with sleep apnea, treatments are often effective. Treatment for sleep apnea depends on the type of sleep apnea detected and may include:

  • Lifestyle changes: Doctors may begin by informing patients about lifestyle changes that may reduce the severity of this condition. Weight loss, exercise, limiting alcohol, quitting smoking, and even changing your sleeping position may be helpful.
  • Positive airway pressure devices: PAP devices pump air through the airway, preventing the upper airway from collapsing during sleep.
  • Mouthpieces and oral appliances: Oral appliances reduce disordered breathing by changing the position of the jaw, tongue, or other part of the body thats constricting the airway.
  • Mouth and throat exercises: Depending on the cause of a persons sleep apnea, special exercises of the mouth and throat may help tone these muscles, making them less likely to interfere with breathing during sleep.
  • Surgery: Surgery for sleep apnea may involve changing parts of the body that cause airway constriction or implanting devices that causes tightening of the muscles around the airway.
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Oura Helped Me Realize I Was Having An Afib Episode

I was lucky this time Im told that the one thing we really know about Atrial Fibrillation is that once you have it, you will most likely get it again. So, the next time my Oura Ring shows me signs, I wont doubt it Ill be getting checked out straight away.

Anne is a very active 61-year-old wife, mother of three, and grandmother of six, who also works full time in a very busy IT environment. With a grown-up family, and young grandchildren to keep up with, Anne is keen to stay fit and healthy. She enjoys weekly weight training and taking on big challenges such as Open Water Swims, Stair Climbs, Fun Runs, and Charity Walks.

Anne is also one of Ouras earliest users, having used both the 1st and 2nd generation rings. She started using Oura when she was in perfect health, but now shes using her ring a bit differently to keep an eye out for signs of atrial fibrillation , an irregular heartbeat that can increase risks of other heart-related problems as well as stroke.

Tips For Improved Sleep

When youre sound asleep, your body is wide awake. Welcome its feedback, listen closely to what it has to say, and take steps towards optimizing your sleep.

Use the following tips to help boost your sleep routine:

  • Try to wake up at the same time seven days a week.
  • Time your meals mindfully late meals may show up as the Downward Slope.
  • If your sleep pattern is optimal , take notes. Think about what you did the previous day and continue to make similar choices.

Read More About What Your Sleeping Heart Rate Can Tell You:

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Your Thyroid Is In Overdrive

Your thyroid gland produces various hormones, like thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which affect a ton of your bodys systems, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you have hyperthyroidism, your thyroid is overactive and produces too much thyroxine, which in turn speeds up your bodys metabolism too much. This can result in a rapid or irregular heartbeat, along with symptoms like an increased appetite and sudden weight loss. There are plenty of medications out there to treat hyperthyroidism, including beta blockers to specifically address your quick heart rate.

Inconsistent Bedtimes Linked To Higher Resting Heart Rate

Fitbit shows how a break

An elevated resting heart rate is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

But how long we slumber is not the only determinant of a healthy nights sleep. Research has also linked large swings in when we fall asleep with poorer cardiovascular health, even if the total hours we sleep remain the same.

Why fluctuating bedtimes affect our cardiovascular health is not yet clear, but a new study has identified one possible factor: a higher resting heart rate. The study, published recently in the journal npj Digital Medicine, found that people who go to bed even 30 minutes later than their usual bedtime tend to have a higher resting heart rate throughout the night and often into the following day.

Thats potentially problematic. An elevated resting heart rate is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease. A 2019 study found, for example, that men at the age of 50 with a resting heart rate of more than 75 beats per minute were twice as likely to die of cardiovascular disease or any other cause during the next two decades than those with a resting heart rate of 55 beats per minute or less.

How the study was done

The devices kept track of more than 255,000 sleep sessions, measuring the students bedtimes, sleep duration and resting heart rate.

The most common bedtime was 1 a.m.-2 a.m. , followed by midnight-1 a.m. , 2 a.m.-3 a.m. and 11 p.m-midnight .

Key findings

The later the bedtime, the higher the increase in resting heart rate.

Consistency matters

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How Does Your Heart Rate Change While You Sleep

During sleep, the stimulation of your nervous system is reduced and most of your body processes slow down, says Dr. Lawrence Epstein, associate physician with the division of sleep and circadian disorders at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Womens Hospital.

Within about five minutes after you drift off to sleep, your heart rate gradually slows to its resting rate as you enter whats known as light sleep. Your body temperature drops and your muscles relax. People typically spend about half the night in light sleep. But during the next phase, deep sleep, your blood pressure falls and your heart rate slows to about 20% to 30% below your resting heart rate.

When you dream, you enter the sleep phase known as REM . Your heart rate can vary quite a bit during REM sleep because it reflects the activity level occurring in your dream. If your dream is scary or involves activity such as running, then your heart rate rises as if you were awake, says Dr. Epstein.

Tachycardia: How High Is Too High

“A resting heart rate that is frequently over 110 or occasionally over 140 can lead to heart damage or heart failure and may need to be treated,” Dr. Santucci says. According to the American Heart Association, the medical term for a heart rate above 100 is tachycardia. Symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Shortness of breath.

Although the range of normal for a resting and sleeping heart rate is wide, the Mayo Clinic says to let your doctor know if your resting heart rate is consistently above 100, especially if you have any symptoms of tachycardia.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Sudden Increase In Heart Rate

When the heart beats too quickly, it is not able to effectively pump blood to the other organs of your body. This may deprive the tissues and organs of your body of oxygen and may result in the following symptoms and signs related to tachycardia:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Heart palpitations, irregular, uncomfortable or racing heartbeat or flopping sensation in chest
  • Fainting or syncope

In some individuals, tachycardia may produce no symptoms and signs and the condition is discovered when a physical exam is conducted or during an electrocardiogram .

When to Visit Your Physician?

Symptoms of tachycardia and increased heart rate can be caused by numerous medical conditions. Its imperative to get accurate and prompt diagnosis of the condition and appropriate treatment. You should visit your physician if either your kid or you develop any symptoms of tachycardia.

If you develop a fainting episode, have difficulty in breathing or develop chest pain that lasts longer than few minutes, it is imperative to get immediate emergency medical care or you should call your local medical emergency number or 911. You should seek immediate emergency care if anyone else is having these symptoms.


The severity of complications of sudden increase in heart rate varies, depending on several factors including the kind of tachycardia, the duration and rate of tachycardia and presence of other problems of heart. Some of the possible complications are:

Youre Taking Some Kind Of Medication That Affects Your Heart

How to Stop Heart Palpitations. Naturally & Effectively.

If youve ever read a list of possible medication side effects, you probably know tons of them out there cause an elevated heart rate. Whether its related to osteoporosis, allergies, ADHD, or another condition, a lot of medications will increase circulating adrenaline and cause someone to feel like their heart is racing, Dr. Doshi says. This happens so often that doctors will often first ask which medications youre taking when you tell them your heart is beating too quickly. Depending on your medication and medical history, a racing heart can be expected or a sign that you might need to try a different option. Only a doctor can tell you for sure.

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