Why does my heart palpitate at night? This question examines the causes, symptoms, risks, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of heart palpitations when you lay down to sleep. As such, heart palpitation is a feeling of a strong pulse in your chest, neck, or head. For instance, sleeping on your side may trigger palpitations at night. This is a result of the way your body builds up pressure internally.
What Is A Heart Palpitation?
Have you had the experience one time or another when you felt like your heart suddenly skipped a beat? Or that your heart was beating too hard or too fast? Or you felt like your heart was going to pop out of your mouth (my experience). This may mean you’ve had a heart palpitation.
While palpitations are not harmful all the time, they can still be a source of concern. The good news is that these abnormal heartbeats go away on their own without medication. Then again, medical treatment may be needed to prevent them from happening again.
Why Does My Heart Palpitate At Night?
The cause of heart palpitations is not usually identified, as they can happen anytime without a real reason. Nonetheless, some similar causes can be identified in people who have heart palpitations. These causes are in two categories: non-heart-related causes and heart-related causes.
- strong emotional feelings, including stress or fear
- apprehension, worry
- drinking too much caffeine, alcohol, or smoking excessively
- heroin and other illegal drug use
- hormonal changes due to pregnancy, menopause, or menstruation
- energetic exercise and extreme physical activity
- herbal or dietary supplements
- some medications like diet pills, decongestants, and asthma inhalers with stimulants
- illnesses like fever, dehydration, abnormal electrolyte levels
- medical concerns such as low blood sugar, low blood pressure, and thyroid disease
- food allergies
- inconsistent heartbeat
- heart attack
- coronary artery disease
- heart valve problems
- heart muscle problems
- heart failure
Risk Factors For Heart Palpitations
Risk factors for heart palpitations are strictly linked to possible causes. For example, one common cause of heart palpitations is intense emotional reactions like fear, anxiety, and stress. Moreso, if you have a high level of stress and anxiety, you’re at a higher risk of undergoing palpitations.
Other risk factors for heart palpitations include:
- anxiety disorder
- history of panic attacks
- pregnancy or hormonal changes medications, such as asthma inhalers, cough suppressants, and cold medicine
- having a heart condition that increases your risk, such as coronary heart disease, or a heart defect
- overactive thyroid
Symptoms Of Heart Palpitations
The symptoms of heart palpitations can be worrying if they’re sudden or unfamiliar. Symptoms include:
- a feeling like your heart is going to pop out of your mouth
- an irregular pulse or that your heart stopped briefly
- a trembling sensation in your chest
- a fast or pounding heart rate
When To Seek Help
Short and infrequent palpitations at night are generally harmless. Though, you should seek immediate medical attention if your heart palpitation is caused by an underlying heart condition. In such a situation you may experience fainting, cardiac arrest, stroke, or heart failure.
Going back to the topic, why does my heart palpitate at night? Getting an answer to this question means scheduling a visit to the doctor for a proper diagnosis. That is if you have concerns. Then the doctor can conduct a review of your medical history and may recommend a physical examination and tests, such as:
- stress test
- blood check
- ultrasound of your heart
- monitor your heart’s activity over a period of time
If your doctor thinks you have an underlying condition, more invasive studies will be conducted.
Treatment And Prevention
Treatment for heart palpitations depends on the cause. For most people, palpitations will go away on their own without any treatment. For others, treating the underlying cause of the palpitations can help stop or prevent them. The following tips may give relief from heart palpitations:
Stop being anxious
If anxiety or stress leads to heart palpitations, look for ways to reduce your worry. This may include activities such as meditation, gentle exercise, yoga, or tai chi. If these techniques aren’t enough, work with your doctor to find a medication that can ease symptoms of anxiety.
Remove tricky food and substances
Drugs, medications, and even foods can lead to palpitations. If you identify a substance that’s causing palpitations, eliminate it from your consumption. For example, cigarette smoking can lead to palpitations. Stop smoking for a period of time and see if the heart palpitations end.
Embrace healthy living
It’s crucial to take care of your body by staying hydrated, eating healthy, and getting regular exercise. These components of a healthy lifestyle will reduce your risk for heart palpitations.
Look for a cause-related treatment
Let’s assume your heart palpitations are due to an illness or disease, your doctor will work with you to find a suitable treatment. This treatment option may include medications and procedures.
Take a shot at relaxation techniques
Stress can trigger or worsen heart palpitations. This is because stress and restlessness can make your adrenaline spike. But managing your stress through relaxation can help. The good options include meditation, tai chi, prayer, and yoga.
Try a cold shower
You can take a cold shower or simply splash cold water on your face. Or apply a cold towel or icepack to your face for 30 seconds. Consequently, the jolt of the cold water will stimulate the vagus nerve which connects your brain to your heart.
Also, dehydration can cause heart palpitations. For the reason that your blood contains water. This means that when you become dehydrated, your blood becomes thicker. Therefore, the thicker your blood is, the harder your heart works to move it through your veins. This can increase your pulse rate and possibly lead to palpitations.
Hence, if you feel your pulse going a notch higher, reach for a glass of water. If you notice your urine is dark yellow, drink more fluids to prevent palpitations.
Restore electrolyte balance
Equally, some electrolytes that can benefit your heart health include potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium. These are better obtained through foods like avocados, bananas, sweet potatoes, and spinach. And eat more dark leafy greens, dairy products, nuts, and fish. Likewise, supplements may help restore electrolyte balance. Still, it’s wise to discuss with your doctor first.
Finally, why does my heart palpitate at night? The reasons why I get heart palpitations are now clearer. Firstly, I am afraid and anxious about the future. Secondly, I am stressing over the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown on my family and business. Then again as soon as I identified the reasons – fear, anxiety, and stress, the solutions became obvious. Subsequently, I tried to calm down with a more positive attitude to life. I know what I can control. And accept what I can’t. From then on, I noticed that the palpitations at night stopped.
In addition, it’s worth remembering that, while heart palpitations at night can be concerning, it’s likely nothing to be worried about. Since the palpitations will likely go away on their own without any lasting issues.
However, if these sensations continue and you’re worried they may be a sign of an underlying health issue, see your doctor. As tests can help your doctor eliminate any possible serious issues, find a diagnosis and a treatment.
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