It is always frustrating for someone to experience feelings of a racing heart or heart palpitations. While this makes us uncomfortable, it can also be a potentially alarming problem that requires further investigation. If you experience the same symptoms, you might wonder about the reasons behind this issue.
They include anxiety, stress, and even hormonal imbalances. But in some cases, these heart issues might include more serious problems like sleep apnea. It is important to talk to your doctor if the problem does not disappear or you are experiencing severe symptoms.
This article will tell you why your heart is beating so fast while lying down and why it is resting at night when you can’t sleep. Additionally, we will include 10 reasons for racing palpitations so you can identify the causes better.
Reasons you wake up at night with your heart racing.
You might wake up at night with your heart racing for several reasons. These reasons include anxiety, stress, and even the side effects caused by certain medications. Below we will discuss the most common reasons in detail.
Reason #1 – You might have a heart arrhythmia
This condition is also known as irregular heartbeat, and it will make your heart beat too fast or too slow. Symptoms include a racing heart, dizziness, and even shortness of breath. Once these symptoms occur, it is time to investigate the issue seriously.
Heart arrhythmia can be of two different types, and they are explained in the table below.
|Type of arrhythmia||How it manifests|
|Tachycardia||Fast heart – The resting heart rate is greater than 100 BPM|
|Bradycardia||Slow heart – The resting heart rate is less than 60 BPM|
Some serious medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or heart disease, can also cause heart arrhythmia. Suppose you suspect you suffer from this condition. In that case, it is important to talk to a doctor, as this can signify a more serious issue. A professional can always determine the cause and suggest the appropriate treatment options for you.
Reason #2 – You have anemia
Suppose you are not familiar with this condition. In that case, it is the one responsible for your fatigue and shortness of breath. Anemia is diagnosed when the body lacks healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. You might also have pale skin and a racing heart.
There are several causes for this condition, but most include a lack of iron or other nutrients. Reconsider your diet and pay attention to the foods you eat during the day. While increasing nutrients will solve this problem, some severe issues, such as kidney disease or cancer, can cause anemia.
If you do not treat anemia, it can develop into serious health problems. Start by making changes to your diet and if you do not notice any improvements, check with your doctor and ask for their help.
Symptoms of anemia include:
- Cold hands
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Reason #3 – Your thyroid is in overdrive
In some situations, your thyroid can be in overdrive, and this condition is known as hyperthyroidism. When it happens, the gland produces too much thyroid hormone, and several symptoms start showing up. They include weight loss, irritability, and even a racing heart.
When it occurs, it is important to identify and resolve the underlying cause of hyperthyroidism. Left untreated, it can develop into serious health problems, such as heart failure. Treatment includes medication or even surgery, but your doctor will be able to find the best solution for you.
Reason #4 – You have an anxiety disorder
An anxiety disorder will cause a variety of symptoms, such as heart palpitations or a racing heart. It happens because anxiety can cause the body to release stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. When they are released into your body, the heart rate and blood pressure will increase as a result.
Identifying the cause of your anxiety is important, as it can lead to more serious health problems if left untreated. Some stress-management techniques, such as deep breathing and mindfulness meditation, can greatly help in reducing anxiety and lowering the intensity of the symptoms that you are experiencing.
Reason #5 – You are not getting enough sleep
Several health problems can develop from a lack of sleep. Hearth palpitations and a racing heart are just some of them, but you can experience many more symptoms. It happens because the body will release stress hormones once your sleep schedule becomes irregular and your body cannot rest.
Depending on your age, there is a specific number of recommended hours of sleep per day. Check the age groups in the table below and make sure you get enough sleep.
|Age group||Recommended hours of sleep per day|
|0-3 months||14-17 hours|
|4-12 months||12-16 hours|
|1-2 years||11-14 hours|
|3-5 years||10-13 hours|
|6-12 years||9-12 hours|
|13-18 years||8-10 hours|
|18-60 years||7+ hours|
|61-64 years||7-9 hours|
|65+ years||7-8 hours|
Getting enough sleep is important and recommended by everyone. Try to establish a regular sleep schedule and avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, as they can negatively influence the quality of your sleep. Sticking to a fixed schedule will help you eliminate the problems you are currently experiencing.
Reason #6 – You take medication that can affect the heart
Some medications can have side effects that will affect your heart. You might experience an increased heart rate and even heart palpitations if you are currently undergoing treatment for another problem. Certain antidepressants and diet pills are known to cause these conditions.
Suppose you are experiencing heart palpitation or other side effects that concern you. In that case, it is important to talk to your doctor and consider other treatment options. Inform them about the medications you are currently taking to ensure that they will not interfere with the ones you will get prescribed.
Reason #7 – You have a fever or a cold
A fever or a cold can cause various physical symptoms, and most people often experience heart palpitations or racing hearts. In addition to these symptoms, the inflammation associated with a fever or a cold can also lead to an irregular heart rate.
You can reduce the risk of getting a cold by following these prevention measures:
- Wash your hands often
- Don’t touch your face
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- Stay warm during the cold days and nights
Staying hydrated and taking over-the-counter medication will help reduce the symptoms you are experiencing. Because a cold or a fever does not last long, you should expect these problems to go away soon. Taking care of yourself and avoiding exposure to low temperatures will also help.
Reason #8 – You had too much coffee
When you consume too much coffee, an irregular heartbeat and heart palpitations are to be expected. It happens because caffeine is a stimulant that can increase the heart rate and blood pressure. Several other symptoms can appear after drinking too much coffee. It is why it is important to limit caffeine intake to avoid health problems occurring in the future.
A solution to this problem includes reducing how much coffee you drink. Still, some sodas and beverages can also have the same effect since they contain beverages. Depending on the treatment that you are getting, certain medications and supplements can also contain caffeine.
Reason #9 – You smoke regularly
When you smoke, the chemicals inside the cigarette smoke you inhale can damage the heart and the blood vessels. It leads to an increased heart rate and blood pressure, a problem you should not ignore. Your body will respond accordingly, and the immune system will try to solve this problem. Still, you should also consider taking action yourself.
Quitting smoking will greatly reduce the risk of heart palpitations and other serious health issues in the future. While this is a challenging task, many resources are available for you. Making use of them will help you drop this habit quickly.
Reason #10 – You are experiencing stress
In today’s age, stress has become more common than it used to be before. Whether it is caused by the busy life we live or by external factors, stress can cause a variety of physical symptoms which are unpleasant to experience.
It can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm, and you will notice a decreased sleep quality when stressed. As we discussed in the previous reason, the importance of getting enough sleep is crucial. When you experience an irregular heartbeat, you should analyze the cause of stress in your life.
By reducing stress and avoiding the factors that cause it, you can reduce the risk of heart palpitations. Techniques involve deep breathing or meditation, which will also improve your mental health. Avoiding smoking and alcohol is also recommended to reduce stress and get the best outcome.
What is the best sleeping position for heart palpitations?
The best sleeping position for those experiencing heart palpitations may vary depending on the cause of their symptoms. As a general rule, sleeping on your left side might be the most beneficial if you want to get rid of these symptoms at night.
It works because sleeping on the left side can help to reduce the pressure on the heart and allow for better blood flow. Elevating your head and upper body slightly is also helpful, as this can greatly reduce dizziness and shortness of breath.
Suppose these solutions are not working or you experience severe symptoms at night. In that case, it is important to talk to your doctor, as these can be signs of an underlying medical condition. While a doctor will be able to diagnose the problem and come up with the best treatment, they can also recommend other sleep positions which might be helpful for you.
How serious is it, and when should I worry about heart palpitations at night?
Heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat can be worrying symptoms, especially when they disturb your sleep during the night. You should know that in most cases, these symptoms are not a serious issue and do not require immediate medical attention.
But this general rule does not apply to everyone. Suppose you are experiencing these symptoms more frequently or are followed by chest pain or shortness of breath. In that case, you should seek medical attention and seek professional help.
The advice in this article should be enough to relieve the symptoms and reduce their intensity. But if the problem does not go away or gets worse, you should consult your doctor for further advice.
It feels like my heart is stopping as I fall asleep.
Sometimes you will feel like your heart is suddenly stopping as you fall asleep. It is a common condition known as premature ventricular contraction. This medical term is shortened as PVC, representing a type of heart arrhythmia.
PVCs can make you feel like your heart skipped a beat, and you will also notice that the heart flutters. These PVCs are completely harmless but will be a problem if you cannot sleep well at night.
While generally, this is nothing to worry about, in some cases, PVCs are a sign of a serious medical condition such as heart disease. When you experience it constantly, you should research this problem and ensure that it is temporary and not permanent.
How to stop heart palpitations due to anxiety?
Suppose you experience heart problems due to anxiety. In that case, there are several things you can do to get rid of your symptoms. Firstly, it will be helpful to identify and deal with the sources of your anxiety. Stress-management techniques are recommended as well as breathing exercises.
If you drink coffee or smoke regularly, completely dropping or reducing the frequency of these habits will help reduce anxiety in the long term. Consider physical activity as well because it will also improve your overall health.
If the symptoms persist, it will be helpful to incorporate some relaxation techniques into your daily routine. Listening to calming music or a warm bath may seem like simple solutions, but they are highly effective against anxiety.
Yes, heart palpitations can last for days. However, they should not be frequent or severe, and the problem should go away on its own. If it doesn’t, consult your doctor and tell them about all the symptoms you are currently experiencing.
A dangerous heart rate for a teenager is significantly higher or lower than the normal range for their age. Teenagers should have a heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute, depending on the activity performed. A heartbeat outside of this range might be an indication of a serious health problem.
Lack of sleep can often cause an increased heart rate. When the body is deprived of sleep, it releases stress hormones that will actively cause the heart to beat faster. More problems can occur with an irregular sleep schedule. You should increase the quality of your sleep as soon as possible.
It is difficult to determine how long a person can live with an irregular heartbeat because it depends on the condition that causes this problem. In some cases, an irregular heartbeat can be easily managed with medication or other treatments. The affected person will live a long and healthy life.
These symptoms are not life-threatening and will not require medical assistance. While this is common for most people, you should be careful and analyze the symptoms you are experiencing. If they are frequent or severe, consider seeing a doctor and asking for professional help.