Heart palpitation at night

Heart palpitation at night

What causes heart palpitation at night?

Heart palpitations are the sensation of the heart racing, or skipping a beat, or simply the awareness of the heart beating.

Usually, heart palpitations at night are caused by no different reason that what causes those occurring during the day.

At night, however, they are more noticeable because there are fewer sounds and sensations to distract one from the feeling of the heart beating.

 Many people experience them on the regular basis.

The causes of heart night palpitations are caused by the following conditions:

1.      The position in which one sleeps. Laying on the left side or back is associated with increased possibility of night palpitations.

2.      Stress - being stressed and having problems that do you a lot of thinking can cause heart palpitations at night.

3.      Improper foods - Having large meals (especially meals containing large amounts of fats and carbs) before bed, or having foods or beverages containing caffeine, nicotine or other drugs can cause heart palpitations at night.

4.      Smoking late at night causes night palpitations

5.      Consumption of certain medicines - some medicines like asthma, high- blood pressure or cold and cough meds can cause heart palpitations at night

6.      Not drinking enough water to keep your body properly hydrated can cause night palpitations

7.      Exercising before sleeping

Heart palpitations at night can be caused even by underlying diseases such as:

1.      Hyperthyroidism

2.      Pregnancy

3.      Fever

4.      High blood cholesterol

If experiencing other symptoms like dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, along with palpitations, seeking medical assistance is an urgent matter, because they can be symptoms of serious diseases like heart attack.

What is the mechanism?

The mechanism of heart palpitations at night depends on the reason it is caused.

Lying on the left side or back when sleeping, can put pressure on the vagus nerve (it is part of the parasympathetic nervous system, and it partially responsible for controlling heart rate).

This external pressure on the vagus nerve can trigger errant electrical impulse which travels to the nerve length and can cause temporary awareness of the heart beating, so palpitations.

Eating large meals before bed or consuming caffeine, nicotine or other products containing stimulants, causes palpitations due to the direct stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system (sympathetic nervous system causes the heart to beat harder and faster).

Some medications like high- blood pressure drugs, anti-asthmatic, or cold drugs contain pseudoephedrine, which is a stimulant of sympathetic nervous system and can cause heart palpitations at night, especially when taken before bed.

In most of the cases, there is no particular reason causing night palpitation, they are caused by the same reasons that those occurring during the day, but are perceived more due to the lack of noises and distractions during the night.

How to ease palpitations at night?

Easing heart palpitations at night can be achieved by following some easy steps:

1.      Do not drink caffeine or any other nervous stimulants late in the day.

2.      Do not exercise late in the day.

3.      Do not eat at least 4 hours before going to bed

4.      If stressed, consider some relaxing techniques such as yoga, breathing therapies, having a shower to calm yourself before going to sleep.

5.      If finding difficult to distract yourself from the palpitations, add some distractions to your bedroom, such as turning on the radio or television, reading a book

6.      If having other symptoms like dizziness, chest pain, and shortness of breath goes immediately to the hospital.

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