Heart palpitations when lying down

Heart palpitations when lying down

Why does one have palpitations when lying down?


When palpitations lying down are more noticeable, the person can be at rest and when there is no distraction in the room. Sometimes, they can be so intense that can even wake one up from sleep.


Palpitation is the awareness of an abnormal beating of the heart. Some people may get heart palpitations for only a short period of time, but others may experience them from time to time.

Heart palpitations when lying down are not a common occurrence and can be caused by many factors, as the following:

·       Heart diseases - Most people with heart disease experience palpitations when lying down, because in this position the heart has to work harder in order to pump the blood throughout the body.

Palpitation may be experienced more when lying on the left side, due to the excess pressure put to the heart.

·       Dehydration - Dehydration can cause palpitations when lying down. Things that can cause dehydration are drinking alcohol or exercising before sleep or late in the day.

·       Stress and anxiety - They can be one of the main causes of palpitations when lying down. Sometimes people get obsessed with this palpitation, which only makes them worse.

·       Mitral valve prolapse - People with this disease complain of having heart palpitations when lying down, especially on the back or on the left side, or while lying down o watch television.

·       Eating too much food - A lot of people get palpitations after eating too much food.

·       Hypersensitive electrical system - Some people have a very sensitive electrical system which can be affected by the changes of the positions.

·       Hormonal changes - Some stages of women’s life such as the menstrual cycle, perimenopause and menopause cause hormonal fluctuations, and this can cause heart palpitations when lying down.

·       Abnormal thyroid function - Both overactive and underactive thyroid function can cause heart palpitations when lying down.

Pregnancy - most pregnant women experience heart palpitations when lying down, due to the hormonal changes.

What is the mechanism?


The mechanism of heart palpitations when lying down depends on the reason that causes it.

In heart diseases, it is due to the inability of the diseased heart to pump properly the blood throughout the body. When lying down, it has to work much harder to properly supply the tissues with blood, and this causes palpitations.

Even dehydration causes palpitations with the same mechanism. The only difference is that the inability of the heart to properly pump blood throughout the body is due to the decreased circulatory volume and not due to an affection of the heart tissue.

Stress and anxiety cause heart palpitations when lying down, due to the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, which stimulates the heart to beat faster and harder.

Eating too much food causes the heart to beat faster, to pump more blood to the gastrointestinal tract, in order to digest the eaten food. This causes palpitations.

The hypersensitive electrical system causes palpitations due to the increased sensitivity of heart electrical system. It can be stimulated even by changes of positions, or by putting pressure on various parts of heart tissues, causing palpitations.

Thyroid affections can cause palpitations. This is a result of the direct effect its hormones have on heart tissue.

In certain periods of a woman’s life, such as perimenopause, menopause, menstrual cycle and pregnancy there are some hormonal changes in the body, which can cause palpitations.

Decreased Estrogen (menopause and follicular phase of the menstrual cycle) and increased Progesterone (pregnancy and luteal phase of the menstrual cycle) can cause palpitations.

How to overcome it?


The treatment of heart palpitations when lying down depends on the underlying cause. For example, if you have thyroid affections, treating it would treat also palpitations.

Or if palpitations are due to heart disease, first one need to treat the heart disease, and palpitations would cease if the treatment succeeds.

Some simple and effective treatment options for heart palpitations include:

Ø Drinking fluids in order to prevent dehydration

Ø Not eating heavy meals before at least 4 hours before bed

Ø Not exercising late in the day or before bed

Ø Avoiding stimulants like nicotine, alcohol and caffeine

Ø Not sleeping on the left side in case of heart problem

Ø Exercising relaxing techniques such as yoga or breathing therapies, in case of stress and anxiety.

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