AF Association
14,669 members17,632 posts

Do other sufferers from af worry during the night when an attack occurs. especially as I live on my own?!!!!!

As my gp has explained having af attacks could lead to a stroke I do get worried when they come in the night and there is no one to help me get thru it as I live on my own.

18 Replies

I have a hubby so its not the same for me. I do not wake him though as he has work the next day and my night attacks do usually ease off after a while.

I suppose he is still here if I need assistance but you can always phone help if you need it.

Try not to worry too much as this will make things seem worse.

You are not alone we are all here for you.

1 like

You are not alone there!.. Just tell myself "what ever will be will be" I am doing everything I can to protect myself ie Warfarin etc..Although I do try to make sure dishes are washed before going to bed ...(would hate the neighbors to talk about me)lol...Try not to worry gillyflower13 and try to think pleasant thoughts....


I think we are all the same

I'm living with my family but really I prefer sometime being alone , so I don't get others worried and watching me suffering

As Caromia said what ever will happen it will , just protect myself with warfarin , and keep always my handbag ready with my valid health card , charged mobile in case of emergency call, a copy of my recent medical report .

I also keep zanax with me to calm me down sometime , and always wear nice pajamas in case of night emergency lol

So we are all sharing the same worries , and you are not alone :)

I'm sure you may have a good neighbor or relative whom u can call if needed




hi gilly. i did get that. and when attack came on i thought i was falling down a hole . but that when i was new to af .think it came on because of the worry . and lack of info .


If on Warfarin, can you actually have a stroke? Or put it another, how effective is Warfarin at combatting a stroke or reducing it's effect?

I ask because IF the OP is on Warfarin (or another anti-coag), how much would that reduce the worry of a stroke occurring. And I'd like to know :)

1 like

Feeling for you Gilliflower13. I too live on my own, and my episodes usually occur at night time. It is far more worrying than if you live with someone, as you have to plan what you need to do, as well as try to combat an episode. I have what they call a Vital Call in

Australia, this is connected to the ambulance with certain instructions and the keys placed in a Lock Box outside, this gives me peace of mind, and have had to use it 4 times in 18months so far and 3 of these needed new medication. I try not to panic and sit up rather than lie down, this helps me along with deep breathing, and a couple of panamax. You do get tired if this happens a lot, and at times I wish I had someone to help with shopping bank etc. I wish all medics would realize this is a real problem to those who have to cope on their own.


Hi, do sympathise with you. My GP told me that if an AF attack occurs and produces pain/breathlessness, " Be seen". Without these symptoms, " ride it out ". Recently, I had to act on that at 5.30am after a night of AF, when pain kicked in on upper left of my chest, and I rang for an ambulance. The men were kindness itself, took me into hospital to check for possible troponin ( none ) but I had an angiogram and two weeks later, as an outpatient, an echocardiogram, so am glad that I did what the doc said! Pleased to say the angiogram was fine and am awaiting the echo result. Hope this helps and good luck.


HI Koll, most academic research would put the efficacy of warfarin at preventing stroke in AF at somewhere between 65-70%. New NICE guidance has now recommended Dabigatran as being equally as efficacious without the need for regular monitoring, but my concern is the lack of an antidote to this drug, at least with Warfarin you could be put on a Vitamin K infusion, which I find quite comforting!



I have AF as well. I usually end up in the hospital every fortnight. My AF attacks happen at all hours. I remember the first one which woke me up around 11pm one night. It felt like my heart was jumping around inside. My wife rang the ambos, at the same time the 000 emergency person asked my wife to take my pulse....of course she could not count fast enough so gave up. So off to the hospital I went....they keep me in for eight hours doing blood test at the beginning, then a chest xray .....the results have always been negative thank goodness. Just recently I had a TIA......I woke up one morning and had dribbled down the side of my mouth onto my chin then onto my chest. The doc said I had a TIA. Two weeks later I woke up with a numb right leg resulting in an eight day stay at the local hospital. I had weakness down the right side of my body as well as short term memory loss. I am on Warfarin and Amioderane and cholesterol pills. I am due for an ablation in December/ early Jan. I also have a pacemaker. All I can do is pray every night that I will wake up in the morning.....I have no control over that! PS. I also have sleep apnea.....I did not know I had that until I was in the CCU where they asked me if I had SA. Tests were positive so now have a cpap machine to use every night. The doc said that I could suffer a stroke from low oxygen to the brain.....has everyone been checked for that? I am in an Ambulance fund so I do not mind ringing the ambos. Sometimes the AF attack is over before they get here, they reassured me it is better to pick up someone alive than dead. I think they have my name and address in their GPS as I am a regular user. Maybe I should get frequent user points lol.

Hope this has been of some help!

Best wishes to you all .)



I have been an AF'er since diagnosed in 1992 keep taking the tablets. Biggest problem at night it is all quite and you know it has gone in a wobble you tend to notice it worse than it is. Try to relax control your breathing and think of sleep. Worrying over your problem can make your problem worse.

Be Well


hello Gilly flower,

I find the same thing at night and have a key safe and community alarm which is very comforting both for me and for my family who live elsewhere. I have read all the answers so far and realise we all make the same preparations at night!! it is good to know you are prepared for a sudden trip to A and E. Sitting up and relaxing , as someone else has mentioned, can sometimes slow your pulse and things settle down. I think it is best to call an ambulance if in doubt!!


Hi gillyflower,

I know where you're coming from, my first attack happened while my hubby was away from home and I had two dogs to look after... Not knowing what it was, and having no-one to help, I went back to sleep and assumed if I woke I was alive lol. Second attack confirmed AF, but the attacks are always at night and somehow this is more worrying. I do have difficulty getting to sleep because of it, and sometimes wake in a real panic. Any advice on how to get to sleep would be very welcome.

I am trying meditation to calm myself down and control my breathing during an attack and I have found that really helps. I wonder about sleep apnoea but have no idea how you get tested for it - I know I snore like a walrus, or so I'm told!



I'm not an anxious person, in fact I'd think of myself as the opposite, but I know for a fact that anxiety causes my AF to get worse. Last week we had a small family upset which started me thinking what to do. Even though I didn't feel anxious, I could tell it had gotten to me, making wonder what to do. Result though was a truly terrible night in bed with my heart jumping about like a mad thing. I very nearly dialled 999 for the first time.

But my GP had given me Diazepam to take very occasionally when I feel necessary. I took one that night and the AF went away / reduced within 1/2 hour. Other nights I have taken one with no effect. Maybe if the AF has been caused by anxiety, then the Diazepam has worked, but if not anxiety-related, then it hasn't?

Just thought maybe this is a way of breaking the anxiety leading to AF, and then the AF leading to anxiety, circle! Especially if you are alone.

PS. Thanks for the info Jude.


I have AF and sleep with my wife. However she suffered a stroke 13 years ago and.quite frankly, would be no use to me if I suffered anything untoward during the night. However, for both us us I have an SOS telephone with a pendant which, when pressed even lightly, contacts any numbers I have put into it, one by one.. It also acts as a two way telephone. First Class ! Lifemax01635874323. Lenana


I live alone with 3 cats and have in the past worried about what happens if I'm taken ill during the night, or worse still, die during the night. I've had nights when I've not wanted to go to sleep in case anything happens while I'm asleep. Fortunately AF causes me virtually no problems any more, and my asthma is also controlled, as is my polymyalgia.

The only thing certain about life is that it ends in death. I've written my will and have an abbreviated copy of it, together with details of my next of kin and medication, and a copy of my 'last instructions' in my wallet. I must get my finacial affairs sorted and re-write letters to my Executors.

Every morning when I wake up I send an email to my sisters who live 80 miles away, and they reply. It's an easy way of keeping in touch. If I don't email them by mid-day they'll email and/or phone me.

In the month before my polymyalgia was diagnosed I did get a friend to stay for the worst nights.

Now I have restful nights and don't worry about anything. One of my cats is in the habit of waking me at 4am to be let out, but I soon get back to sleep.


hi i live my two young children and where i keep getting episodes in the night i got my self a care alarm it cost 5.99 a month and i wear a watch to bed and if i think something is wrong i press the button and that goes straight through to the team. They then try and call you straight away if not responds they will call a ambulance immediately. This is does give me comfort as before i had it i was always going to bed scared


Hi everyone

I haven't written before; I was diagnosed with AF at the beginning of December - nice Christmas present! Want to say how helpful I have found all this chat. I live alone, and although trained as a nurse (psychiatry even) years ago, I still hate the nightime attacks. It is the waiting to see if it will let up, or whether to take the "pill-in-the-pocket-you-choose-when" Sotalol I have been given. Or are some of the symptoms actually side effects of Sotalol if I took it earlier?! Or should I take another? I need some clarification from GP as lying there wondering doesn't help. I sit up, concentrate on breathing and listen to the World Service to distract myself, maybe read if I'm really awake and usually get up after a while; at least one is less aware of the bumps in the night then. Guess what I do ? Tidy the house, just like Caromia just in case....! I loved The Night Before Christmas offerings. Happy New Year all and thanks.

Mrs Gilly


Hello I had cardiovertion 3 years ago, the doctor said it would come back. Everyday after rushing about at work or something like vacuuming the stairs, it starts light a strong flutter or like an electrical buzz. My doctor has given me flecainide, but it comes back before the second dose is due. I know what you mean as my daughter has one travelling for 3 months. If it comes on I make sure I have my phone in my pocket. Don't know about you but I get light headed and drousy afterwards.


You may also like...