Poor sleep

Did anyone have a sleeping issue post diagnosis with AF? I have slept really poorly since my diagnosis of PAF.

I am also on Bisophorol (5mg down to 2.5mg) - can that interfere with sleep at all?

I think I have a lot of anxiety about the condition albeit I have only been in AF for 10 hours and not in AF now.

Any tips as to how to overcome this initial period post diagnosis, relax and get a better sleep?

13 Replies

  • My sleep pattern was appalling, initially I fought it, but that just made me more anxious so I just went with the flow, got up had a cup of decaf tea, read a bit and then when I got sleepy went back to bed. I still have periods when I can't sleep but since the ablation not so much. I quite enjoy a cup of ginger and lime tea in the early hours now, the peace and quite before dawn is special

  • Sometimes I sleep really poorly, but I've found that using relaxation - a bit like the sort of thing you do in yoga - really helps. There's online guidance on this if you google it...


  • Hi Kbuck, the good news is that sleep patterns should improve. Speaking from my experience, I was diagnosed with persistent AF last June and put on 2.5 Bisoprolol. Like most folk, I found the whole process scary, I lost weight and was lucky if I got 3 hrs sleep. With help from the folks here on the forum, things began to improve as my understanding of the condition improved. I stopped caffein, played around with pillows and played music. It took a while, but as my body adjusted to the drugs and I came to terms with it all, sleeping returned to normal.

    You haven't mentioned anti-coagulation, I assume your GP/Cardiologist has discussed this with you. If not, you should check it out asap as this is one of the most important issues regarding AF. I know you will get lots of advice from the forum, and like me, you will sleep better in time.

    Best wishes, John

  • Hi kbuck

    I also had trouble sleeping esp following my 2nd ablation, when i was left with a racing heart beat. I just used to get up and have a warm drink and read a bit, which sometimea worked, all the best.

  • Thanks for the comments. John - they have told me to take aspirin for anti-coagulation - 1 per night - I am 47 years old non-smoker so stroke risk theoretically low. Thoughts?

  • One aspirin at nighttime? I am 47 years old and stroke risk low.

  • Hi Kbuck, anxiety is quite natural after AF diagnosis, however I am very fortunate that I don't have sleeping problems. I was diagnosed mid November and my first attack lasted 16 hours running at 200+ per minute, it was slowed with a Flecanide infusion. I take 1.25mg Bisoprolol and Warfarin too. I feel sluggish due to the Bisoprolol, I often go into panic mode if I get palpitations. I feel more confident due to the advice and support of the lovely people on here. I hope you feel less anxious soon, I think as time goes on you will feel more confident.

  • As you may know Kbuck, the majority, if not all of the folk using the forum are not medically trained, but their help and support is invaluable. No dis-respect to others, but Bob and Ian's (Beancounter) comments are particularly helpful.

    It is stated by NICE that aspirin is NOT a suitable anti-coagulant for AF. Either Warfarin, or one of the NOAC's should be used, unless there are medical reasons preventing their use. If you check AFA's main webpage, there is a lot of information about anti-coagulation and how you can determine your risk levels. Given your age, your stroke risk may well be low, but if you have been advised to take aspirin, then you need go back to your GP once you have familiarised yourself with the AFA recommendations. Most people on the forum would urge you to take recommended anti-coags and NOT aspirin on the basis that it will not prevent an AF stroke. Hope this dose not sound too dramatic, but it is important to get it right!



  • Stroke is one of the biggest killers in the UK and a third of them affect those under the age of 65. However, because you have AF, your stroke risk is at least 5 times greater than the general population. It could be even higher than this depending on additional risks factors highlighted in the CHADSVASC matrix. Given that aspirin does nothing to prevent AF related stroke, you are currently totally unprotected. Not wise.

    You should be looking for another GP with some urgency and the doctor who told you to take aspirin should be looking for another job!

  • Hi Kbuck. Eatsalottie is right...relaxation tapes etc do help.....not alwasy at night, I have found, but as part of my daily routine....I am sure just switching off for 30 mins etc is good for you. I had a lot of anxiety issues issues initially (we all do, it seems) and i still have nights where sleep won't come and still not sure if my heart or head is responsible!!! I feel crap the next day, but just accept it now : ( By the way i have been in pers AF since May 2014......

    Not too sure about the aspirin advice........we ARE all different......but as a non smoker, non red meat eater, fit, slim, bike riding and walking, 59 year old i was diagnosed with AF (paroxymsal then...sorry about the spelling....) and it was suggetsed I took 75mg aspirin a day. During an episode 3 months later I got a blood clot in my right arm......and have been on Warfarin ever since........it did not help that A&E did not recognise it as a blood clot and sent me home!

    it took a long time to get over that anxiety wise............I don't want to worry you more but one thing I have learned with this condition that knowledge is a good thing, the more you know the better!!

    Maybe contact Bob or Ian and see what they think......

  • Sleep despite AF being controlled by Flecainide is still sporadic, some good nights some bad.

    Incidentally, I got a blood clot in my leg in 2001 after a 5 hour car journey, which was missed by my GP as I was 47 then, pre AF days and fit. As a results of tests, I found I had Factor V Leiden a genetic disorder which makes you a little more prone to clotting…I was told 15% of the population have it but most don't know. Two out of my three kids have it.

    It may be important to know this if you are having an operation as they may give you a shot of heparin or whatever the latest is, if you are not on anti-coags already. Otherwise I take no drugs. The silver lining….It has also been the reason why I walk a mile and a half most days, which has got to be good all round.

  • Dear Kbuk, I signed up to Sleepio, an online programme, however, I had suffered with poor sleep for many years. I also noticed increased anxiety and worse sleeping pattern initially after diagnosis with heart problems. The Sleepio programme helped improve my sleep, skills I learnt helped me reduce anxiety and racing mind; support from others in this forum was a great source for reassurance, advice and information. The more I have learnt about my condition the less anxious I have become, again this is mainly down to feedback from others in this forum.

  • Yep! August 2013-November 2013 I had 4 episodes of fast AF and 4 DC cardioversions. During that time I had the most appalling sleep quality/pattern I've ever had. Partly, I think, due to subconcious anxiety waiting for it to kick off again and partly due to the constantly changing meds. Some of my dreams were very "funky" and bizzare.

    I returned to work in the January whilst awaiting an Ablation - the sleep didn't improve much. Again I put this down to worrying about the strain on my heart plus the irregular shifts I was working to make sure I was having sufficent rest periods. Different days on/off start/finish times probably helped the heart but worked against sleep pattern.

    I had my ablation in July 14 and struggled with sleep, returned to work and it settled, then I had it all kick off again September with further ablation 19th December. Since the december 14 ablation my sleep has been as shocking as ever. And I'm not totally sure of the cause.

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