Sleep position?

Since resumption of my PAF in early April after 4 1/2 years being ok, I read somewhere that sleeping on the left side could bring on AF during sleep. And indeed I nearly always seem to wake up in AF if I am to have a bad episode. So since early April I have slept only on my right side and so far I have not had another debilitating episode, just woken some days wondering if I was going into AF, with "strange sensations" but been OK. Does anyone have any info or thoughts on this "sleep only on the right side to avoid sleep-onset AF"?

16 Replies

  • I'm OK at the moment, but usually I cannot sleep on my left, only sometimes on my back, and always OK on my right. So I have to careful with the garlic as when I sleep on my right I'm aiming at my wife :-(

    It has been said that it's only because you can feel the AF when you're on your left side. But it doesn't feel like that to me. It actually comes on, I'd say.


  • Thank yoy Koll for brightening up my evening, re:-being careful with the garlic.

    I sleep mainly on my left and sometimes on my back if I need to be propped up on pillows. I will need to change to my right side soon in readiness for getting the pacemaker fitted.

    Otherwise, never noticed any difference to the AF regardless of which side I sleep on. But then, I'm persistant/permanent AF anyway.


  • Hi HastyHeart,

    See my reply to Koll.


  • I know that if I go to bed with that vague kind of AF feeling - I am sure people know what I mean - that I feel more like an attack is comoing on if I sleepon my left side. Sleeping on my right helps with that.

    Someone posted about this recently and got tons of replies basically saying the same thing regarding a definite preference for right side sleeping.

  • For every person who can only sleep on the right will be another who sleeps on the left. We are all different!

  • Thanks for the replies to my query about sleep position. It's reassuring to know that I had indeed read of that happening to some people, although as Bob says we are all different. What I could have added is that I am now too scared of sleeping on my left side in case it triggers AF in the night so have put a pillow against my back to stop me turning over. I've also raised my pillows as I have sleep apnoea and think I read somewhere too, that apnoea can be a factor in AF. A week before this episode of AF I woke gasping for air and very frightened. Thought I was dying! Saw consultant years ago about the apnoea who said to stitch tennis ball at back of my nightie!! I don't usually sleep on my back anyway but had thought I was no longer having apnoea until this happened. Coincidence with the re-start of AF or what!

  • I have heard that apnoea has strong link with AF so good that you have some ways to help it

  • I have sleep apnoea, I don't know how long I had had it before it was diagnosed. I now have a CPAP mask to wear at night. It hasn't done much for the af but certainly am a lot less tired.


  • I find I'm best slightly upright and to the left but not pressing on the left at all!!

    You may have vagal AF if it's all at night and related to position??

  • What's "vagal AF"? It's early days for me and I'm learning things about AF almost daily with this Forum. Only seen GP who didn't offer any info, A&E just monitored my AF and did tests, plus intravenous hydration but no info. GP requested cardiologist appt - 18th June - so may get some info/answers then. GP also doubled my atenolol dose from 50mg to 100mg, plus start Digoxin 125 mcg (1st episodeAF 4 1/2 years ago = 50 mg atenolol and aspirin, no checkups as AF free, till April this year. I naively thought I would be AF free " forever" so this has been a shock) Each time I've had 'bad' AF i.e. can't do anything as heart rate too fast and irregular, it's been in early hours and woken me up. SO scary! Even in 'normal' (for me) I have lots of "missed beats" which I've just learnt are "ectopic beats". As I said, I've lots to learn. Finding it all rather daunting and confidence-sapping. Thanks for everyone's patience at my rambling posts. Also a new experience!

  • Hasty Heart there are a few questions I would raise from what you have said above- look at the AFA website and work out your ChadsVasc score if you are still on Asprin which is no longer advised for AF ( is still given for some other heart problems}

    Vagal AF normally comes on at night and the relevance is that Digoxin and Beta Blockers are not advised for vagal AF so it's worth raising this with your cardiologist on 18th June and , if if were me, I would question it with your GP who may need to look it up/ ask the cardiologist now for you.There are other drugs that can be used.

    It is scary but there are many people who can answer and give their experience on herer

    keep in touch!

  • Thanks, Rosy. Since the April AF resumption I was taken off aspirin by the GP immediately and put on Rivaroxaban as a temporary measure until I could start on "the preferred treatment" Warfarin. As I knew nothing about Rivaroxaban, I looked on the web and found the NICE report which approved it. Told GP I wanted to stay on it but his negativity decided me to comply. (Told Warfarin was the "tried and tested" treatment, and "no antidote to Rivaroxaban" and "local Anticoagulant clinic wouldn't be interested in me on R as they only support Warfarin"and finally, on my querying if it was due to cost told that "Warfarin costs £1 a month, Rivaroxaban costs £67 a month" even tho' NICE says it IS cost effective!) Felt it would be me against the local NHS mind-set/set up and I wasn't up to it, so agreed to go on Warfarin about 4 weeks ago. Still having twice-weekly INR testing and phonecalls by afternoon to adjust my doses. And getting a sore arm! A weeny bit fed up but hopefully things can only get better!

  • I have been on Warfarin for 7years, after having a mini stroke when in Malaysia,the amazing consultant diagnosed AF, so put me on Warfarin. When coming home, it's been a roller coaster of ups and down. I don't like Warfarin, but realise it prevents strokes with may AF episodes. At first INR levels were up as far as 13. Getting a frantic call from GP to go to A and E. Stop Warfarin for a few days and got vitamin K . I am now settled on a low dose of 2mg, and my

    INR sits between 2 and 3. Perfect level, so persevere and eventually the body will accept this drug....

  • I was on riveroxiban for 9 months whilst in AF prior to my last OHS. I had a large clot in my atrium when they opened me up. Keep on the warfarin!!!

  • Glad to hear you are anti-coaguated. Do be aware NICE have said patient choice, if the drug is clinically suitable, must be allowed if you decide you would prefer a NOAC like Rivaroxaban but for many people warfarin suits them very well. Your GP doesn't seem aware of this but you can take the NICE guidelines in if you want to discuss with him/her.

  • In my case I was on apixaban originally but that they wouldn't do an ablation except if I was on warfarin. Look through old posts and also look at my profile and see the ones that I have responded to re NOaCs and the fact that there is no antidote. My assessment was that this was minimal risk. You have to decide!!! If NOACs were so dangerous with no antidote they wouldn't allow them to be used!!!!! Anyway I have intolerance to warfarin so my INR was all over the place though interestingly since my ablation at the end of March (well a couple of weeks after) INR has been much more stable even though I was back in persistent AF less than 272 hours later. Ask consultant about their views. You can always change back.

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