Permanent atrial fibrillation and little or... - AF Association

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Permanent atrial fibrillation and little or no sleep.


I have touched on this subject before but am still in desperate need of any suggestions.

I have Permanent atrial fibrillation and find sleep of a night quite a problem. I wear ear plugs because of light noise both inside and outside the bedroom. Out side is passing traffic etc. which is already reduced with triple glazing and inside a wife who suffers fro rhinitis so thereby snores lightly. I find the earplugs make the afib a bit worse but if I can find a good position in bed that can help, but not always. I have been off sleeping pills like Diazipam and Temazepam for some while and do not want to go back down that route. My GP has put me on low night does of Mirtazapine Tablets, 15mg, and Amisulpride 500mg which are not sleeping pills.

I have tried herbals like, Kalms, nytol, Valerian and Melissa Dream, all with the odd success in relaxing me and helping to sleep. But these are not sleeping pills.

They may help one night and then not the next night.

Although over 55 I have not spoken to my GP about melatonin.

I am literally at my wits end to get fairly regular decent sleep my Permanent atrial fibrillation pounds day and night. It is wearing me down since 1st April, no April fool this, I have had about a quarter of the nights where I have managed to obtain some sleep.

I have made my routine as best as I can, no lights, wind down time, no caffeine, regular times, darkened room no electrical devices, just a light white noise from the fan on very hot nights. Hot drinks and no alcohol. I even have relaxation tapes and try those.

I am now get to the stage that it is draining me and I getting to desperation.

Sorry about this but any help really appreciated


20 Replies

Have you tried hypnosis? The problem seem to be that you are focussed on your AF and can't let go. Not everybody "hears" it .

Donnieb in reply to BobD

Don't mean to be critical, but when one has AF, it's pretty difficult NOT to be focused on it. If a person could go for a year or so without symptoms, and maybe minimal meds (which remind us every day that 'something' is wrong), then we could begin to focus on being 'normal' again. Yes - hypnosis helps many people with mental blocks, psychoses, or phobias. But AF is definitely not some imaginary issue. Everywhere we seek information we see confirmation that it is an absolute physical threat to our lives. The additional statement that he 'can't let go' is a further shot of fuel to feed the shame of weakness. I doubt that your reply was intended as such, but also probably wasn't what he came here to find, IMHO...

Hi Norm - I have been where you are and it's not nice! Oddly, I've found that having a peppermint and licorice tea really helps me to sleep deeply. I buy the pukka make. Worth a try.


How strong is the liquorice ?

I know eating too much licorice is not good for people with high blood pressure, but I am talking about using just one tea bag in the evening. I can't find on the box where it says what one tea bag contains, but it does say: organically grown ingredients, peppermint leaf 60% and Licorice root 40%.

There cant be much in a tea bag.


The elephant in the room is the pounding heart. Has everything been tried to control this? Are you seeing an EP?

Norm in reply to Hidden

Only drugs I have are Paractamol 500mg or Zapain 500mg/30mg Codine as needed.

Amisulpride 50mg in Evening

Warfarin varies after checking but generally about 5/6mg a day

Bisoprolol 5mg morning and %mg evening

Aspirin 75mg

Furosemide 40mg Morning

Lansoprazole 30mg Morning

Simvastatin 20mg morning

Irbesartan 75mg Morning

Mirtazapine 15mg Evening

Finasteride 5mg in morning for prostate

So anser is no I don’t think everything has been tried. Regarding seeing an EP. Asked GP last time to refer me back to cardiology regarding possible Catheter ablation or Cryoballoon therapy.

Answer was wait and think about it again.

Cardioversion did not work when I had my valve replaced earlier this year. Intend to mention to GP again next week but GP not happy to refer, GP thinks I’m ok as my heart is fine.

But GP does not appreciate the psychological problem it causes me and bad sleep. I'll also ask about Melatonin even if only for short term.


Hidden in reply to Norm

If my heart was pounding and my GP thought that was OK, then I'd ask to see another GP. I'm betting if it was their heart that was pounding, they'd go see a specialist, who wouldn't?


I sympathise as another permanent AF victim and recent AV node ablation has not improved pounding rhythms, most noticeable at night. Going to bed late and tired, exercise during the day, avoiding alcohol and caffeine in the evening, not using an iPad in bed and sleeping more upright with pillows helps. Most of all avoid being obsessed with ones heart and the thought that it's wearing itself out - easier said than done. But having a busy life and friends is an antidote.

Ask your GP about Melatonin it helps some people with sleep and also get over jet lag. It didn't work for me.

In other countries you can but it OTC but here you need a prescription or to buy it on line.

I was in your situation when I was first diagnosed with Perm. A. F.My GP gave me Verapamil and it did the job. Maybe you do not want want medication but it worked for me...perhaps try it for 2 weeks if your GP agrees and it is is not contraindacatory to your existing meds.Verapamil does not disagree with many things so you might be in luck.

When I was diagnosed with AF, my doctor said that 'everyone with AF is short of magnesium'. This may be an exaggeration, but I tried magnesium, along with a good multi-vitamin-and-mineral tablet (as they all work together), and my health improved considerably - not just the AF. In particular, my sleeping improved enormously. Now I often sleep through the night . . .Providing your kidneys are fine, so you can eliminate anything more than your body is actually using, I think the supplements approach is definitely worth trying, both for sleep and for the AF.

(Also I recently had a blood-test for Vitamin D, and it was way below the recommended levels. Since adding this to my other supplements, for about three months, my AF has definitely improved and the cardiologist has agreed that I can try phasing out the bisoprolol . . . Great!)

EricR in reply to Polski

I agree with Polski. I am 73 with permanent AF diagnosed after a sudden cardiac arrest in May 2015. I had no symptoms, but now have an implanted defribillator/pacemaker. I am taking Carvedilol, 25 mg per day, Eliquis, 10 mg. per day, and Atorvastatin, 20 mg per day. I don't have any heart valve, coronary artery blockage or other health problems other than some mild arthritis. I was taking 1000mg calcium per day plus a multi-vitamin supplement and read that magnesium supplementation can help AF patients. I replaced my calcium supplement with 288 mg. magnesium threonate and 200 mg. magnesium taurate daily. Magnesium threonate is supposed to benefit brain functioning and magnesium taurate is supposed to benefit heart functioning. I have always believed that vitamin/mineral supplementation along with a good diet, moderate exercise and weight control are essential to maintaining good health. Other than my heart exhibiting some minor arrhythmias now and again (monitored by my EP), I have not experienced any further issues.

I would be discussing the cocktail of drugs you are currently taking and as suggested by others, I am not sure a Doctor who is seemingly unconcerned about your pounding heart is the best doctor to be seeing - side effects related to several of these drugs include lowered blood pressure, fast or irregular heart beats, slowing heart rate, frequent changes in pulse and heart rate and lowered magnesium which, as was suggested elsewhere, is sometimes associated with afib - not every person experiences every side effect of a particular drug and many may not experience any noteworthy side effects but in this combination, there are enough red flags to suggest that some of your symptoms may be related to the drugs not to mention the potential major interaction of warfarin and aspirin - needless to say, you never stop taking any medication without first consulting your doctor but again, if it were me, I would be having a serious discussion with my doctor or pharmacist as the case may be


Hi Norm, I just have PAF which is controlled by Flecainide but still felt bad with poor sleep. I went to a Naturopath who put me on a Mg compound and CoQ10 and felt much better nb the Red cell blood test with BioLab, London showed my levels in both were very low. It is the Mg that relaxes you and I use a spray-on as well an hour before bed. In addition I would recommend Mindfulness, breathing exercises like Qigong and if not secular prayers - on evenings when I am in and we don't have company I do this for an hour, an hour before bed.

Hope something there helps.


Hi Norm

I too have permanent atrial fibrillation and have had sleeping problems since January this year. I tried everything -- all of the things you mentioned. But nothing worked until I came across a recipe for a "cherry smoothie". This one

Since the first night I took it, I found I go asleep quicker, and stay asleep longer. Less getting out of bed for the bathroom! I have sometimes slept until 9am in the morning, which is highly unusual for me. I take it about half an hour before bed.

Best of luck, Norm, and if you try the cherry drink, do drop in and let me know how you get on!

PS The tart cherry juice contains melatonin, and this is understood to be the reason for the success of the cherry drink against insomnia. I found the cherry juice and the almond milk both in Holland And Barrett.

can buy melatonin on ebay - helps somtimes but best to check with doctor first

Hello Norm - I'm new here and see that your post is quite old, so I'm hoping you have gotten relief by now. If you are still taking similar meds you mentioned, I just read where aspirin is no longer recommended because it has been shown that the blood is too thin in the brain during a stroke and the patient essentially will bleed uncontrollably. Second, I'm wondering about your sleep issues. I have successfully used a product called Formula 303 for over 20 years. it's mild, relaxing, and effective for stress, muscle tightness, sleep, etc. Easily found by doing a search online. It has valerian, plus other ingredients which facilitate better absorption. One plus it has is that there is not that groggy feeling in the morning... Still, with the meds you're taking, it would be best to clear through your GP or other docs. Best wishes.

Hi Norm, just new to this community and read your post. Am hoping your situation has improved. Have you tried the app Calm? I think it’s great.

Hope to hear that you are sleeping better and if so, how you went about this.

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