From a newbie-Night time only problems!

Hello, can you advise whether this sounds like A Fib or Flutter?

I seem to be perfectly fine in the daytime, but am having terrible problems at night. If I lie with my normal 2 pillows I am woken by a sensation of my heart appearing to vibrate or tremble. Once I sit up it will lessen or disappear. This will happen again and again. I've tried sleeping with differing amounts of pillows and different sleeping positions. It doesn't hurt but I feel scared and usually get very hot. I have now had hardly any sleep for the last few weeks and am desperate.

11 Replies

  • The simple way to tell is to check your pulse. If it is irregular and fast it may well be AF if just fast it is probably flutter. There is an explanation of how to take your pulse on AF Association main website under "Know Your Pulse"

  • Hello Chappy. Apart from checking your pulse as suggested, there are two good ways to get a record of what's going on:

    See your GP and be referred for a 24 hour ECG monitor.

    Buy a Kardia pocket ECG which is just under £100. You can show the readings to a doctor or pay £5 for an analysis of one of them by Kardia.

    Just put Kardia in the Search AF Association box above for plenty of posts about it.

  • I'm actually waiting to have a Holte device, but there's obviously a long waiting time as now waited about 12 weeks.

  • I'd get your GP to check up on this. Your referral might have got lost in the system - or there might be a very large number of people on the waiting list.

  • Have you tried sleeping on your right? Quite a lot of us can't sleep on our backs or left side.

    That doesn't solve the problem but might help get some sleep if that is the case!

    I had to wait for ages for a monitor as well. Really annoying even though I didn't have your sleep issues.


  • Thank you I'll give it a go.

  • Hi chappy, welcome! I feel for you with the no sleeping, as well as the anxiety of what's behind it.

    Sounds like (forgive me if I'm wrong) you haven't actually had any arrhythmia detected yet? (or hopefully ever!)

    The advice from everyone above is all really helpful. I'd add that if it's more of a vibrate/tremble, there's a chance it may not be arrhythmia - related at all. I went to my GP many years ago (loooong before my current arrhythmia) saying that at night I wake up feeling like I've got a cat purring in my chest - he listened to my heart valves and sent me for an echocardiogram (which thankfully was fine). So I've never found out what the cat-purring-in-my-chest sensation is caused by! But one suggestion was it was linked to digestion & vagal nerve.

    Anyway I really hope they can get to the bottom of this quickly for you. And in the meantime you can get some sleep. I'd be pushy about the holter monitor if you can - Eg ask to be rung if any cancellation/ no show. Or ask if you can go to sleep in your Drs surgery attached to the ecg machine.... ?!!

    Good luck - let us know how you get on.

  • There is a breathing exercise recommended on here (search in box, top right of the screen). This may help you relax and sleep more easily, and might help to calm the purring cat a little as well . . . It may also be helpful to research here about others' experience of digestion and vagal nerve.

  • Hi chappy. The thing about arrhythmias is that they are only really diagnosed properly when you are mid event and hooked up to an ECG! If it is any consolation though many of us on this forum have shared that our hearts become more unsettled at night or when we lie down. So you are not alone in this phenomena. But that may not mean you have an arrhythmia.. It could be ectopic beats which are very common and harmless but you may get more of them when you lie down. Even with indigestion many folk report that symptoms worsen when they lie down so ironically, this lying down malarkey which is supposed to be relaxing can actually be quite disruptive to our poor wee systems!! Try not to be scared even though that is easier said than done. You will get to the bottom of it with medical staff and it could be something or nothing. But you are definitely not alone in experiencing this. I slept completely upright for many many months in 2014-15 as my symptoms were so bad at night. It was the only way that I could sleep and I got used to it with lovely comfy pillows to totally prop me up at all sides and some nice relaxing music on and decaf tea. I would eventually fall asleep and get a good sleep that way. Best wishes and positive thoughts xx

  • I woke up once sleeping on my left side my heart was going bonkers and my head was killing me. Propped myself up on my back and it slowed and then felt like the atria were taking turns to pump. I couldn’t help but fall back to sleep at this point. When I woke up a few hours later all was normal but I had a bad headache and had to pee for England. I do not sleep on my left side ever after that. Heart beat 60bpm on youtube sends me off to sleep when my heart is fluttering about. My heart will synchronise with it which helps. x

  • Thank you all for your helpful comments and suggestions.

You may also like...