Sleep!!: I’m currently waiting ablation for... - AF Association

AF Association

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I’m currently waiting ablation for afib. I have very few episodes at moment as flecanide and beta blockers seems to be controlling them however the last couple of months I just feel rubbish. Extremely anxious and sooo tired. Everyday I have pain of somesort in my chest. My biggest issue however is if I try to sleep at all, I fall asleep easily enough but then I have a feeling like my body/heart is shaking me awake and I feel really odd and anxious. When this happens I’m usually in nsr but heart rate has sped up. I’m getting to the point of just not wanting to sleep as it really frightens me. I remember feeling the same before my first ablation but that was 12 years ago and I’m 50 now. I guess I’m scared my heart is packing up so I’m really worried about another ablation. I don’t drink or smoke and fairly active but easily good 3 stone overweight! Can afib be reason for sleep problems like this or is something else going on? I don’t talk to anyone about this or know anyone to bounce things off of. I don’t want to worry my sons so this is my link to people going through the same. I’d be hugely grateful for any advice. X

6 Replies

Helen I suspect the problem is the other way round. Apart from the weight problem, which you should really work on before the ablation, sleep apnoea is often a contributary factor in AF. This also is often exacerbated by weight. Why not ask for a sleep test to check as many people do discover this and find relief from using a machine to help them breath at night.

On the weight front a BMI of <25 is considered ideal in these cases. I am surprised this has not been discussed with you already pending your ablation.

Helenfox in reply to BobD

Thanks BobD, yes I’ve been working hard on my weight as it does worry me. Lost a stone so far and won’t be giving up! My cardio said I shouldn’t keep worrying about weight as he’s ablated very large people but personally I want the best outcome! My bmi is 27. I don’t really understand sleep apnea but do you mean that’s what could’ve waking me and causing the feelings?

Hidden in reply to Helenfox

you don't have to be overweight to have SA, although it is a contributory factor. A friend of mine's 8 year old daughter has it!!

I was diagnosed with SA when I first caught AF, my EP spotted it when i was on a ward for 10 nights. It's definitely worth getting investigated if you can, although I had asked my GP several times in the years previous but he wouldn't refer me .

as for SA, you stop breathing for a period of time, and this can happen several times an hour. when you stop breathing (usually because of an obstruction, your windpipe closing for example) your blood sats drop, then your heart speeds up in an attempt to get some oxygen moving. This can trigger AF, or, you wake up with your heart pounding.

I have had 3 years on a CPAP machine, even though my SA was very mild, and had I not got AF they would not have treated it. It takes a while to get used to sleeping with all the kit on, but I feel so much better!!!

Hi Helen

I had similar issues, lost two stone and they went away I had mild sleep apnea which I am convinced contributed to my AF . It's tough but if you lose a significant amount of weight you will see a world of difference in your sleep. All the best.


For me I found the medications to give me disturbed sleep more than anything else. There were times I'd lie there and feel/listen to my heart and worry about it being too intense too fast etc but I had an app on my phone I'd use and measure my HR, realise it was fine in the 70s and be able to go to sleep.

My BMI is around 30, it was slightly less than this when AF first kicked in and I've struggled with my weight ever since, partly because of the bisoprolol, partly due to being inactive because of the AF and a knee problem and partly because I comfort eat when I'm feeling crap.

I really struggle to loose weight but most recently I’ve got really bad plantar fasciitis and struggling to walk. Still doing my 10,000 steps most days but in agony by the time I go to bed! I sometimes think the pain in my foot makes my heart rate go up! I’ve booked appointment with gp and gonna ask about sleep apnea. Loosing weight is priority right now though, hoping it will help my foot pain too! Yes I agree I comfort eat too often when I’m anxious, takes a huge amount of will power!

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