Fast heart rate in the middle of the night

Hi everyone, I always wanted to ask my fellow sufferers if you have ever experience this. As an anxiety sufferer, I live my life worrying too much about everyday things, body feelings, sudden death, etc,,.. Lately I have been going through a lot of stress because I have just moved countries and the changes of routines always triggers anxiety. I had these experiences about 6-7 times in the last three years, but I cannot pinpoint what it is. I go to sleep as normal around 12 midnight , and around 3 o'clock I wake up feeling weird, always the same pattern, sit down in the bed and suddenly my heart speeds up big time, when I ridge for the blood pressure machine my pulse is 115 and blood pressure goes up to 150/97 (normally my HR is average 78 and my BP is 120/70) my mouth goes dry and I feel terrified, I really feel my heart pounding fast, it takes about 5-10 minutes to gradually go down, and afterwards I feel very scared I do not want to go back to sleep. I have mentioned it to my cardiologist and he did all the appropriate tests, but as usual when I wore the Holter machine I didn't have the dreadful episode so back to square one and living in doubt whether it's a serious palpitation or not, very difficult to diagnose if they don't catch it with the monitor. I would like to hear experiences and if it happens to any of you the same way that it happens to me, I need reassurance because the doctor's can give me an answer.

Thank you for reading my post.


Featured Content

Join our community

The community helps everyone affected by anxiety by providing support, information and guidance.


Featured by HealthUnlocked

14 Replies

  • My heart normally races during the night when I have to get up to go to the toilet and ends up usually over 100bpm which I end up going 4 times or more during the night now cause of anxiety and always worst during the night. I always get weird muscle twitches around my chest at night and feels like my heart is quivering which I think is just due to anxiety as tests came back normal but don’t really have palpitations anymore I had them 5 days straight then they went away and only get the odd one every so often and hope they don’t come back as I worry about my heart enough and everything else i get is bad enough.

  • Hi star68, I've been doing some research on why people tend to wake up at 3am. What is it about that time that jolts us awake? Being overly stressed causes the Adrenal Glands to fire off Adrenaline. At 3am is when the liver regenerates. It needs glycogen. If you are over stressed you body may not have enough. When the liver can't get the glycogen it needs your Adrenal Glands to compensate by releasing Adrenaline which causes the startle, the heart beating fast, the churning in the stomach and on and on.

    With the high levels of adrenaline in our bodies, it causes us to over react to normal responses such as a phone ringing can set us off into an immense fear. I found the explanation of why this happens at a particular time of the night, interesting. Knowing is learning why our body and mind connection cause our anxiety. x

  • You are very right. I could never work out why I get startled so easily, my family can't understand why every little noise, doesn't have to be loud, will wake me up from a sleep with my heart racing fast, and if I am busy doing something and somebody calls me or there is a sudden noise, my heart will start beating really fast. But your reply makes a lot of sense and I understand better why we get woken up with this horrible fast heart beat. I must say I am overly stress at the moment and every time I had experienced an episode it usually coincides with a stressful period. Thanks again for your reply.

  • Wow very interesting

  • star68, you are not alone in startling easy. It has happened to me as well with the ring of the phone or doorbell and it didn't make any difference if it were in my home or on tv. My reaction was the same. You can almost feel like a switch is turn on and within a split second the adrenaline is released. It will get better in time. xx

  • Well, I have been like this for years, and I still can't help it. I have learned to accept it. Before I used to get really upset because I kept thinking that getting startled so often will damage my heart, now I don't react and don't think of anything I just let it pass, but I really envy people that don't hear any noise while sleeping, or very rarely get startled, they don't know how lucky they are. Our condition it's very debilitating and frustrating at times.

  • It is frustrating and at times debilitating star68. There are a lot of things we have to adjust in our lives because of this. I love music but if I listen to something that stirs up my emotions good or bad, the adrenaline appears and does it's number. Of course after all these years, I don't panic but rather get angry that I can't enjoy something like I use to w/o getting a kick back from it. x

  • Hi again Agora1, the thing that I envy the most is seeing people living happily, enjoying themselves without a health worry in their lives. I must think about health problems about 5-6 times a day, I see danger everywhere, and I live in constant tension, every little twitch, dizzy spell, headache, irregular heartbeat triggers my fears of imminent death. It's a constant battle. I wish they could find out more about our condition, what triggers an anxious mind? Is it trauma, genetics, they way one is brought up? I still don't know.

  • Hi star68, Everyone has a different background. Some is genetics but others have to do with up bringing and/or events in their lives that made a deep impression on they way we think about life.

    I had well meaning, loving parents who (without meaning to) instilled that life is dangerous, be wary of everybody and everything. Be cautious as well as being over protected in health matters. Never was allowed to make decisions on my own the doubt was put into my mind by my mother.

    It's amazing that I did make a turn around but not until suffering with anxiety and agoraphobia for years. I am finally my own person and a better person for that. That besides having been close to death twice in my life...I think answers your questions. x

  • You are right. My mother as well made me see the world as a dangerous place, and always made aware of illnesses and diseases as a way to protect me. Even in my adult life I only needed to hear from her about an illness and that would trigger my anxiety. I always listened and follow her advise, while my sisters never took any notice of her advise and the fears she was trying to pass on to us, and they grew up into adulthood without fears and never affected them, but I got health and general anxiety as a result. I know my mum was only trying to protect us and made us aware of the dangers, but in my case I grew into a very fearful and anxious teenager-adult.

  • star68, I think we had the same mother, to a "T"... You are absolutely correct, my sister never paid attention to what my mother said. I however had an anxious teen life which continued into my adult life. Same case scenario. It's unbelievable what too much protection can do. Well at least you know you are not alone. I bet there are a lot of others like us. xx

  • Thanks again for your post Agora1. The thing is that I keep worrying if releasing adrenaline every time we get startled (everyday for me!) it's bad for the heart. I did some research and they said to have a white noise machine to get used to noises, have you heard about it?

  • Hi star68 ,I have similar experiences go to bed feeling fine (iam 45) wake up 3 or 4 feeling strange chest feels heavy heart pounds and skips beats or feels like it does (very scary at that time of night)..i find myself checking my pulse to reassure my self ...went to doctor many times had many tests and everything seems to be normal, iam at my wits end cause I know there's something wake with my mouth bone dry, my doc thinks it my be sleep apnea which does carry a lot of the same symptoms, and can be dangerous if not if u have not got tested for sleep apnea I would recommend u do,..I'll know in a few months if it's that or I'll have to do with 2 to 3 hours sleep a night till then....,,

  • Thank you for your reply, but I always thought sleep apnea is related to snoring? Do you snore? I don't unless I have a cold.

You may also like...