Racing heart beat when trying to go to sleep - Thyroid UK

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Racing heart beat when trying to go to sleep


Every night when I go to bed & turn everything off to go to sleep , I'm experiencing rapid heart beats. & a sensation of being wound up like a coiled spring

It doesn't matter that two seconds before I'm yawning my head off. & my eyes are so tired they don't want to focus!

So even though I'm going to bed at a reasonable hour I'm not getting to sleep until after midnight

This is leaving me feeling extremely tired when I get up

Even taking 2 sleeping pills doesn't help

Anyone have any suggestions ?

52 Replies

Hi This sounds exactly like Atrial Fibrillation ( . A.F ) It is common but needs treating, especially with anti co -agulation taken to prevent clot. Therefore important to get a diagnosis, intermittent so no easy. It is well known that thyroid disease can cause an early onset of A.F

The only way to first diagnose it you need to do ourself. Take your Heart rate ( pulse) must be manually for accuracy. Take it 3 times a day especially to include these times. You should clearly feel the heart swinging. Take the 2 weeks readings to the GP.

Ask for a 7 day heart monitor at home. They well give you just a 24 hour one, sometimes taht is not enough. If it proves to be A.F Then be sure to see a cardiologist who specialises in heart rhythms , not a normal one, needs to be in a large teaching hospital.

It is common, nothing to worry about but does needs diagnosing and treating.

problem but still have the correct diagnosis, this is very important.

Best wishes,


Fed_up in reply to Jackie

Thanks Jackie

I will follow your advice as it is making me nuts

Besides being freaky when you can count the beats & feel it skipping one

Jackie in reply to Fed_up

Hi You do not need to panic but if HR gets to 150 and stays there, most unlikely then 999., so long as it swings, not a panic. Much better s described for a "proper" diagnosis and the correct referral.


moomy in reply to Jackie

Hi - just reading this with my 7 day monitor on my chest! Wondering if you know if medication has to be taken all the time if the AFs are only periodic? Thanks

dotti in reply to moomy

Hi i suffer with the same thing but it happens during the day too, i am under an electrophysiologist who deals with all things related to heart palps.

He diagnosed Atrail tacyhcardia but i do have a leaky heart valve that can contribute to this, he did comment that the menopause can add to this and also thyroid medication. Since been placed on mercury pharma after the eltroxin shortage things flared up big style.

So i have took matters into my own hands and have now changed my tablets to a different brand, thanks to one of the members on here pointing me in the right direction.

I have been prescribed beta blockers but i am waiting to see if things settle down with the new tablets, if i was you i would get myself reffered to a specialist.

The main thing is try not freak out and i am the biggest worry wort ever, panic makes it worse i have woke my partner up during the night convinced i was about to die, so i know how you feel its bloody rotten.

Hang on in there and hope you get sorted soon

Dotti x

dotti in reply to dotti

Marylyn just read your post, thats interesting even though my thyroid results are all normal i take a small amount of levo 75mcgs, i do feel very,very hyper at times, will have serious words with my endo as he keeps trying to blame everything on the menopause.

Dotti x

Jackie in reply to moomy

Hi Yes, Only to well! The most important thing is Warfarin, which is vital. If you have A.F do not do not be fobbed off any ignorant docs and told you only need asperin, many years out of date! Make sure you see a specialist arrythymia cardio at a large hospital. Warfarin has to be an INR of 2.5 for AF.. Just to prevent clots, mostly brain ones. That is the most important thing with A.F. itself, some people find digoxin OK, but a blockers there are many.Bisoperim usually the first choice,it can put on weight, I cannot take that and have Nebivolol.Also. last resort is Amiordeone which lowers the thyroid. Nasty drug but brilliant. Often all 3. I take these and more as I have had A.F life long but have also much more serious arythymias, VT`s and another one.

It is important to have regular electrolyte tests, Potassium, sodium ( U`s and E`s), calcium ( corrected) and magnesium.Always take Beta Blockers after thyroid tests or it gives a false result.

If the drugs do not control the A.F normal people can have first try a cardioversion. A tiny shock under anaethetic. Does not usually work. If in A.F all the time an oblation, various sorts. A catheter to the heart giving a shock. Not as bad as it sounds, with a GA. Often works for some years. However, still essential to stay on the Warfarin in case it suddenly returns, it does.

There is a better new anticoagulation but expensive, GP`s will not give it.

You are not warned but if to start to have TIA`s, then the Warfarin needs to be higher and the INR 3, this is unusual fro A.f.

I hope this is not too much info. I like to know everything! Forgive the spelling, not too good at the moment and no spell check.

Any thing else get back to me.


Hidden in reply to moomy

After my diagnosis I am now on Warfarin for life but if it has saved me having a stroke who's bothered ... and my surgery takes very good care of me!!!

It might be that you are over medicated. I find that if I am I get heart palps and when trying to relax for sleep my heart races. Have bloods done and go from there.


I had heart palpitations at nighttime. I used to waken in the night sweatimg and my heart racing. I was so tired but could not sleep. I had gone over active. Do you have hashimos? Endo told me its difficult to control if you have hashimos. Swings and roundabouts over and underactive.

Fed_up in reply to Hidden

Yes I did. ?? Now I have no thyroid as had TT in July 2013

Last results were in range

What medication are you on and when do you take it?

Fed_up in reply to T3sortedme

Im on eutroxsig (thyroxin sodium ) 175g taken when I wake up

Last levels were TSH (DXI -800) 0.8 mIU/L ( 0.40-5.60)

T3sortedme in reply to Fed_up

I have noticed I get night sweats if I eat later than 8pm. I guess its to do with digestion etc.

I have palpitations normally but these get worse if I am overdosed, over tired or stressed. Your TSH looks OK. I need to be under 1 to be well, normally around 0.1 which is regarded as low but seems necessary for me to be well.

Fed_up in reply to T3sortedme

I found that when it was lower I was too drained to do more than look after the pets

I get very hungry at night even after eating a big dinner but am not very hungry during the day

T3sortedme in reply to Fed_up

Do you mean 'lower TSH' or 'lower dosage eutroxsig' made you drained?

Fed_up in reply to T3sortedme

lower dose of tablets............sorry for the confused way I wrote it

T3sortedme in reply to Fed_up

It would not seem to be overdose then, though the symptoms are similar. Do you remember the previous dose on which you were too tired? You say you get hungry - do you think you have you lost any weight?

I have found this only happens to me when I try to go to sleep on my right side (comfy) so have had to make sure I actually go to sleep on my left, then it doesn't seem to happen when i roll over later! Rest of the time its fine ☺

Fed_up in reply to essdobs

Yes that makes some sense but doesn't matter for me what side :-( I have to sit up for awhile before I can lay down but thanks for your input

hello fed up, have you got any other symptoms , i can relateto the heart thumping racing and wound up feeling as i have had that for 4 years, i had many other symptoms all listed under the adrenalcrisis, act---- which i know now that i had, and was left to suffer it, i still get no sleep, i was so wound up, still am, like i was plugged into a socket,if you have any other symptoms post them , i too have had possible atrial fib, but i also thinkthat is connected to endocrine probs, i have ectopic heart beats too, now it is found that i have severe blood pooling hence dizzyness on standing an dheart rates shoots up, it is best to get these sort of things checked cos doc are usually ok with hearts, it is just adrenal and thyroid and hormones and endocrine that they hate with a vengence. let us know what they say.

Fed_up in reply to bluepettals2

will do

as for other symptoms : I get this weird crawling feeling in my ears ............sounds funny but makes me think that something is in there!!

I have also had the feeling that some one is flicking the on/ off switch in my head off and on really quick..............cant say that its a dizzy feeling but it is scary as I never know if Im going to hit the deck

bluepettals2 in reply to Fed_up

i have dreadful 'pressure type feeling as if ' my blood vessels are swelling' in my skull so that there is not enough room, it builds up and so does the pain it has been there 24/7 for four bloody years, it was total nonstop, after 4 years of this it is dying down comes back dies down, when i get respite it is amazing i wallow in it i am not internalling throbbing and twitching, i think this is the adrenaline and also substance P. check out 'substance p all wound up' from byron wellness resources.

Fed_up in reply to bluepettals2

thanks for the link...............I haven't had my adrenals checked

I had exactly the same when my adrenals were exhausted. Have you had yours tested? I think privately is the only way.

Fed_up in reply to kiltis

:-) seems like its now on my to get done list

My dr found I had poor adrenal function,B12 deficiency,gut & liver inflammation.I started Melantonin 1mg amazing results.I was taking thyroxine 50mcgs ceased it as pharmacist said I had all symptons of overmedication despite my thyroid tests were in normal range & are still 8mths later.I am now taking methyl B 12 levels 400 need to be > 600.i sleep well now thank God for drs who listen.

bluepettals2 in reply to Marylyn

wow youre doctor found adrenals can i share him /her please? what did he do to find teh adrenals then marylyn

Fed_up in reply to Marylyn

Interesting point but all my levels b12, iron, folate , liver & kidneys, csr all good

Do you check your bp when it's like this? Or through the day. You should tell your GP

Fed_up in reply to Caradognorth

Interesting point about BP

I think I will have to save up & get a monitor for home

I do know that my headaches are often a sign of my BP being elevated



Do you drink a lot of tea? Endo told me tea can give you heart palpitations. I was surprised at this because I love coffee and I was asking about coffee implications and he brought up tea.

Fed_up in reply to Hidden

No I don't drink tea - I'm a coffee girl lol

This happens to me sometimes too.

I thought it could be too much medication initially but through a process of elimination I realised that two things were causing it. Firstly eating too much chocolate/sweet things in the evening a couple of hours before trying to sleep (easy to do when you're trying to get more energy) and secondly drinking diet drinks with Sucralose.

I worked out that Sucralose was a problem for me because my heart was fine in the evening. I was knackered and had already cut down on medication in case that was the problem. I lay down on the floor, heart fine. I drank some diet ginger beer and later sitting on the sofa my heart did wrong beats. I lay down on the floor and yes, my heart was going strongly and had wrong beats. The only thing I'd done in that time was drink the diet ginger beer. It had sucralose in it. I googled it and found out that others had problems with it, one article I read had loads of comments on it, including one from an A & E nurse who had heart problems when she drank it.

So I stopped drinking it and that solved my problem. Sometimes I forget about eating too much sweet things before bed (also too much alcohol can be a problem) but then remember that I've got to be careful.

Worth considering.

Totoro x

Fed_up in reply to Totoro

I can't stand the taste of artificial sweeteners so that's not a problem for me

I do not as a rule keep sweets/ or chocolate in the house as way too easy to eat too much but thanks for your input

I had the same thing and it is the reason I changed my doctor. I was told there was nothing I could do about it except take pills to slow it down.

I went on holiday for two weeks and while there I got out of routine with my pills and realised suddenly my heart had stopped racing...I had forgotten to take my pills! Needless to say I didn't take them again (the relief of the normal heart beat was incredible) and went to a different doctor when I got back. He said I had been over medicated and gradually (it took a while as I had stopped my medication for two weeks) he sorted me out. This was when I realised I had to look after myself and know what was going on with my health. I joined this site and with a good doctor a lot of experienced knowledge from people on here I am now as fit and happy as I have ever been. I have hashimotos and things can still play up but I know now why.

I still look at the letters though as often I can tell of my experience and perhaps help people such as yourself, therefore giving a little back of the enormous help I have had from here.

I had this problem when I was on some tablets which didn't suit me. In my case it was amlopidine, a blood pressure medication, but it has also happened (in a lesser way) with certain brands of generic thyroxine.

turquoise13 in reply to JudyS

Had the racing pulse plus many more probs when I was on thyroxine. GP & thyroid clinic treated me as if I was lying. Started to think I was mad! Dr S rescued me eventually, fantastic man. more aware of my heart when I have forgotten my dose of T3. About 20 minutes later all is well.... Just wondered what your FT3 test result is ? Lots of things are connected to Low T3 syndrome - including hearts. There is quite a bit written about Low T3 and research has been done.... on PubMed....

Please try adding magnesium to your diet or try a supplement. Adrenals use up your magnesium and contributes to this. Try a 500 mg. magnesium glycinate at bedtime or even mag oxide if you can't find the other. Often time a simple measure will work.


this must be concerning and annoying to you.

If it is adrenal then I would expect this to wake you up in the early hours and not before you go to bed. It may be that you have the onset of a heart condition of a fast heart beat.. It could be too much T4 that would cause it and too much t3.. It could also be insulin resistance but again this will wake you up in the early hours with a fast heart beat. i would get it checked out with a holter for your heart rate and a blood test for your TSH.

Good luck



I was just about to reply when I saw '40 replies' ... and the very first Jackie has suggested just what I was going to ...AF... I too experienced the racing heart etc., and I went to see my doctor the very next day ... I am now on Warfarin for life but I was a stroke waiting to happen ... so sincerely hope you have done something about it!!!

dotti in reply to Hidden

How does the warfarin make you feel. my cardio did mention to me that perhaps i may have to take it in the future

thanks dotti x

Hidden in reply to dotti

Hello Dotti

I've only been on Warfarin since August last year but so far so good. My husband has been on it about 15 years and thinking how he was back then I'm sure we've enjoyed many more happy years together than the future looked then ... and no side effects noticed!!!

Reading other replies our thyroids seem to be an issue and I too had my thyroid gland out about 10 years ago and I eventually stabilised on 100mcg ...I'm also Diabetic (27 months) and have also had Benign Positional Vertigo several times if anyone can associate with that?!!!

dotti in reply to Hidden

Thanks anneii

Thats made me feel a little bit more optimistic

Dotti x

Sorry havent read all the replies. When I was on low dose Thyroxine I had exactly the same symptoms. The docter put me on levo and then kept me on 75mg. I went up to 120mg and felt better though symptoms did not completely disappear. When I switched to armour all that stopped. It's horrible and frightening, I know. What is your TSH, FT4 and FT3 and what dose/meds are you on? again sorry if this has already been said. x

My heart beats fast in waits me out of my sleep at night can u please help me with this

Instead of sleeping pills consider L-Theanine, an amino acid. It can also be taken in the daytime to relax. It isn't a sleeping pill and won't make you drowsy. For bedtime, try 1/2 hr or so b4 bedtime. Experiment with it.

After bereavement, a neighbour gave me his sleeping pills. I hadn't slept for nights and my heart kept racing. He was over 6ft and his pills were effective for him, but had zero impact on me. But L-Theanine worked.

Hi my name is shubham I am 22 when I try to sleep after taking dinner my head starts little painting it feels like fainting and my heart beat goes fast I have a blood pressure too I don't know what to do

This same thing happends to me too and I really don’t know what it is it’s like what you said it won’t happen until I turn everything off and try to go to bed my heart will start racing and I have had panic attacks in the past and I have really bad car anxiety from an accident but this one just showed up recently within a year it started and now it’s almost every night but I don’t know what it is

This happens me too.I am 31, female, 147 lb weight,a post graduate student. I don't drink any stimulants. I eat fruits and vegetables.No coffee, No smoking, No alcohol,No stresses.But, I am curious why this happen to me. My heartbeat fast after a meal or when I lay down on bed. My chest pains a little. I went to the school hospital and tested with 24 hr ECG test. The doctor found arrhythmia. The average beat is 78. The doctor said no need to be worried. No medication is provided.But I think I am not so okay. My heat beat fast when I lay down, especially this happen in the afternoon. Should I go and see another doctor? I don't really know how to do.

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