Is your heart racing at night? Does it wake you up from sleep or keep you from falling asleep? If your heart is pounding almost every night, you may need to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. But if it happens only occasionally, then it may not be a serious problem. However, you may want to learn what causes fast heartbeat at night, read on to find your answer and possible effective remedies for you.
What Can Cause Heart Racing at Night?
1. Nightmares or Night Terrors
If you suddenly wake up with yourheart racing, you may have been experiencing nightmares. This symptom may be accompanied by fast breathing and sweating on the forehead. People who have night terrors usually remain asleep throughout their experience and do not remember their dreams, but they may experience rapid heartbeats. Although nightmares or night terrors are harmless, they can disrupt sleep or lead to some injury if they occur often.
2. Emotional Triggers
Heart racing at night can also be due to emotional triggers. Rapid heart rates are often triggered by emotional factors such as anxiety, stress or excitement, all of which increase the amount of adrenaline (a hormone) produced by the body.
3. Hormonal Changes in Period, Pregnancy and Menopause
Hormonal and other bodily changes during menstrual periods, pregnancy and menopause can cause your heart to beat faster. Fortunately, if you are otherwise healthy, these changes are temporary and will not cause serious problems.
4. Certain Medications or Substance
You may be taking certain medications that cause heart racing at night. Palpitation is a common side effect of many medications. Drugs medications used to treat high blood pressure and asthma, for example, often cause your heart to beat rapidly. Besides, the consumption of spicy foods, caffeine, nicotine alcohol and recreational drugs can also make your heart beat faster. Such an effect may be more obvious at night when your body rests.
5. Low Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force that the blood exerts against the walls of your arteries. For healthy adults, blood pressure is lowest when the body is at rest, usually at night. In the morning, as you get out of bed, your blood pressure slowly rises and tends to be the highest in the afternoon.
However, a few people have very low blood pressure at night, so the body needs to increase heart rate to maintain good circulation of blood. In severe cases, your heart may beat too fastso it gives you a feeling of heart racing at night.
6. Low Blood Sugar Level
Having a low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia) can cause your heart to beat faster, and you may experience other symptoms like dizziness, confusion, and shakiness. This can be a dangerous situation, particularly if you have diabetes. Your body depends on sugar for energy to be able to function. When your sugar level becomes too low, your body cannot function well, so your heart beats rapidly to overcome the problem. This can happen when you skip meals, exercise too hard or receive too much insulin.
7. Heart Disease
Heart racing at night may be a symptom of heart disease, which may be associated with coronary artery disease, a previous heart attack, or other problems in the heart valves or heart muscle. Click HERE to learn warning signs of heart problems.
8. Other Health Conditions
You may have a medical condition that causes your heart to beat faster. Rapid heartbeats may be caused by a number of medical problems that need further evaluation and treatment such as:
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
- High fever (body temperature of 38°C/100.4°F or higher)
When to Seek Medical Help
If you experienceheart racing at night that lasts only a few seconds, you may not need medical evaluation. However, if you have frequent palpitations or a medical problem that may cause your palpitations to worsen, call your doctor. You may need further tests like heart-monitoring tests to see what is causing your problem.
Seek emergency care if you also experience:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Severe dizziness
- Sudden shortness of breath
How to Deal with Heart Racing at Night
Treatment options of heart racing at night depend on the underlying cause. In most cases, it is harmless and may go away without treatment. Your doctor may suggest you to avoid certain triggers and modify your lifestyle such as:
Treatments for palpitation include antiarrhythmic drugs, such as beta blockers or calcium channel blockers. If these medications do not effectively reduce your palpitations, stronger drugs that act directly on the heart may be necessary. Remember to follow the medical professional’s advice on when taking medication.
2. Catheter Ablation
This procedure involves small wires being threaded from your leg veins into your heart to trigger arrhythmia, in order to identify and treat the problem areas. This is highly effective when the specific region causing the heart problem is identified, such as an SVT or supraventricular tachycardia.
3. Home Remedies
If you do not have any medical problem that needs specific treatment, certain remedies may be sufficient to relieve heart racing at night.Here are some effective home remedies:
- Taking grape juice several times a day can help with palpitation.
- Ripe guava may be eaten on an empty stomach; also good for anemia and nervousness.
- Powdered anise seeds combined with dry coriander.
- Honey can be taken with a glass of water and lemon juice, before going to bed.
4. Avoid Triggers
Avoid foods and beverages or substances that cause palpitations like nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, and drugs. Avoid certain medications that stimulate the heart, such as medicines for cough and colds, and some herbal or nutritional supplements.
5. Manage Your Emotions
Managing stress and avoiding strong emotions. Stress-reducing techniques include yoga, biofeedback, tai chi, guided imagery, aromatherapy and otherrelaxation exercises.
6. Comfort and Reassurance
Sometimes, your symptoms are not related to a serious condition. With some reassurance from a medical professional, you may overcome your symptoms without specific medical treatment.
7. Preventive Tips
If your doctor says that no treatment is necessary, you can try to avoid getting palpitations by doing these tips:
- Keep a daily journal of activities, foods and beverages, and other things that may trigger your palpitations so you can avoid them. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Don’t smoke.
- Eat a healthy diet to keep your blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure under control.
- Exercise regularly. Try some relaxation exercises, like deep breathing or yoga to reduce stress.
- Ask your doctor about switching medications if you think they are causing palpitations.