Can Sleep Cure Your Heart Palpitations?

Tom August  —  September 11, 2014 — 36 Comments

[Note: This post is part of a larger series about the The Best Cures and Remedies for Heart Palpitations]

Ahhhh sleep. It seems so simple. Almost too simple. Surely just a few more minutes of sleep each night won’t cure my heart palpitations, right? Wrong. Sleep is important. I would argue that if you have heart palpitations, the first thing you should consider adjusting is your sleeping habits.

Sleep and Heart Palpitations

Photo Credit: WallyMC

A large percentage of heart palpitations are caused by stress and anxiety. The less you sleep, the more you are prone to become anxious.

I can’t honestly say that getting more sleep instantly cured my heart palpitations. It didn’t. But it did help…a lot. And now that my palpitations are under control, getting the right amount of sleep is essential to keeping them under control. If my palpitations start coming back, the first thing I do is try to get more sleep, and more often than not that does the trick.

Unfortunately, when I first got heart palpitations, I couldn’t sleep. The palpitations were horrible. Really horrible. Every third beat was a terrifying reminder that I may be having a heart attack. I would lie awake for hours feeling my pulse, wondering if I should go to the emergency room or not. Sleeping less only made things worse. For some strange reason, I was convinced that if I sat up in bed the palpitations weren’t as bad. So I tried to sleep sitting up as if I were in an airplane, and we all know how well people sleep on airplanes. It went from bad to comically bad. I was miserable.

My wife finally forced me to try some relaxation techniques. I did breathing exercises, listened to calming music, and bought some great fiction books to take my mind off the heart skips. I also started taking magnesium before bed and I’m glad I did. It helped me relax a little. I tried all sorts of types of magnesium (pills, powder, etc.) but the one I liked best was Triple Calm Magnesium. I would take it with a hot cup of decaf tea and read my book till I was finally ready for bed. I even bought a sleep tracker to monitor my sleep patterns and the quality of my sleep.

My wife also bought me a sunrise wake-up light, and it is awesome. To me there was nothing worse, or more stressful, than hearing the morning alarm go off. I told my wife that I wish I could just wake up to the sun every morning, so she found an alarm clock that simulated the sunrise. It’s a bit pricey, but I have used it just about every day for three years and there is no going back for me. I love it.

I also wrote down a mantra that I made myself say over and over when I began to feel anxious while trying to sleep and memorized verses of scripture. It may sound funny, but it helped.

Honestly, it didn’t happen right away, but in a few weeks, I began to sleep normally again. My habit of staying awake worrying over palpitations gave way to a new sleep routine habit. It was the first major step in managing my heart palpitations.

SIDE NOTE: I didn’t try any sleep aids. They terrify me. I’ve read too many stories about people who took Ambien and started having crazy side effects like sleep driving or hallucinations. No thanks. There are even multiple (yes, multiple) websites devoted to stories of what people did while on Ambient. Crazy. So I just stuck to more natural remedies.

So what do you think? How has sleep (or the lack of sleep) affected your palpitations? Any tips or tricks to falling asleep?

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DISCLAIMER: Keep in mind I am NOT a medical professional and this is NOT a Medical website. I am just a guy who got sick and tired of dealing with anxiety, stress, and benign heart palpitations and started blogging about my journey. Hopefully some of that information is helpful to you. But what works for me or others might not work for you. Please do not do ANYTHING described or recommended in this website without the consultation and consent of your Primary Care Physician or Cardiologist. After all, this is your heart we are talking about. Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission that goes toward supporting this website. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

36 responses to Can Sleep Cure Your Heart Palpitations?

  1. Absolutely, you are 100% correct about sleep affecting palpitations! My favorite trick to getting to sleep is to put on my jammies and drink herbal tea while watching a funny, light hearted TV show. Bedtime routines are good for children — we need them, too. If I’m stressed, l-theanine is a great natural sleep aid that calms the racing mind. Sadly, avoiding caffeine and chocolate help me, too, but sleep is the #1 factor by far.

  2. I have also found that a restful night’s sleep is very helpful in controlling the palpitations. I found that with daily exercise, or at least daily activity, and a heart healthy diet, I very rarely experience palpitations anymore. It takes some time, but for me exercise worked almost immediately (and helped me sleep better).

  3. Hi Tom,

    My name is Donald Ross and I am the founder of Vital Biologics (www.vitalbiologics.com). We recently launched our patent pending product Heart Calm, designed to help support a healthy heart rhythm and ease heart palpitations, and would love to discuss partnering with you and your wonderful blog. We apologize for posting this as a comment, but could not find any other way to reach you.

    Thank you,
    Donald Ross (donald@vitalbiologics.com)

    • Thank you for the information, I will order it from Amazon, hope it helps. From the look of it seems it has the needed ingredients the are usually recommended for heart palpitations.

    • I want to know more about this Heart Calm. Would you kindly help me in writing back to me on hk.raghu@tcs.com

  4. I’m having the exact same issues. I am 33 years old and I noticed it last year. I also have had a ton of stress and anxiety in my life as well. Around about a year ago I was setting at my computer and just typing away when I got this horrible pounding in my chest and overwhelming feeling that something was wrong bad wrong. I felt hot and my stomach would beat with my heart from my heart pounding so hard. My chest was also tight and I felt like 500 lbs was setting on my chest! I set up for hours wondering if I should go to the ER. I did and had a EKG for almost 12 hours with no issues. They blame my stomach and stress and then let me go. Well fast forward about a year just about 2 or 3 months back it started again and now it happens more and more. I went back to the ER and had another EKG with no issues and they told me it was the same thing as last time. 🙁 When I think about it happening somethings, it starts to happen and I know its not just “Stress” and “anxiety”. Does that sound stupid? I really need some help here cause I really don’t know what I should do.

    • Justin,
      I am 27 and have had heart problems for the past six years. Yikes, I know! My cardiologist managed to fix a problem that he calls PVCs (I don’t remember what it stands for) via surgery (the most horrific surgery ever because I was awake with zero sedation whatsoever), but, I still have palpitations all the time. They are getting worse lately. Unfortunately, the event that you described above sounds like one of two things: not to scare you, but it sounds like it could have been a heart attack OR it could have been a panic/anxiety attack. I’ve experienced all three of those and none of them are fun. I panic a lot and when I panic about my palpitations, they always get worse. I am still trying to find ways to control or eliminate them, but my panic riddled mind keeps making things a terrible ordeal. I would suggest going to your family doctor or an urgent care doctor (which is infinitely cheaper than the ER) and getting a referral for a cardiologist. There is no reason you shouldn’t be able to get one because you know your body better than anyone else and they are PAID to see you, even if you don’t actually have a problem and you just think you do. That’s the job of a doctor is to make sure you are well and the first person who will know that you aren’t is you. See a cardiologist and make sure there is nothing wrong with your heart, but while you are at it, continue coming to sites like this and do everything that YOU can do to get things right. If a regular physician tells you that it’s nothing, demand otherwise. Too many people let small problems become big problems because they are trying to be polite and they don’t want to argue with their doctors. Again, and I can’t stress this enough, no one knows your body like you do.

      • Has anyone experienced head aches after these flutters as I call them? It’s like I have a constant adrenaline rush!

  5. Hello guys, I would like to share my story of having palpitation sensations. Everything started two years ago when I was keen chewing tobacoo user who moderately time-to-time was riding bike. Anyways my life had become more sedentary ever. It started with small palps, really non-existent. I did not care at all, I knew my condition was bad i was telling myself that It would get eventually better somehow. However, time was passing by. I did not touch bike anymore. Stills was chewing tobacoo, smoking sometimes and drinking alcohole every week. Poor diet as well. Then I went to college last year. Oh baby, first 3 months were just alcohol, cigarettes, weed. I had numoreous arrythmias with strong iregullar palpitations. Panic attacks, anxiety, insomnia. I cut down this horrible lifestyle, but I had to pray and fight about 4 months. I stopped drinking, smoking. Tried my best to avoid caffeine, glutamate and stuff. I started walking everyday few kms, still had bad palps but in the end I made best decision in my life. I started swimming. Oh man, breastroke helped with my breathing, heartbeats, pressure … just everything. I beaten down my panick attacks, anxiety, palpitatins. Everything. Last time I was in emergency room. I left it and it was raining, I told myself that I would do everything, I would climb mountains just to get rid of this shitty feelings. Now my first month without palps, with nice pressure of 114/65 , 60 BPM, A very active life. Why am I writing this, because you my friend, your website was the biggest drug that calmed me down and gave me hope through that horrible time

  6. Hello guys! I just wanted to say this blog has helped me tremendously.. I just recently started having palps at the ripe old are of 21.. I have never experienced something as scary as this and even though I am just learning and controlling them, this is the first website I have found that has helped me. Please keep it up and I will be checking back daily! All of you are helping me big time! 🙂

  7. Awesome website. It is the best and most comforting ive found about palpitations. I’m a paramedic that started having palpitations about 8 years ago. I was working 24 hour shifts at the time. I know exactly what they are , even though they are benign it is still scary as hell. I feel for everyone on this site , and can sympathize.
    Sleep is the number one factor with my palpitations. I have cut out the 24 hour shifts and it has made a world of difference. I do still get them once in awhile but nothing like before. I know when i start pushing myself and life gets stressful that the palpitations are sure to follow. Ive had to stop all alcohol, caffeine, and do notice my stomach/ vagus nerve has allot to do with it. Magnesium has helped but if i take to much i start to fell very lethargic. Thanks for running this great site.

  8. Dear All,
    Here is my two cents on this matter, from hard-won personal experience and experimentation.
    WIFI proximity, smart meters, cell phone transmissions, certain electrical devices/appliances, can interfere with the natural electrical field of the heartbeat.
    Add stressors of various kinds and it takes it over the threshold
    of tolerance. Issues such as sleep deficit, dietary no-no’s, threatening environments, hostile people, wrong meds, the host of
    cell phone antennas, etc. are factors of note.
    Even young, otherwise resilient people can overexpose to manmade EMFs
    (Electro Magnetic Fields) and develop heartbeat issues.
    Older folks, or those recovering from a stressfulhealth issue are especially vulnerable.
    SO???
    Experiment with these stressors and seewhatyou notice.
    There are shielding fabric such as Swiss-Shield, which I have made a sleep hutch with, which has helped when I am nearcell phone antennas, etc.
    Do not sleep near a cell phone, computer, electric digital clock,
    or smart meter on your house. Turn off WIFI, i-pads, etc. at night and whenever possible.
    Good Luck and Best Wishes,
    WV

  9. I’m 22 and I’ve been having heart palps, they wake me up at night , my whole body kind of shakes internallly, i can’t sleep the whole night. I’m really worried ! Please someone help me

    • Best initial move… remove all electric devices from your bedroom.
      Iphone in another room turned off, no computers on, Get rid of plug-in electric clocks, use a little battery operated travel alarm with a dim, button triggered, light. Turn off the wifi for the night.
      Do not use a flourescent light bulb near your bed.
      “Smart meters” on your house also broadcast a troubling frequency, and can be replaced, for a fee, by some utility providers upon demand with a standard analog meter. ( in CA, anyway)
      We are all overloaded by an invisible electrical soup. It throws off the heartbeat in some people and makes sleep restless.
      I acquired some “swiss shield daylight fabric”, which I made a sleep shroud with…looks like mosquito netting, and it helps with the signals beyond my immediate control. Good Luck

  10. I’m 22 , I’ve been having heart palps , mostly at night, they wake me up, i can hear them in my left ear!!! It scares the bejesus out of me, last night i was convinced i was having a heart attack! In the morning they go back to normal, normal as in they’re not prominent. I’m really concerned, scared to visit a doctor. Is there anybody who’s going through this? Please help me

  11. I have just found your page and its great to find that I am not alone. I am having terrible trouble sleeping at the moment due to irregular heart palpitations, Had an ECG last week doctor said it showed a slight heart strain but not to worry (as if !) so I am now waiting to have a 24hr heart monitor. Of course since then I have worried so much that I haven’t slept properly in days, even took myself to the hospital at 4 in the morning and my blood pressure and ECG results were completely normal even while I was shaking and panicking! I am sure if I could get a decent nights sleep it would help but as soon as I lay down the palpitations start and then I panic and its a whole vicious circle. Have just bought some magnesium so will try that tonight. I am dreading the night time though.

    • Hi Lisa: How did you make out with the magnesium? I see people on this website use it and wondered if it works. I have been through all the tests and have PVCs and my doctor told me they are nothing to worry about and that it’s from anxiety (of which I am on medicine for). But the palps come out of nowhere and today they have been nonstop. A skipped beat every 5-6 beat. It’s driving me crazy. He did put me on a beta blocker.25 mg but I had to cut back in half to 12.5 mg because my pulse went too low. The 12.5 mg is not doing anything to help the palps.

      • Dear Fellow Heart,

        You may be sensitive to wifi, or cell phone frequencies/antennas, etc.. Try noticing the heart beat pattern and how much you are exposing yourself to wifi, cell phones, cell antennas, and such man made wireless vibes.
        They are what cause my heart pain, arrhythmias, palps and a-fib to spike out of control.
        Also do not sleep witha cell phone near, or even an electric plug-in the wall digital clock.

        Check and see if this may affect you as well. My cardiologist has verified this is causative in some of his patients. I use a calcium channel blocker (and Xanax to sleep).

        Good Luck !

      • Hi Dor
        I took the magnesium for about a week but my panic attacks were so bad that now I have ended up being prescribed fluoxetine ( generic Prozac) so now I am not sure whether to combine the two. On the plus side the panic attacks have subsided and my palpitations are less frequent. I do still feel them a little when I am in bed trying to fall asleep which I am still finding difficult without sleeping tablets. I should get the results of my 24 hr ECG soon so hopefully if it’s ok it may help put my mind at rest. I have read that taking a magnesium supplement can be very helpful so it may be worth trying. I will certainly consider it if it’s safe to combine with my current medication. Hope you find some relief soon. I do think that the more you worry about them the worse they get.

        • As an update to my situation, once I got the results from the 24hr heart monitor confirming that my palpitations were “benign” and I should be “strongly reassured” that my heart was working very well and I should not be concerned about the palpitations, it was like a huge weight lifted from my mind. I gradually got back into my usual exercise routine that I was too afraid to do when I had the palptitations and gradually came off the Prozac in Decemeber. Now I feel great and hardly have any palpitations which just goes to prove that it was all down to anxiety and not a physical heart problem. Hope this gives hope to anyone in a similar situation.

  12. Hi I had a cardiac ablation 2weeks ago the cardiologist said it was 100% successful. ^ days ago my heart started racing without a warning to 350 per minute . I had to put 2 atevans under my tongue and drinking a lexotan to bring mu heartbeat down . it happened every 4 times very 5 hours that day. I thought I was dying. Yesterday it happened again and I was quick with the 2 atevans under my tongue and a lexotan but it took my heart to stop racing about an hour . I was not sure if I had to go to hospital. I am going to the cardiologist for a check up in 5 days. but both times this week when my heart state racing I was very very tired and could not sleep. I think this might be true about the sleep. I have changed my diet 2 moths ago so no alcohol,coffee,wheat .Any advise would help please. Regards Ronelle

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  17. When I found this website about palpitations it had been four nights since I had a sizeable amount of sleep. I was miserable with irritability and headaches caused by my palpitations keeping me from getting sleep. Then I read this blog post about using magnesium to help calm those pounding beats. To my surprise, you mentioned Natural Vitality’s Natural Calm was your favorite. My wife uses Calm to aid in digestion and we had two bottles on hand, as well as magnesium oil. That was two nights ago and I have slept better the last two evenings than I have in a week. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

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  20. This forum is a godsend. I have been struggling with this for years and years and I also suffer from GAD. I really don’t believe that anxiety causes my palps, the palps cause my anxiety. I have tried some of the breathing techniques mixed with the comfort that I’m not alone and found success. It just sucks when you know it will rear its ugly head again and it’s always unexpected and inconvenient. I often wake up with palps and then cannot go back to sleep because I throw myself into a panic attack worrying about whether or not to go to the ER, and if I don’t I fear I will die in my sleep. I take the worry seriously but not seriously enough I suppose because I haven’t been to the ER. Going to make an appt to see a cardiologist asap. Thanks for everyone taking the time to share their experiences. It has talked me off a ledge so to speak. Namaste!

  21. I appreciated this a lot. I’ve been having heart palpitations but when I had my health check up everything was normal. I’m still struggling to figure out what’s causing them. I thought about caffeine but I’ve drank coffee for years, and had no issues til this year.

    I read up on the vagus nerve connection since I usually sleep on my left side or on my back. By sleeping on my back I’ve reduced the intensity of palpitations at night, but they still happen.

    The weird thing is I’m more likely to have them at times that I am relaxing and supposedly at my least tense.

    Anyway, I will try to add more sleep and see if a few weeks of more sleep does anything positive for them.

    Thanks again.

  22. I have been having these palpitations which are frightening for about 10 years now,felt dizzy as if I was going to pass out ,breathless,heart racin etc.I have seen the doctor had ecgs and been in hospital 3 times worn a heart monitor for 24hours then 48 hours but nothing was showing up .Last month I wore a monitor for 1 month and they discovered I have atrial flutter with fast heart beat. I am now waiting to see a cardiologist.The annoying part is If I am walking the dog or out with friends I do not notice it so much it is more noticeable when I am at rest.Having read a lot of comments on here I have realised my palpitations might have started about the time a bought my computer I do use it a lot before I go to bed so I am going to experiment for a while and not use the computer at night will let you know how it goes.

  23. Thank you so much for this post! I’ve had palpitations for years. But last night was the worst and all the things you described I did! I seriously bought I was going to die. And it’s funny how ridiculous it is for us to hunk not to exercise because it’s cUsin heart palpitations! Thank you for your post!!! It really helps to k ow I’m not alone!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. The Best Cures and Remedies for Heart Palpitations | Life Off Beat - September 16, 2014

    […] Sleep […]

  2. 7 Exercises That Help Stop Heart Palpitations | Life Off Beat - April 14, 2015

    […] thought exercise was my magic cure all. However, I was miserable at night and couldn’t sleep with all my heart skips. There were also times I couldn’t get to the gym, […]

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