Feels Like My Heart Stops, I Jolt Awake. Extremely Terrifying



I have the same symptoms. When I am falling a sleep, I wake up scared cause it feels like my heart has stopped and I can't breathe. I finally went to my Doctor and did some blood work and I found out that I have Hashimoto Thyroiditis. I did some research and the symptoms are the same that I have. I hope this helps everyone. Please have your blood work done checking your TSH, T3 and T4 and also your antibodies.


I go to bed ready to sleep I'm tired! As soon as I almost go to sleep. I JUMP AND GASP. I have had several sleep studies. Have never been given a machine cause it doesn't happen there. I just lay there. They tell me I was in R.E.M. I know i was it's not sleep apnea. Once I do go to sleep I sleep all night. What's happening to me happens just as I'm about to fall asleep. I'm there on the verge of sound sleep then I JUMP AND I AM GASPING for air it will happen 4 5 6 times then I believe I get soooooo tired I just pass out and go to sleep. But what is happening before I pass out is really frightening!!!! I hate to say it but I'm glad it not only me

shatter eyes

Me too. Exactly same... sometimes wake with scream and a heartbeat that jumps stop jump jump jump.

It happens so often i dont even tell dr anymore. I had ecg done and normal. Had oxygen monitor machine also normal so its not apnea.

There must be an answer to why this happens since so many others have the same sleep wake heart stop feeling.


Most of the symptoms described in this thread I can certainly relate to and I also put them down to anxiety (possibly ptsd)
The heart palpitations and jerk reactions when falling to sleep are terrifying!
My doctor prescribed me propranolol which helps to reduce blood pressure and anxiety. Also as a short term measure (1 month) I took diazepam which were great and stopped the problems completely. Unfortunately due to its potential addictiveness it can only be taken for 1 month.
I’m still looking for that miracle cure as we all are!
Good luck all!


Yeah I have anxiety PTSD and a TBI and a couple of months ago this started happening to me. I went to bed ready for a goods nights rest and right as I was about to fall asleep it felt like my heart stopped beating followed by a shock/jolt in my chest. It was to say the least extreamley terrifying. and its been happening on a nightly basis ever since. I thought something was wrong with my heart I thought I was going die every night when I went to bed. I'm so grateful and relived I found this forum my minds at ease THANKS TO ALL

Jake f

Over the past few years, this weird occurrence has happened to me occasionally.

When I am laying in...
I have the same problem but I'm 14 and have no idea why this happnes and I can't fall asleep till about 1 every morning and I feel like I'm about to die


Over the past few years, this weird occurrence has happened to me occasionally.

When I am laying in...
Dear Friend... I had the exact same thing happening tome for years and was going to the Cleveland Clinic seeing the best doctors passing out while an inpatient in their care... they did nothing.... telling me nothing was wrong “I had anxiety.” Yet whenever I came to the ER they refused to tell me for three years I was low on potassium and my primary care physician failed to investigate why the potassium continued to be low along with other important values. When potassium and calcium like your case is low, it can impact your heart. In my case, I was an inpatient at the clinic passsing our pressing the call bell telling them it felt like my heart was going to stop yet they did nothing. They barely ran any tests and less than a few months later I was a code and was fortunately taken to a different healthcare system where it was discovered the Cleveland Clinic had me on medication that increased the potassium problem to life threatening levels and were not monitoring properly . In addition, physicians did not cross reference other medications to know which ones would low potassium levels which could stop a patients heart even though I was in their care and was complaining of this problem with at least four immediate family of cardiac sudden death from cardiac arrhythmia and low potassium. Today I live with a condition called hypokalemia which leads to a condition called prolonged QT which is continuously overlooked by ER physicians and doctors alike. There are all kinds of medications that impact your magnesium, calcium, RBCs, WBCs, potassium, levels and physicians do not know how nor maintain the impact especially your primary care. I went to two different nephrologist before actually getting any answers and I still didn’t get a thorough one. I had to go through transfusions at a different healthcare system and still go there regularly due to what happened to me. Stay informed.

Jeff S.1981

I know this an old post but, if you have heartburn frequently or GERD, then that is what it is, I experience all the above stated, but I don't have PTSD, I have GERD and anxiety, so for me it is impossible to fall asleep without waking up suddenly thinking this is it, it is going to stop and I am done for!! But it passes and I am still here, so it is stress related and GERD related!! Hope this helps!!


This is totally sleep apnea related and I will bust a common misconception you don't have to be fat to have sleep apnea but I would almost guarantee if you are over weight and experiencing this it is almost definitely sleep apnea now let me be clear this is causation....I'm not saying that these terrible experiences don't cause a coralitive relationship with PTSD or anxiety cause I feel that is the case for me but taking mood stabilizers or anxiety meds won't fix it I think it might make it worse as it will only be masking the root of the problem the truth is.... We that experience this stop breathing when we sleep and that scares our subconscious to death....in fact, our subconscious is trying to tell us something is wrong it's up to us to listen .... If your having these experiences please don't wait it could cost you your life...go get a sleep study!


This is totally sleep apnea related

I can’t agree with you more about getting a medical opinion...

... however I do the exact same thing, and don’t have sleep apnea. It’s ‘just’ a burst of adrenaline as I kick into a panic attack. Another common thing is a hypnagogic jerk, which usually happens whilst falling asleep, but can also happen at any switchignof the sleep cycle. Meanwhile A girlfriend of mine also does the exact same thing, but it’s neither apnea, nor panic, nor a sleep disorder, but a floppy heart valve. It gets a little stuck from time to time, and her heart literally stops for a second or three as it unsticks the flubsy valve.

The same symptom can have lots of different causes.


Hi all,
Kudos to you for searching for answers.
I too have had terrible spells of heart palpatations, feeling so tired I feel drugged and feeling cold inside. If my body jerks when I lay down, I know its the start of a bad night. My heart doc has put me on 1000 mg of Magneseum.
He also started me on low dose Naltrexone (LDN).
I have Hashimotos so I'm also working on thyroid issues that can play a part as well.
I will say, I have noticed that carbs at night seem to exacerbate this issue.
You may be doing this already but I would suggest keeping a food journal in tandum with a symptoms journal. This is proving very helpful.