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

R

Random Guy

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

When I am laying in bed, I close my eyes and try to fall asleep. I get this weird feeling like my heart is stopping or has stopped for a second, and I jolt awake and my heart starts racing. This consistently happens every minute for about 2-3 hours before I eventually pass out. It is extremely terrifying.

Over the past few years, its only happened a few times, but in the past 2 weeks it has been happening every night. I feel like I'mg going to die or have a heart attack, and I am terrified now of falling asleep and dying.

I don't know if this is a common symptom of PTSD and anxiety (I am graduating college with my bachelors degree in two weeks, and am under a lot of stress), or if I actually have a heart problem (I had a full check up & blood test Feb 2012 and everything was normal except I have low calcium).

Id like to know if this happens to other people, and what it is exactly, and how to get rid of it. I haven't gotten a good nights sleep in a while and I feel like a zombie. Please help.

I was wondering if you ever found out what it was.
 
H

Happy for answer

In my case, my trauma was repressed. I have been carrying the responsibility to hold it together and get ahead all-the-while ignoring my feelings and not dealing with my reality. I was in fight-or-flight mode for the majority of my life.

Eventually, it takes its toll and decides that it's not going to sit idle any longer. Think about how when your body goes into starvation mode, it just guzzles up everything in sight in order to prepare and store... Well, the hypervigillance (fight-or-flight) and repression of the emotions builds to a point that your body just can't deal like that anymore and begins to give you physical symptoms.

In my case, it is fatigue, palpitations, shortness of breath, moodiness, bad periods, stomach aches, so on and so forth. None of these physical symptoms have a physical answer to explain it. My body has had enough and is ready to begin to heal and cope with it all. That's PROGRESS. That means you are actually facing your issues and need to- your body is screaming for it.You are finally in a place to relax and cope so your body has decided to make you see that.

My T tells me that I'm experiencing things often for the first time, and there's a reason I didn't want to deal in the first place. It's A LOT to handle... But the fact that I want to know what's wrong and why my body is doing these things, and all the physical possibilities have been checked and crossed off let me know that I've got some emotional shit to deal with. And I will. I am. That's the biggest step in all of this, and the scariest.

It is so common for people with this disorder to experience these physical symptoms. I still suggest crossing T's and dotting I's, but relax and know that you are having a NORMAL response to something ABNORMAL. And you can recover.

We are doing this together, ;)
Thank you so much for this. My body has been exhibiting crazy syptoms and test after test and nothing can ve explained medically. I actually began the process of dealing with some of the issues I have repressed and as you said its A LOT to handle but didnt realize that it could possibly manifest in these heart jolts.

As you said still going to cross a few more T's but so happy to have read this!
 
Last edited by a moderator:
J

Jtp198( )

I have had this for the past 3yrs every night(not just some nights). I finally found the right dr. He prescribed me xanax. I have not had one night of that misery since I started taking it. P.s. Do not take Ambien for this type of problem. It made it ten times worse.
 
Over the past few years, this weird occurrence has happened to me occasionally.

When I am laying in bed, I close my eyes and try to fall asleep. I get this weird feeling like my heart is stopping or has stopped for a second, and I jolt awake and my heart starts racing. This consistently happens every minute for about 2-3 hours before I eventually pass out. It is extremely terrifying.

Over the past few years, its only happened a few times, but in the past 2 weeks it has been happening every night. I feel like I'mg going to die or have a heart attack, and I am terrified now of falling asleep and dying.

I don't know if this is a common symptom of PTSD and anxiety (I am graduating college with my bachelors degree in two weeks, and am under a lot of stress), or if I actually have a heart problem (I had a full check up & blood test Feb 2012 and everything was normal except I have low calcium).

Id like to know if this happens to other people, and what it is exactly, and how to get rid of it. I haven't gotten a good nights sleep in a while and I feel like a zombie. Please help.

This has recently started happening to mr.
 
M

mess machines

Hi there,

I would like to contribute to this discussion hopefully with a cure as I suffered the following symptoms:

a) Just when I'm about to fall asleep, I am jolted awake with a pounding heart and I gasp a bit for air as if I forgot to breathe.

b) This continues ad nauseam, all night allowing me to get less than 1 hour of sleep and can persist for days, forcing me to take sleeping pills.

Background
I did extensive research online and have also had blood tests, thyroid test, urine test (results to come soon), lung function test, EKG, echo-gram of the heart, 24 hour holter monitor, allergy test, take-home sleep study (I have no apnea), neurology tests checking oxygen flow to brain and screening for degenerative diseases like ALS. All came back negative although I was insufficient for Vitamin D, so I am taking supplements.

As the days went by (I suffered from this for about 4-5 weeks with my main symptom during the day being shortness in breath), I finally stumbled upon 'Adrenal Fatigue'. This is the failure of our adrenal glands to produce cortisol, the stress response hormone, in adequate quantities, resulting in an internal imbalance of cortisol in our bodies. This can elevate PH levels thus reducing our CO2 tolerance at night; so when we transition from staying awake to light or REM sleep, there is a brief pause where our parasympathetic system takes over (i.e automatic breathing). In this brief pause, in my understanding, PH levels rise as do Co2 levels. If our adrenals are fatigued, our sensitivity to higher PH and Co2 levels, causes us to be jolted awake, just as we fall asleep. This is a fantastic video by an American doctor called Dr. Berg. If you put in "adrenal fatigue shortness in breath" in YouTube search you will find it.

I want to stress something here; always get yourself checked out with some or all of the tests I did above to ensure that you have no underlying condition, but most probably, it is not some underlying condition but instead what I have explained above. So please relax, I know how scary this symptom can be.

Adrenal Fatigue is well documented and all doctors know about it. There are 4 stages to adrenal fatigue and this can be caused/exacerbated by stress in your life-style (even too much exercise can cause it). It is a sneaky one as it creeps up on you and can wreak havoc on your adrenals and eventually, thyroid, causing major sleep disturbance issues.

Solution
So here are a few tangible steps I took immediately when I found out the above and I've started to sleep normally again.

a) Cut out white rice, bread or any processed foods (this is not forever, just until I am healed). This is a big big one, the moment I eat this, I get the same heart palpitations/jolts at night.

b) Your last meal should be no later than 7pm at night; make sure it is light. Some lentils/legumes, fish, or chicken but nothing heavy like a pizza followed by chocolate.

c) Magnesium tablet after your dinner meal as this relaxes the muscles. Some doctors recommend melatonin, you may wish to check it out too, I have not tried it.

d) Retire to bed at 9pm with the view to fall asleep by 10pm-11pm, maybe midnight depending on your insomnia type of condition.

e) If you are experiencing the sleeping issues described above, this most likely means your mind/body has experienced recent trauma or excessive levels of stress (you may or may not have realised it consciously). This mean you absolutely need to reduce your intraday stress; ideally get bed rest for a few days.

Literally overnight, doing a-d has entirely removed that strange "jerking" and I am now sleeping.

I understand steps a-e above seem wishy washy but they actually worked very well for me. Your sleep as you are probably well aware is where a good portion of internal body repair occurs; especially in deep delta wave REM sleep. So if you are too bored or lazy to try out the steps a-e above, please do it just for the sake of your sleep-health.

I hope the above helps some of you.
Sonic
This is very helpful. Thank you!
 
L

Lea1985

Where to begin...ill keep it short. I have a 20+ year history of the worst panic attacks on earth...for no reason. I have dealt with the jolted awake with no heartbeat thing for at least 8 years now...sometime what seems like 30 consecutive episodes before finally reaching the safety of sleep...sometimes once. I've tried mentally associating the two and considering it a 'fight or flight' reaction while falling asleep...but after this many years I have developed many other symptoms..arrythmia all day, high blood pressure, extreme fatigue(even though this only affects the begin stages of falling asleep) I've been to an exceptional amount of specialists who have conducted copious amounts if tests...only to tell me they've never heard of this...or to chuckle...or to say MAYBE I'm more aware of my heart when falling asleep...which had is absurd..im not concious to be aware of it when this occurs. I sure hope that someday there is a term accompanied by a cure for this bastard of a condition...it has ruined my life and increased my anxiety...not the other way around. I'm sure of that. Everyone gets anxious and stressed...not many report their hearts stopping while falling asleep...think on that. Anxiety and stress simply cast a drs. Lack of knowledge onto the patient.
how are you doing now? I have this same exact problem!
 
Hey,

I have the same symptoms. The moments when it is bad, I already feel it coming in advance. The slump in my stomach. The other moments are the same as described here. The moment before I fall asleep. No more air, my heart goes into overdrive and I have no idea where the door or window of my room is. I have been suffering from this for more than 25 years. My mom has it too. We thought we were alone. But clearly not. That is also a reassurance. That is why I would like to state that with me vitamin D is the provisional solution. Anxiety and stress are also present but that can also be due to a lack of vitamin D. Maybe you should also try this and see if it helps. lots of people suffer from low vitamin D in their body.

Just like Vox mentioned. Vitamin D 1000iu.
I hope this will help you all.

Best regards,
 
J

Johnboy

sometimes i get jolted awake. and just before that i fell like i am being pulled down a hole. i use a cpap nighty set at 18 can one help with that?
 
H

Hanbanan

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

When I am laying in bed, I close my eyes and try to fall asleep. I get this weird feeling like my heart is stopping or has stopped for a second, and I jolt awake and my heart starts racing. This consistently happens every minute for about 2-3 hours before I eventually pass out. It is extremely terrifying.

Over the past few years, its only happened a few times, but in the past 2 weeks it has been happening every night. I feel like I'mg going to die or have a heart attack, and I am terrified now of falling asleep and dying.

I don't know if this is a common symptom of PTSD and anxiety (I am graduating college with my bachelors degree in two weeks, and am under a lot of stress), or if I actually have a heart problem (I had a full check up & blood test Feb 2012 and everything was normal except I have low calcium).

Id like to know if this happens to other people, and what it is exactly, and how to get rid of it. I haven't gotten a good nights sleep in a while and I feel like a zombie. Please help.
Yes I get this too. It’s very scary and frustrating. I will be trying to fall asleep and I feel like my heart stops and this tingle throughout my whole body and jolt up and gasping for air. It happens randomly, random nights. And I would try hours to fall asleep. Sometimes I put on some sooothing music on my phone. People tell me it’s anxiety but sometimes I wondered if something else. I guess it makes sense considering I’ve been dealing with anxiety the past 3 years and am now on meds but I just don’t understand what is triggering this at night. I’m fine all day long and then this happens. Thanks for posting I looked to see if anyone else has experienced it and my mind has some sort of comfort knowing I’m not the only one
 
Yes I get this too. It’s very scary and frustrating. I will be trying to fall asleep and I feel like my heart stops and this tingle throughout my whole body and jolt up and gasping for air. It happens randomly, random nights. And I would try hours to fall asleep. Sometimes I put on some sooothing music on my phone. People tell me it’s anxiety but sometimes I wondered if something else. I guess it makes sense considering I’ve been dealing with anxiety the past 3 years and am now on meds but I just don’t understand what is triggering this at night. I’m fine all day long and then this happens. Thanks for posting I looked to see if anyone else has experienced it and my mind has some sort of comfort knowing I’m not the only one
Times and types of meds could have something to do with it too.
 
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