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Mel., Nurse
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 352
Experience:  Qualified in 1977,have extensive coronary care & general experience,plus stress related conditions.
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I have racing heart at night in my bed i seems to come on

Customer Question

hi i have racing heart at night in my bed i seems to come on when i stretch but sometimes can stop it by taking few deep breaths!! I also get breathless when resting with makes me anxious. I've had an ecg and am waiting to get a tape to wear for 24 hours the ecg was fine but am worried about breathlessness please help
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Mel. replied 8 years ago.

Hello ianbuster,

Welcome to Just Answer.

I think you will find that if the initial ECG did not show any abnormality it is most likely to be the typical symptoms of anxiety attacks.

If it were anything serious you would be getting this throughout the whole day and not just when you are in bed.

When you go to bed you have no distractions from any anxiety you may be experiencing, although you do not necessarily have to be aware of stress for an anxiety attack to occur.

Plus if it were anything serious you would be woken by it during the night.

Anxiety attacks feed on themselves and whilst the name of it gives the impression that it is all psychological that it far from the truth.

It can start with a racing heart which will then naturally scare you and that will cause you to be breathless as adrenaline is releasd which will make your heart beat even faster.

You can then get a feeling that your lungs are not filling with air even if you take deep breaths. You then get even more anxious which realeses more adrenaline which will open up your blood vesseld to allow more blood to circulate and then the heart tries to keep up by pumping even harder. You then feel dizzy and faint.

It just goes around in a circle.

You may get relief from the breathlessness if you slept in a semi upright position built up with pillow under your head and shoulders. This will help to expand the capacity of the lungs.

If it is a medical condition it sounds as though it would be something called SVT (supraventricular tachycardia) But I do stress that I do not believe this is the problem here. There is something you can do to try to stop it though.

Next time you get an attack, imagine you are trying to have a bowel movement and push as hard as you can. If that doesn't work, cough as hard as you possibly can. If that doesn't work, try sucking an ice cube.

These are some of the things you could try. However if anxiety attack is the cause here I can promise you that they will not last forever. They will go as fast as they came.

I do hope this helps a little.

With my very best wishes


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
thankyou i just feel that the breathlesness comes on any time for example i was at the cinema last night and started to get breathless i just tried to control it it and feel when i breath through my mouth i can get more air in. my friend never noticed! i sometimes feel very tired after the racing heart in bed and feel like in the middle where my breast bone is feels bruised and sore if i twist about not hugely sore but uncomfortable. had this for a while now and just want to get on with my life as it stops me doing things but i do try to just act as normal and nobody knows when i feeling yukky. But i do believe something is wrong.
Expert:  Mel. replied 8 years ago.

Now you have said that the breathlessness comes on by itself sometimes you have totally convinced me that these are anxiety attacks darling, even if the racing heart follows on.

This is the classic onset when the breathlessness comes on first. It is not in your head, it is a physical reaction but not a medical situation.

I do know what they feel like and I will prove I know because I can tell you what you are thinking right now. You are thinking that this is actually something serious and that I am missing the magnitude of the attacks and indeed of the whole situation.

Just wait until your 24hr tape comes back normal and then and only then will you believe me. I don't blame you in the least if you doubt me right now because I know how real these feelings are, but you see that is the whole point, THEY ARE REAL(please excuse capitals, I am not shouting at you, I just want to emphasize that.)

Only one symptom is brought on by the anxiety attack, the other symptoms are the body's responses to that one symptom.

Nothing lasts forever, not even this, and I promise there will be a day in the not too distant future when you will be getting on with your life without any of this.

I know what it is like though, even when you have not got an attack you can never relax because you always fear that one is going to come on. You fear that you are seriously ill and nobody is going to know, or know what to do.

If it were anything serious causing breathlessness etc: how do you think you get through the night when you are asleep and still manage to wake up in the morning? Heart and lung problems don't stop just because you are asleep!

There is no point in me asking you not tp panic because that is something you are not going to be able to do, but be aware that this is not going to kill you. It is a passing, albeit it terrifying, experience.

A mild tranquillizer may well help you through this but obviously have all the cardiac tests first to put your mind at rest.

You have my complete understanding and sympathy, and I DO understand, but I also know that you will be OK.

Lots of love


Mel. and 2 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Mel. replied 8 years ago.

Thank you so very much for my bonus I wasn't expecting that at all! I am extremely grateful.

Lots of love


Customer: replied 8 years ago.

i thank you too you were very nice and to the point it has made me feel good and positive i'm going to beat this

cheryl fraser

Expert:  Mel. replied 8 years ago.

Hello Cheryl,

There is no doubt about that I can assure you.

I suffered from it myself a few years ago which is why I know exactly how it feels. I was already a qualified nurse and even I thought there was something medically wrong with me!! I hadn't gone as far as getting my coronary care experience then, but I still should have realised.

I was convinced that everyone from my GP to the cardiologist was just not seeing what was so obvious to me.

I was scared to ever go out because I was afraid I was going to get an attack, but I had to go to work of course but I was so frightened.

One evening I went home after a late shift and feeling I could cope no longer I just lay on my bed and cried and cried and cried.

Do you know, from that day on I never ever had another attack. It would apper that whatever it was that was causing my stress (although at the time I didn't know what it was) was able to be relieved and got rid of through my hours of continuous sobbing!

So go and have a good cry and who knows.....?

Lots of love and all my good wishes for a speedy recovery.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.

oh thankyou so much you don't know how much you've helped me. i showed my husband this and he gave me a big cuddle!!! here's hoping


x x x

Expert:  Mel. replied 8 years ago.

I am so glad you have a supportive loving husband darling.

I wish good health and happiness to both of you.