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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Arrhythmias

Question: My Heart Stops When I Sleep?

 turtlesti - Sun Feb 13, 2005 8:19 pm

Hi, I have been experiencing a wide range of nerve problems it would seem, for the last 5 months. 2 Cspine and 1 Brain MRI have come out normal. I just have a Q about a recent symptom I am having.

For the last 3-4 weeks, every night when I go to bed and fall asleep, I will awake about every 90 minutes. Recently I have noticed that my heart may not be beating when I awake...I am still trying to test this though. So i sorta have this theory that the reason I am being awakened all the time is because my heart completely stops beating and it wakes me. And it seems to be not beating for quite a while, 5-10 seonds. But this seems way to odd to me so I have kindof dismissed it. Is this possible? Or is it that when you sleep your heart rate is so slight I may not feel it. Note that I can still breath fine and I do not wake gasping for air, although sometimes (i think) it feels like I awake holding my breath. Also, I am only 125 lbs, I have always been slim and have always been able to feel my heart rate when putting my hand to chest. Currently I am trying to test this theory by checking my pulse elsewhere, like neck and wrist. No luck yet, either my heart has stopped or I'm too darn groggy to find a pulse. If this is possible, any thoughts on cause? Should I be worried? Also, would it be ok to take say Ativan or something else to help me sleep, or would that be bad, because if my heart is going to stop I should want to wake up when it does!?

Thanks a lot,

 Theresa Jones, RN - Thu Feb 17, 2005 6:33 am

User avatar Hi turtlesti,
Your heart rate does slow down when you sleep because it requires less effort since your body processes are resting. However, there are instances where people stop breathing (sleep apnea) for short periods of time and this causes a variety of symptoms. Most common symptoms, loud snoring, waking up tired or groggy, headaches, waking up with the sensation of choking or holding your breath, etc. If you are suffering from the above symptoms I would keep this condition in mind.

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