What Causes Heart Palpitations at Night?

Anxiety may cause heart palpitations at night.
Eating just before bedtime may cause heart palpitations at night.
Heart palpitations at night may be caused from drinking too much caffeine before bedtime.
Exercising before bedtime may cause heart palpitations at night.
Pregnant women may experience heart palpitations at night.
A doctor may order an electrocardiogram to evaluate heart palpitations.
Drinking caffeine late into the day might cause nighttime palpitations.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2014
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Anxiety is a very common reason for people to develop heart palpitations at night. People who are stressed out, anxious, or have an underlying anxiety disorder may notice changes in their heart rhythm in bed, and this includes people who are excited, as well as people who are nervous or afraid. There can be other causes, including certain habits or underlying medical conditions. People who notice palpitations at any time should get evaluated by a physician to see if they are dangerous.

If anxiety isn't the cause of night palpitations, a potential culprit is habits. Caffeine and stimulant medications can cause irregular heartbeat and if people consume these things too soon before bed, their hearts may beat irregularly. People may also develop palpitations after eating, and if they eat shortly before going to bed or get up at night to eat, the heart rate can change. In addition, heavy exercise can change heart rhythms and many people exercise at the end of the day, causing them to experience palpitations at night.

Pregnancy is associated with changes to heart rhythm, as are some other underlying conditions. Thyroid abnormalities, structural problems with the heart, and certain other diseases may cause palpitations. Patients tend to notice variations in the heart rhythm more at night because of the quiet, and as a result, they may think they are having palpitations only or primarily during the evening hours.

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When seeking treatment for palpitations at night, it helps to provide as much information as possible. Patients should describe any associated symptoms like shortness of breath, feeling dizzy, or becoming disoriented. If possible, the duration of palpitations should be noted. Doctors can also find it helpful to know about what people did during the day, to collect information that may help them find out why the patient's heartbeat is irregular. Someone who mentions drinking black tea before bed, for instance, could simply adjust tea drinking habits and experience an improvement in palpitations at night.

Evaluation for palpitations can include ordering an electrocardiogram to check for abnormal heart rhythms, as well as conducting a study where a patient wears a monitor for a set period of time to record the patient's cardiac activity. This can be useful for things like palpitations, which often do not occur on command and thus are hard to study in a controlled environment like a cardiac lab. Doctors may recommend medications, diet and lifestyle adjustments, and other steps to treat the abnormal heart rhythm.

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Discuss this Article

poppyseed
Post 3

@Agni3 – Hello, dear! You should know that you are not the only person who is that scared to go to the doctor, but you really do need to go. Chances are this is nothing life threatening at all.

Once you get treated you can feel much better both physically and mentally. All of that stress can’t be helping the palpitations and dizziness symptoms at all. Actually, major stress can be a part of dizziness causes and palpitation causes, too.

Go ahead and go – you’ll be glad that you did. Even if something serious were wrong (which is probably not the case) you would be far better off getting faster treatment.

Agni3
Post 2

I am having a pretty bad heart palpitation or two at night and they are really starting to scare me a little bit.

The truth is that they come mostly at night when I’m trying to relax. Or, it might just be that I notice them most when I’m still. It feels like my heart is going to beat out of my chest.

I’ve never had any major kinds of health problems at all, so I have no idea where to go with this. I’ve also been having some dizziness and things like that.

I’m very afraid to go to the doctor. I know I should, but I don’t want to. It’s just very frightening for me – I don’t want anything to be majorly wrong.

Domido
Post 1

Have you ever seen one of those huge, super cups that you can get at gas stations to fill up with soda? Sometimes they are called something like a super gulp or something like that, but more or less they are upwards of 32 ounces of liquid.

I have a friend who went to the doctor because he was so concerned about having heart palpitations when he went to bed at night. He was having difficulty sleeping and was having headaches and tremmors, too.

The doctor was very concerned as well; at first. That is until he burst out laughing in my friends face. The doctor asked him if he drank caffeine, and my friend said that he did. The doctor asked how much.

My friend answered, and with a very straight face, that he only drank about 3 or 4 of those super gulp cups worth of caffeinated coffee a day, with cream and sugar. He also had maybe 3 or 4 bottles of Mountain Dew and sweet tea with supper.

When he told me this story, I laughed in his face too! Thank goodness the only thing wrong was way too much caffeine consumption. That was the entire palpitations causes.

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