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1am, nightmares of heart stopping keeping me awake
1am, nightmares of heart stopping keeping me awake
Hi there,

Im posting this in hopes that if anyone experienced my symptoms can offer some advice, I apologize if i posted this in the wrong section.

Currently is 1:00 am and i have to "wake up" at 4:30 to go to work, yet im terrified of trying to lay down again.

Last month one night a few minutes after going to bed I found myself sitting up suddenly gasping for air as if i was under water, it was a terrible feeling which i went straight to urgent care the next morning and missed work, doctor said chest xray, blood tests and cardiogram are perfect and released me.

I am male , 235lbs, 17" neck, super loud snorer and wife tells me i stop breathing at sleep and she moves me around when she can.

the last two weeks ive been dieting and excercising at the gym, lbs starting to go down, had some chest discomfort that i went i to the er and blood, xray and cardiogram perfect, doctor said i had about no chance of heart failure.

but..... tonight... nightmares returned..

went to bed, felt in my sleep I had to "change building addresses?" probably work oriented nightmare, but everytime I did I felt my heart like trying to stop and boom i wake up, I fought it, keep trying to ignore it and fall asleep but time after time same pattern, I finally gave up came to the living room and got me a cup of warm tea, body feels good, but my eyes are blood shut, i need to sleep...

Today i actually went to the sleep clinic after i told my doctor i think i had sleep apnea, they explained everything and within 3-4 weeks i should be getting a home study equipment that is supposed to "monitor?" my sleep and see if i have sleep apnea, if that returns positive then the cpap machine test for 3 days would be next.

so i guess is just a matter of time now, but is this feeling of heart beating erradically when asleep normal in sleep apnea patients?

thank you in advanced for your help?

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RE: 1am, nightmares of heart stopping keeping me awake

Sleep apnea causes your blood oxygen concentration to drop, your heart to work harder, and your blood pressure to increase. I'm not surprised that you noticed it subconsciously in your sleep.

Good luck with your sleep study!
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RE: 1am, nightmares of heart stopping keeping me awake
I experienced a lot of the same things your described. Ended up in emergency twice. They ran all sorts of tests, but never suggested I had sleep apnea.
It was 't untill I saw my GP for a follow up and he suggested a sleep test.

Try to get your testing done as soon as you can, and check back here with us when they give you a machine to use.

In the meantime, if possible, sleep elevated. Don't sleep on your back. I slept in a recliner most nights just to be able to get through the night without having any episodes.

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RE: 1am, nightmares of heart stopping keeping me awake
Thank you for your responses I will update my progress here as I get my tests done
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RE: 1am, nightmares of heart stopping keeping me awake
Hi ezdrifter,
You're not imagining things.
Funny thing is Sleep Apnea is easy to diagnose, no rocket science, but...you need the official "okey-dokey" from a professional in order to start
therapy. (which is also not rocket science)

The tools we have to use now are much better and they were a spin-off of rocket science!

Another thing you can try is, find an inexpensive laptop carrier style backpack and load it with three tubes of tennis balls (leaving the balls inside the tubes)
Wear that over a t-shirt or such.
That will force you to sleep on one side or the other and help cut down on your airway collapses that occur when you lie on your back.
(Keep on using it along with CPAP therapy later and you'll be doing better in no time)

Sorry it takes so long for them to get you an home sleep study device going though.
(just to verify what is already suspected)

Hang in there and don't give up!


"With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable." - Thomas Foxwell Buxton

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RE: 1am, nightmares of heart stopping keeping me awake
Hi ezdrifler,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
Good luck to you with your home sleep study.
Find a way to sleep elevated as others have suggested.
Hang in there for more responses to your post and much success to you.
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RE: 1am, nightmares of heart stopping keeping me awake
With obstructive sleep apnea there is often an increase in heart rate and blood pressure during an apnea event. Most people don't feel this going on.

Over time, this has a detriment effect on the heart -- the structure of the muscle, the valves, and the electrical conduction system that fires the chambers in a wave like motion. Hopefully you are not at that point -- I only mention it to point out that sleep apnea wreaks havoc on the body.

In a sleep study, done in a lab, they would have EKG leads on you. I don't know if they will with a home study.

Depending on how your insurance works, you might ask your doc to put a 24 Holter monitor on you. It's a 24 hour EKG intended to look for episodic anomalies.

Depending on your age and any other conditions, it might be time to have a cardiologist follow you. That's between you and your doctor. Often the patient needs to be proactive about asking for things. You are your best advocate for your health.

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RE: 1am, nightmares of heart stopping keeping me awake
It sounds like you have SA and expieriencing self converting afib or a lot of pvcs causing you to smother.
Doc wont see afib unless you actually in it while you are having a strip run.
Get the SA treated tbe afib will likely go away.
Mine did.
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RE: 1am, nightmares of heart stopping keeping me awake
A lot of people report having had creepy scary dreams prior to getting diagnosed and treated for sleep apnea. Themes like choking and drowning are common. Makes sense because stress hormone levels are elevated when the body is struggling to breathe but can't due to obstructed airway. Your dreams about heart stopping fit this scenario. It's great that you've got the diagnostic process started now.

Welcome. Keep us posted.
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RE: 1am, nightmares of heart stopping keeping me awake
so think of it this way: you are sound asleep and very comfortable. someone sneaks into your room and puts their had over your nose and mouth, cutting off all air flow. What do you think would be your reaction? What do you think your heart would be doing?

Welcome to sleep apnea. As suggested above, there are things you can do to help while going through the process of being tested. Before I got tested I was propped up 90 degrees and trying to get any sleep.

Try and remember that even though your heart IS reacting to what is going on, your heart is not GENERATING the problem, the sleep apnea is.
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