Bedtime Panic Attacks

WulfniteWulfnite Citizen
edited October 2020 in Mind and Body Wellbeing

I'm told that when I was a young child I would have "night terrors"

These days once in a while I wake up with a panic attack. The kind where I think I am going to die. I had one so bad a few months ago I wound up in the hospital just to play it safe.

I have a messed up cicada rhythm and party all night and sleep all day like a vampire. Today I woke up after being asleep 3 or 4 hours. So I got up and ate a little something and watched youtube until I felt sleepy. But as I got to the part where I usually drift back to sleep, I started feeling antsy. Tired to quell it, got close, then back to antsy and then into panic mode. I had to take my emergency benzodiazepine. Finally I was able to lie down and drift off to sleep normally. But I ended up waking up at least 3 hours later than I wanted. At least I didn't have any set plans to go someplace today or I would have been really agitated.

Anyone else experience similar sleep / panic issues?

Edit: This was supposed to go into what I thought was a psyche central section.

Comments

  • IsabellaIsabella Citizen
    edited October 2020

    I'm sorry that happens for you, and I'm glad your Benzo was able to help today.

    I'm also a vampire. I love the dark and feel most like myself when the sun is set. It's kind of a sensory thing because I have a hard time with sunlight, but it's also just my rhythm. The problem is that I don't sleep much when I do go to bed close to dawn, so I'm always sleep deprived. I won't go to bed earlier because I have to enjoy the dark as much as possible.

    I used to have night terrors as a toddler too. I remember falling out of bed a lot, because of nightmares. I wasn't allowed to sleep in my parents' bed. They discouraged me from trying to get in their bed by insisting I'd have to sleep on the floor beside them if I woke up in the night. I remember sleeping on the hard floor a lot.

    Now I take a medicine called Prazosin before bed. It's a blood pressure medicine used for PTSD to stop nightmares. Don't ask me how it works but it does. It helps with my nightmares but I still suffer a lot of anxiety and I'm a crap sleeper. I went for a sleep study and they said I don't get to the deepest stage of sleep called Delta Wave (deeper than REM), so I'm chronically sleep-deprived. I don't get restorative sleep. My brain is always on alert and won't go to that stage. They said I would have born like that, rather than it being from PTSD -- although PTSD certainly doesn't help. I've read that many autistic people have a very hard time sleeping whether because of anxiety or just differences in their brain waves.

    I'll try to find the links.

    https://www.spectrumnews.org/features/deep-dive/wide-awake-why-children-with-autism-struggle-with-sleep/

    Here's one. The others were more scientific.

  • I like the nighttime but I like going for walks during the day because there is a lot of nature to see here. Today was a perfect day of being overcast so best of both worlds. I love looking at autumn leaves. But that was shot today.

    I was having a weird dream when I woke up. But not a nightmare. I was trying to resolve some issue . Not a personal one. More like how we are trying to resolve issues with this forum and structuring it. Usually when I wake up prematurely I am coming out of some problem solving dream "put it over there. No put it back there and the other one over there. But what about that one on the other side?"

    They put me on a beta-blocker called metoprolol succinate which has helped a lot. But still once in a while I get that antsy dread feeling, usually in bed, that can develop into a panic attack. I believe it is more physiological than psychological.

    Even though I feel alright now I am doing a lot of rocking.

  • You wore a heart monitor recently because of your heart rhythm. I think cardiac issues definitely have a physiological impact on our brains and our sleep in general. I also have a heart issue. I wonder if that could be at play? Maybe something about our hearts' electrical signals, causing panic?

    I also have this bizarre thing called Hypnagogia / Hypnopompia where I hear / listen to words, dialogue, and random sounds when I'm falling asleep or waking. It's in the in-between sleep and wakefulness stage but I'm aware of it and feel like I'm fully awake with my eyes shut. I hear entire conversations and dialogues like watching TV. When I catch it happening I'm always amazed and I wonder where the hell it came from. I certainly didn't "make it up" and it's very different from a dream. The sleep lab people said it's a sleep disorder and not a mental health concern.

    I know that's off topic, but I'm just sharing how weird my sleep is. Don't forget I also read books and write poetry or prose in my sleep. I've written / read thousands of WP posts in my dreams. I guess that's similar to you because I do a lot of problem solving while asleep like you do. I've had dreams that I'm working on this site or helping Verity and Amity with decisions. My brain just doesn't stop.

  • WulfniteWulfnite Citizen
    edited October 2020

    You wore a heart monitor recently because of your heart rhythm. I think cardiac issues definitely have a physiological impact on our brains and our sleep in general. I also have a heart issue. I wonder if that could be at play? Maybe something about our hearts' electrical signals, causing panic?

    Most likely.

  • No night terrors, but insomnia and generally feeling better /more productive at night. When it gets really bad, I stay awake for 24-36 hours before getting any sleep and it can go on for months.

    I agree with the heart issues: I used to have stress/anxiety-induced arrhythmia and tachycardia that gave me panic attacks, not necessarily at night though. They also gave me metoprolol and a magnesium+potassium pill for it but in the long run what worked better was stress management and I went off the beta-blockers.

  • Save_FerrisSave_Ferris Citizen, Member

    No night terrors but I do have a recurring nightmare where I have to protect my daughter from a lion

    My body and mind is always trying to make me sleep in the day and stay awake at night. I'm a natural night owl.

  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen

    Hi Ezra
    I have moved your thread to mind and body wellbeing, as it would fit in better here where the focus is on health, than in Science and technology.

    I could move it to peer support either if you prefer?

  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen

    I had night terrors as a child too and bad bouts of panic attacks in my early 20s.
    They are hideous and I genuinely believed I was having a heart attack too.

    I will share what I could relate to, in my case it was a ton of anxiety that I had never dealt with, I ignored the anxiety until it faded or ideally I pushed it back down into my subconscious.

    It came exploding out of me in the form of panic attacks, during my exams in first year of Uni.

    I got benzos for that I think, realised they were addictive and chucked them out. Went back to suppress the anxiety mode.

    Figured out how to stop an attack from escalating and end it before it started, but the mind and body had other ways of getting my attention...
    The nightmares started then, the sleep disturbances, the sleep paralysis was the worst.

    Decided I'd rather not have panic attacks or sleep paralysis and went to therapy for the first time and disvovered an outlet for my anxiety, realised that if I suppressed literally anything worrisome during the day that i would have a terrible night, or a terrible next day.

    Started talking about my fee fees from that point onwards, cuz that was much more preferable to the alternatives.

    Our physiology is so impressive.

  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor

    I never had night terrors as a child, but I have woken up with panic attacks later in life. For me it's usually stress related though.

    I agree that your issue might be related to your heart rhythm. When there was a concern with my heart rhythm sometimes my heart rate would go really high and trigger an anxiety attack.

  • verityverity Administrator, Citizen

    When stressed I have been hyper-vigilant in my sleep, I have stood up, walked around, attack and completely broke two clothes horses which I had to throw away, usually involves screaming, and thumped a door frame (which really hurt). I have punched at skulls or faces I see in the room. I wake up moment after.

    Luckily it is over 4 years go since I had this issue, and luckily nobody else got hurt except for me, and luckily nothing too serious.

    Generally thought I have few issue, and in fact barely move in my sleep.

    I found diet greatly helped in addition to reducing stress. I used to wake full of bile, and adrenalin through my veins, and I had bad IBS. I was hyper sensitive to sound. Being on a gluten free and milk free diet helped.

    Gluten has a cumulative effect, milk can have more immediate effects on my neurology, though more obvious to others.

  • Today I had a prefect sleep. Woke up feeling fine. This thing has never seemed to have any kind of predictable pattern.

  • verityverity Administrator, Citizen
    edited October 2020

    @Wulfnite said:
    Today I had a prefect sleep. Woke up feeling fine. This thing has never seemed to have any kind of predictable pattern.

    do you have a predictable routine around sleep, meals, etc.

    Do you have a period of low light, away from mobile devices and computer screens before bed?

    Have you tried a blue light alarm clock? You can use without noise and on for an extended period. After a month or so you should wake up predictably.

    I think general stress, and also diet influences hyper-vigilance during sleeping hours.

    Also you may also have breathing problem you are not aware of. To be clear I'm not taking about hyperventilating as this is not a problem breathing so much ad breathing to fast. However breathing problem and tongue position can lead the body waking up suddenly.

  • I focused on bedtime when I made my original post because that's when I was having trouble with it.
    But these get me at any time. While watching TV, while in the car, while out for a walk, you name it.

  • Did they just start in the past few months or have you always had this concern?

  • It's been going on for years. It's mainly being worried that I'm going to have a heart attack or cardiac arrest or stoke, or just drop dead. "I suddenly don't feel so good. Something's not right. Something's very wrong with me. I think I'm going to die". While this is going on in my head I'm having massive palpations, tightness and discomfort in my chest, feeling disorientated. Pretty much textbook experience from what I have read. Examinations have determined there's no serious medical condition causing it.

  • Have you done an EEG as well as the Holter?

    For what it's worth when I had my stroke it was nothing like a panic attack. I felt great that day and actually remarked I hadn't felt so good in a long time. Then I had a very loud noise in one ear and got extremely dizzy like I was drunk and couldn't stand up. I'm not saying all strokes are like that, but the warning signs of a stroke are usually an absence of normal function rather than an addition of new sensations.

    Do you have Epilepsy? This kind of sounds like my daughter's seizures which don't present like normal seizures. She gets the weird panic dread feeling and then her mind goes blank, she gets disoriented, and she starts to vomit.

    I'm sure you've told your GP about the panic attacks. Do they have any suggestions or ideas?

  • verityverity Administrator, Citizen

    @Wulfnite said:
    It's been going on for years. It's mainly being worried that I'm going to have a heart attack or cardiac arrest or stoke, or just drop dead. "I suddenly don't feel so good. Something's not right. Something's very wrong with me. I think I'm going to die". While this is going on in my head I'm having massive palpations, tightness and discomfort in my chest, feeling disorientated. Pretty much textbook experience from what I have read. Examinations have determined there's no serious medical condition causing it.

    Panic attack of regular frequency are called panic disorder but usually they are co-mordid with an anxiety disorder (specific or general).

    What type of things do you worry about most?

  • @verity said:

    @Wulfnite said:
    It's been going on for years. It's mainly being worried that I'm going to have a heart attack or cardiac arrest or stoke, or just drop dead. "I suddenly don't feel so good. Something's not right. Something's very wrong with me. I think I'm going to die". While this is going on in my head I'm having massive palpations, tightness and discomfort in my chest, feeling disorientated. Pretty much textbook experience from what I have read. Examinations have determined there's no serious medical condition causing it.

    Panic attack of regular frequency are called panic disorder but usually they are co-mordid with an anxiety disorder (specific or general).

    What type of things do you worry about most?

    I sometimes worry over particular brief situations. Most of the time I have peace of mind. These things often nail me when things are going alright. They always start out with tachycardia / palpitations. Sometimes when I get an episode like that I just feel tired and a bit over heated, like if I was exercising, and a bit edgy. Then it subsides and my heart rate goes back to normal. Other times I have a panic attack.

  • TemTem Citizen

    I get palpitations and they are bloody scary. When they happen before any anxious thoughts it can make me begin to feel anxious. I can calm them quite quickly when aware of them but they start when I am asleep mainly.

    I use breathing to get my pulse back to a reasonable beat. And imagery if possible.

    A cardiologist said they don't seem to be doing any harm - but I have an enlarged heart that does not function properly so I am left in limbo. How does he know? It was a guess.

  • @Isabella said:
    Have you done an EEG as well as the Holter?

    For what it's worth when I had my stroke it was nothing like a panic attack. I felt great that day and actually remarked I hadn't felt so good in a long time. Then I had a very loud noise in one ear and got extremely dizzy like I was drunk and couldn't stand up. I'm not saying all strokes are like that, but the warning signs of a stroke are usually an absence of normal function rather than an addition of new sensations.

    Do you have Epilepsy? This kind of sounds like my daughter's seizures which don't present like normal seizures. She gets the weird panic dread feeling and then her mind goes blank, she gets disoriented, and she starts to vomit.

    I'm sure you've told your GP about the panic attacks. Do they have any suggestions or ideas?

    I had several EEGs throughout my childhood. No epilepsy. My GP put me on a beta blocker which has been very effective most of the time. In the last 4 months I have had about 4 bad panic attacks which were resolved by taking 1mg Lorazepam.

  • WulfniteWulfnite Citizen
    edited October 2020

    Ended up in the hospital emergency room yesterday because my heart was going too fast again. Getting sick of this. They did a bunch of tests and nothing wrong as usual. Just palpations, sinus tachycardia and anxiety. Was released after about 4 hrs. They gave me 40mg of the same type of beta-blocker I'm already using.

    About an hour ago started getting another racing heartrate and took an extra of my 25 mg beta-blocker pills and that did the trick. Pulse back to normal now. Looks like I need an increase in the dosage or maybe just need to take an extra when the tachycardia starts. Metoprolol dose goes up to 200mg, so I doubt I'll overdose on 50 mg.

    Those affected me while awake. My sleep has been alright.

    Got my flu shot in between those episodes.

  • @Wulfnite said:
    Ended up in the hospital emergency room yesterday because my heart was going too fast again. Getting sick of this. They did a bunch of tests and nothing wrong as usual. Just palpations, sinus tachycardia and anxiety. Was released after about 4 hrs. They gave me 40mg of the same type of beta-blocker I'm already using.

    About an hour ago started getting another racing heartrate and took an extra of my 25 mg beta-blocker pills and that did the trick. Pulse back to normal now. Looks like I need an increase in the dosage or maybe just need to take an extra when the tachycardia starts. Metoprolol dose goes up to 200mg, so I doubt I'll overdose on 50 mg.

    Those affected me while awake. My sleep has been alright.

    Got my flu shot in between those episodes.

    You are off the caffeine, right?

  • @Wulfnite said:
    Ended up in the hospital emergency room yesterday because my heart was going too fast again. Getting sick of this. They did a bunch of tests and nothing wrong as usual. Just palpations, sinus tachycardia and anxiety. Was released after about 4 hrs. They gave me 40mg of the same type of beta-blocker I'm already using.

    About an hour ago started getting another racing heartrate and took an extra of my 25 mg beta-blocker pills and that did the trick. Pulse back to normal now. Looks like I need an increase in the dosage or maybe just need to take an extra when the tachycardia starts. Metoprolol dose goes up to 200mg, so I doubt I'll overdose on 50 mg.

    Those affected me while awake. My sleep has been alright.

    Got my flu shot in between those episodes.

    When they gave me Metoprolol, I was on a 50-100mg dose daily. I was in my early 20s.

    All my tachycardia, arrhythmia and high BP episodes have always been triggered by stress and anxiety and physically everything is fine. I actually had to deal with high BP recently and since I don't want medication for it if I can avoid it, I completely cut out caffeine and started dealing with stressors. It's back to normal now.

    Have you had more stress or reasons to feel anxious recently? My emotional awareness is terrible and I often don't even realise that I'm upset, nevermind why. I need to do a lot of digging and introspection to figure out what the problem is.

  • WulfniteWulfnite Citizen
    edited October 2020

    @Bender said:

    @Wulfnite said:
    Ended up in the hospital emergency room yesterday because my heart was going too fast again. Getting sick of this. They did a bunch of tests and nothing wrong as usual. Just palpations, sinus tachycardia and anxiety. Was released after about 4 hrs. They gave me 40mg of the same type of beta-blocker I'm already using.

    About an hour ago started getting another racing heartrate and took an extra of my 25 mg beta-blocker pills and that did the trick. Pulse back to normal now. Looks like I need an increase in the dosage or maybe just need to take an extra when the tachycardia starts. Metoprolol dose goes up to 200mg, so I doubt I'll overdose on 50 mg.

    Those affected me while awake. My sleep has been alright.

    Got my flu shot in between those episodes.

    When they gave me Metoprolol, I was on a 50-100mg dose daily. I was in my early 20s.

    All my tachycardia, arrhythmia and high BP episodes have always been triggered by stress and anxiety and physically everything is fine. I actually had to deal with high BP recently and since I don't want medication for it if I can avoid it, I completely cut out caffeine and started dealing with stressors. It's back to normal now.

    Have you had more stress or reasons to feel anxious recently? My emotional awareness is terrible and I often don't even realize that I'm upset, neverminded why. I need to do a lot of digging and introspection to figure out what the problem is.

    I'm studying a lot. But it comes on when I'm happy and calm until it starts. I think something is out of whack with either my brain chemistry or nervous system or endocrine system or something like that is triggering it.

    That's good to know about your dosages. I'm on 50mg right now spaced apart, pulse is 68 and I feel great.

  • WulfniteWulfnite Citizen
    edited October 2020

    @Sheldon said:

    @Wulfnite said:
    Ended up in the hospital emergency room yesterday because my heart was going too fast again. Getting sick of this. They did a bunch of tests and nothing wrong as usual. Just palpations, sinus tachycardia and anxiety. Was released after about 4 hrs. They gave me 40mg of the same type of beta-blocker I'm already using.

    About an hour ago started getting another racing heartrate and took an extra of my 25 mg beta-blocker pills and that did the trick. Pulse back to normal now. Looks like I need an increase in the dosage or maybe just need to take an extra when the tachycardia starts. Metoprolol dose goes up to 200mg, so I doubt I'll overdose on 50 mg.

    Those affected me while awake. My sleep has been alright.

    Got my flu shot in between those episodes.

    You are off the caffeine, right?

    Oh yeah. Haven't had any in quite a while.

  • I'm sorry to hear about your ER visit but glad the increased med dose is helping.

    I used to take Propranolol and it was quite helpful with panic attacks while keeping my heart rhythm stable too.

  • I don't think my problem is panic attacks really. I think the panic attacks are caused by the tachycardia, rather than the other way around.

  • Do you have a cardiologist, or have your tests always been ordered by your GP?

  • WulfniteWulfnite Citizen
    edited October 2020

    I'm waiting for whichever cardiologist I have through my insurance plan to schedule a test. He/she doesn't seem too concerned though.

  • @Wulfnite said:
    I don't think my problem is panic attacks really. I think the panic attacks are caused by the tachycardia, rather than the other way around.

    Yes, this happens too. In my case, they blamed it on the nervous system since there was nothing wrong physiologically. They claimed having an underdeveloped nervous system is common in children born prematurely, I have no idea if that's true, this was ages ago.

    I hope medication keeps working for you, I remember how agitated and sometimes scared such episodes made me feel.

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