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Waking up with heart racing

Woman with racing heart holds chest
Lettering in cursive script "Just Relax
You are waking up with heart racing? Don't panic With the following hints and tips, it's sure to soon be a thing of the past.

Waking up with heart racing

A bad start to the day

Sleep is the most normal thing in the world for us, necessary, relaxing and therefore impossible to imagine our daily routine without it. It only becomes unpleasant when sleep is no longer restful and you start the day with annoying heart palpitations. This not only causes a bad mood, but also insecurity that spreads through our thoughts.

Palpitations in the morning

With palpitations, your heart is pounding uncontrollably fast – you feel like you’ve just exercised and you’re out of breath. This is often accompanied by dizziness, lightheadedness and sweating. Your thoughts are overwhelmed and have to sort themselves out before you know exactly what is happening. Often we are not even aware of the causes and blame it on another “bad dream”. We simply hope that it will not happen again and accept it as it is. Therefore, we would like to provide more clarity with this article. Although we don’t know what your personal causes are, we have listed some causes that could explain your waking up with heart racing.

What happens while we sleep?

Understand your sleep

We all know what “sleep” means, but we don’t know what our body does during it. To help you understand, we’ve put together some information for you.

Fall asleep

Let’s start at the beginning: The phase of falling as leep usually lasts between 5-30 minutes, depending on the person and how tired they are. We never know exactly when we fall asleep, because it is a second-by-second process that is difficult to track. Once we are asleep, our body slowly shuts down. Our heart rate decreases, our blood pressure drops, our body temperature drops, and our breathing becomes calmer and shallower. These processes calm our bodies so they can fully recover from the many activities of the day. In addition, sleep also provides our brain with important functions that are essential for performance.

Sleep phases

Generally speaking, our sleep consists of two phases: the dream phase and the deep sleep phase, which alternate on average in a 90-minute rhythm. In the deep sleep phase, important growth hormones are released, with which our body regenerates and calms down again. This is the opposite in the dream phase, where our brain is working at full speed and our body is meanwhile under power. This is due to all the experiences we have had during the day and now have to process. In dreams, however, not only are experienced, past and current events processed, but our imagination is also given free rein.

Wake Up with a Racing Heart?

Older woman with heart palpitations holding chest

The medical explanation of tachycardia

A tachycardia is the medical term for palpitations, by this term we mean a heart that beats unusually fast and irregularly. Normally, the heart of an adult beats on average 60-80 times per minute, but in tachycardia it beats about 100 times per minute. It is worse in severe tachycardia, where the heart beats up to 150 times a minute. You have probably already noticed – not all heart palpitations are the same. You don’t have to panic if you have a little tachycardia, because tachycardia is not always dangerous. Strictly speaking, it is a natural and above all harmless reaction of our body to fear, nervousness, anticipation or panic. However, if the heart beats permanently fast and not only in stressful situations, but especially in resting phases, then you should consider consulting a doctor, because it can often have medical reasons. In particular, if frequent heart palpitations coupled with dizziness, pressure in the chest or nausea occurs.

Causes of waking up with heart racing

Not all heart palpitations are the same – that’s for sure. That makes it all the more difficult to accurately diagnose and determine the exact reason. And this is where you come in! Try to pay close attention to your body and recognize its needs. To make this easier for you, we have compiled a list of possible causes of your heart palpitations. To find suitable tools such as sleep trackers or heart rate monitors, you can simply take a look at Home & Relax.


A nightmare is nothing more than a dream loaded with anxiety and negative emotions and is certainly familiar to all of us. Mostly they arise from exhausting and exciting experiences during the day, which are processed in the dream. Other reasons for nightmares can also be subconscious fears, souls, past strokes of fate or several other factors that burden our subconscious. As in the waking state, these factors also cause heart palpitations. Often nightmares are very bizarre and thus additionally cause extreme confusion and dizziness when getting up. This combination additionally unsettles us and we have to collect ourselves after getting up in order to be able to differentiate between reality and dream.

What now?

In principle, a nightmare is not bad – within a few minutes we have forgotten what happened, sometimes we do not even notice a nightmare. It only becomes annoying and unpleasant when nightmares become a permanent condition and we are repeatedly awakened by such “night terrors”. Because this not only makes us tired, tense and possibly easily irritated the next morning, but also increases the potential of serious sleep disorders. To counteract this, it is important to be able to calm your body quickly and efficiently so that you can either continue your sleep or start your day relaxed. This can be done quickly with the help of conscious breathing. Try to concentrate on your breathing and inhale and exhale consciously – this way your heart will start beating regularly again and your body will be able to calm down. You can also do these breathing exercises before you go to bed, which will help you to release the stress of everyday life and your body will be much more relaxed before you fall asleep, making it easier for it to come down and let go.

Low blood pressure

Waking up with heart racing can also have medical reasons, such as low blood pressure. Low blood pressure reduces the blood that should be pumped from our heart to the brain. This results in dizziness, confusion and quite a few other symptoms, which are especially caused by rapid changes in position such as standing up quickly. Heart palpitations are also a consequence of reduced blood flow, because our body tries to counteract this and thus makes our heart beat faster.

What now?

Whether you have a too low blood pressure, you can easily measure with the appropriate utensils at home, but also your family doctor can give you the answer in a few seconds, for orientation usually serve the limit values 110 to 60 mmHg for men, 100 to 60 mmHg for women. Low blood pressure is often hereditary and occurs particularly often in young and slim women, but other diseases or medications can also cause low blood pressure. However, this is by no means a cause for concern, because even simple home remedies can help low blood pressure. These include taking alternating showers, getting enough exercise, eating enough salty foods and drinking enough fluids.

A sleep apnea

A sleep what? – A sleep apnea is a widespread common disease and one of the most common sleep disorders in which breathing stops during sleep. About 3.7 million people in Germany suffer from the most common form of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea. Here, the tongue muscles slacken, closing the airways and causing snoring. These breathing pauses lead to a lack of oxygen and, in the long term, can lead to a stroke or, in extreme cases, a heart attack. In addition to the health risks, sleep apnea leads to other obstacles for sufferers. They feel constantly tired, exhausted and drained despite hours of sleep, which makes everyday life enormously difficult. This is because when there is a lack of oxygen supply to the tissues, the body switches on a so-called “wake-up reaction.” In this wake-up reaction, the respiratory muscles of the chest and diaphragm are activated and the output of the heart is also increased. As a result, the affected person wakes up briefly with a racing heart.

What to do now?

If you yourself notice that you breathe irregularly during sleep, wake up frequently with palpitations, or suffer from constant fatigue despite long sleep, then we advise you to consult a doctor. He can examine you specifically or refer you to a suitable sleep laboratory. Besides sleep apnea therapy, an extra bite splint (also good as a snore stopper ), certain medications or even surgery, there are also simple tips and tricks that can help. Often overweight is a major cause of sleep apnea. If you are aware of your overweight, or the overweight of your bed partner, then try to act against it. Even a few kilos are enough to be able to breathe more properly at night and also sleep better at night. To sleep well at night and avoid heart palpitations when you wake up, you must learn to sleep “properly”. According to sleep physicians, a proper sleep takes place best in the side position. Most snorers sleep in the supine position, which is a big mistake, because this only promotes snoring due to the relaxed muscles in the throat. Also conducive is a suitable mattress, a suitable pillow (my personal recommendation: side sleeper pillow), coupled with sufficient sleep time and a regular sleep rhythm. These are all factors that you can use to counteract sleep apnea and palpitations when you wake up. If you don’t see any improvement despite these tips, we recommend you see a doctor to prevent worse!

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