Am I dying in my Sleep? Read on to find out.

Am I dying in my Sleep? Read on to find out.

You suddenly wake up from a deep nap, perspiring, your heart beating, and you’re out of breath. You feel terrible, but you’re not sure why. You get a profound sensation of dread as the walls encircle you. A dying person? Having a heart attack, are you? What is happening? If you fit this description, you may be having nocturnal panic attacks (NPA). A panic attack in the middle of the night can be terrible. It can be helpful to know what we know about nocturnal panic attacks, such as its symptoms, who is most prone to encounter them, and treatments and coping mechanisms. Read on, it will help you or someone you may know.


What are Nocturnal Panic Attacks?

Nocturnal panic attacks, also known as night panic attacks, can awaken you from sleep without any apparent cause. Similar to a panic attack during the day, you could experience flushing or chills, a racing heartbeat, shaking, shortness of breath, heavy breathing (hyperventilation), and a feeling of impending doom. These ominous indications and symptoms may be mistaken for heart attacks or other dangerous illnesses. Although uncomfortable, panic attacks are not life-threatening. Even though nocturnal panic attacks often only last a few minutes, it can take some time for you to relax and fall back asleep after one. People who experience panic attacks at night also frequently experience them during the day.


Symptoms of Nocturnal Panic Attacks

Can a panic attack cause you to pass out in the middle of the night? You can, indeed. In actuality, it’s a symptom. Unknown triggers can cause nocturnal panic attacks, which can cause physical symptoms of anxiety to awaken you from sleep.

At least four of the symptoms as mentioned below must be present for nocturnal panic attacks to be diagnosed and treated.

  • A feeling of being smothered
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feelings of confusion and desperation
  • Dizziness, light-headedness, or faintness
  • Rapid heart rate or heart palpitations
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Sense of impending doom
  • Chest pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Trembling and shaking
  • Hot flashes or chills
  • Feeling choked
  • Fear of dying
  • Sweating

What Leads to a Panic Attack While Sleeping?

What causes panic attacks is unknown. Genetics, stress, and specific adjustments in how certain brain regions function may be underlying causes. An underlying illness, such as a thyroid issue or sleep disturbance, can occasionally generate signs and symptoms that resemble panic.

While the causes of diurnal (daytime) panic attacks are typically known, you could not comprehend the cause of a panic attack while you are asleep. A panic episode during sleep can be brought on by a number of things, such as:

  • Underlying mental health issues like depression or social anxiety disorder
  • A family history of panic disorder or nocturnal episodes
  • An upsetting circumstance, such as a loved one’s demise
  • Brain chemicals that are out of equilibrium
  • A very difficult event in one’s life

Any of the aforementioned causes, alone or in conjunction with others, may be the reason for a panic attack that occurs in the middle of the night.


Who might experience a Nocturnal Panic Attack?

Anyone, especially those with panic disorder, can have a nocturnal panic attack. Increased levels of stress and worry can raise the possibility of having a nocturnal panic attack. Additional people who run the risk of having nocturnal panic attacks are:

  • Insomniacs and those who suffer from sleep apnea
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder patients (PTSD)
  • Individuals with generalized anxiety or panic condition

Nocturnal panic attacks rarely result in long-lasting bodily injury. The psychological ramifications of a panic episode, however, might last for a very long period.


What are the treatments of Nocturnal Panic Attack?

There isn’t a proven way to stop panic episodes at night. No warning or obvious reason is given for a panic attack to occur. Research is very challenging because it is currently impossible to anticipate with any degree of accuracy when a panic attack will occur. However, there are treatments and coping mechanisms for nocturnal panic attacks that have been shown to lessen both their frequency and severity. If you frequently get panic attacks in the middle of the night, take into account:

  • Breathing exercises and mindfulness meditation
  • Using contemplative exercise methods like yoga and Tai Chi
  • Before going to bed, taking a hot Epsom salt bath
  • Using massage to unwind your body and mind
  • Self-affirmation exercises before bedtime
  • Conversations with family and close friends
  • Journaling

How to reduce the severity of a nocturnal panic attack?

There isn’t a single, well-defined method that will completely stop or control your nocturnal panic attacks. Not everything will function perfectly for everyone. There is some good news, though. You may encounter NPAs that are less severe and less frequent if you use the coping mechanisms and therapy strategies we’ve covered here. After receiving effective therapy and continuing self-management techniques, some people completely stop experiencing any nocturnal panic attacks. Others may be able to lessen the frequency and severity of their NPA episodes.

Start using any of the calming, centering strategies mentioned above if you think you’re having frequent nocturnal panic attacks. It can be beneficial to gently calm your mind, especially at night as you wind down and get ready for bed, since this will lower your risk of experiencing nocturnal panic attacks. Consult a therapist or other mental health professional if self-management strategies don’t seem to be working for you or if your NPAs start to happen more frequently and with greater severity. Learning how to control nocturnal panic attacks can lessen your stress, calm your mind, and give you more energy.

Psychologists and Counselors at Ganeshaspeaks.com can help you with any kind of your issues related to stress, sleep or otherwise. Download the app now.

Talk to Online Therapist

View All


Continue With...

Chrome Chrome