Can Sleep Apnea Cause Panic Attacks
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder which is characterized by hypopnea. This is a decrease in breathing during sleep or apnea which is a pause in breathing during ones sleep. This is a very serious condition and it can lead to a lot of different health complications including death.
Some patients with sleep apnea may have mental health disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety or panic disorders. During sleep apnea, the brain receives a panic signal which jerks the body awake and helps you resume breathing. This leads to broken sleep.
Create Some Space To Unwind
When everything is done for the night and ready for the next day, you do need some time each evening to simply relax, let go, and re-energize. A few ideas:
- Practice a relaxation technique, such as deep breathing, journaling, or yoga.
- Read a book.
- Unwind with a warm bath or cup of tea.
Regardless of what brings you serenity, set aside at least 10 minutes of downtime each evening. Doing so allows you to feel calmer and may be the prompt you need to get a good nights rest.
Check Your Sleeping Habits
Having a consistent sleep routine or sleeping habits, for instance by going to bed and waking up almost at the same time every day, including your weekend.
Another thing that could help would be establishing a routine before going to bed that will help you relax, for example, taking a hot bath, meditating, reading, or listening to some music.
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What Are The Main Causes Of Having Night Time Panic Attacks
There is no clear and straight answer on the matter since researchers havent found yet specific reasons why someone may experience nocturnal panic attacks.
However, consider how your brain is still working while you sleep, it never switches off.
In contrast, researchers suggest that there could be factors associated with increasing the risk of suffering from panic attacks .
These may include:
- Suffering from chronic stress from your day to day activities.
- Comorbidities with other mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder .
- Genetics were having a parent or a sibling that suffers from panic attacks may increase your chance to have them.
- Side effects of certain medications.
- Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol or drugs.
- The intake of certain substances such as cannabis or caffeine.
- Suffering from chronic medical conditions.
- Suffering a traumatic event such as the death of a loved one or significant changes such as becoming a parent.
They Can Be Scary And Disorienting Here’s How To Cope With Manage And Even Prevent Panic Attacks At Night
If you have ever experienced a panic attack, youre not alone. In fact, a larger number of people experience panic attacks than you might think.
Panic attacks can occur at any time of the day. You can even be awakened out of your sleep with symptoms like an accelerated heartbeat, sweaty palms, and shortness of breath.
Panic attacks at night are not uncommon and although they can disrupt your daily life and lead to chronic sleep anxiety, there is hope. There are steps you can take before, during, and after experiencing a nocturnal panic attack that may help treat and prevent them.
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Aromatics To Prevent Having Panic Attacks At Night
Having lit candles are an excellent way to calm the body and mind. One reason is that they can provide a sort of hypnotic, flickering source of light as a substitute for normal lighting such as a bed light. Plus you can have as many as you want. When you get ready to blow them out even the aromatic smoke left over can feel soothing. Three of the most calming scents are lavender, pine and sandalwood. You may want to find candles or scented oils that contain these soothing smells, but you can also find linen sprays to use for your bed sheets, covers and pillows.
Stopping Panic: What To Do When Youre Having A Panic Attack
Here, some strategies that have worked for others that may help you:
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If You Are Having A Panic Attack At Work While Reading This Please Immediately Follow The Simple Steps Below :
Give Yourself A Simple Massage
In order to stop panic attacks, youll need to help yourself relax. Unfortunately, going to the spa regularly can be out of some peoples price range. So youll have to practice pampering yourself. There are a few spots that do the trick.
When having a panic attack, massage the top part of your nose between the eyes. Just move your finger up and down gently to help you relax. You can also massage your wrists or feet. Sometimes rubbing your chest above the heart can help you unwind. Some people rub ice on themselves in a massaging motion to help stop panic attacks. So you can try that too!
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Get Up At The Same Time Daily
Creating a routine can be an effective way to combat sleep anxiety and insomnia. By getting up at the same time every day, your body will naturally start to adjust your internal clock or circadian rhythm.
One sleep study, highlighted in the Guardian as A Cure for Insomnia, found that getting up at the same time every day helped the participants body feel sleepy around the same time every night. Over time, this helped the participants bedtimes become consistent.
However, creating a nighttime routine can also have similar effects. Winnie Yu for WebMD suggests creating a nightly routine can help relax your body as it starts to anticipate and expect sleep as you follow through each step. It can also help relieve anxiety, as you know what to expect each night and each morning.
How To Recognize A Panic Attack
Because they come on suddenly and manifest with physical and emotional signs, panic attacks can be confusing and difficult to identify in the moment, especially if they are nocturnal, waking you from your sound sleep. Generally, a panic attack is of a fairly short duration, peaking after roughly 10 minutes, although it can take much longer than that to wind down from a nocturnal panic attack. You may feel too disturbed to be able to fall back asleep right away.
There are several signs that you should know about that indicate you are having a panic attack. For a full-blown panic attack, at least four of these symptoms will be present less than four means you are experiencing what is called a limited-symptom panic attack. The signs:
- A sensation that you are outside of your body or detached from the panic attack
- Fear of losing your mind or dying
These symptoms can be very intense in the heat of a panic attack, but you can try to remember that it will pass when the panic attack does.
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Keep Track Of What Makes You Anxious
While panic attacks sometimes feel like they hit out of the blue, Moore suggested keeping a journal to keep consistent track of your anxiety so you can potentially identify any unnoticed triggers.
Over the day, chart your anxiety. Record your activity, giving each part of your day a rating between one 10, with 10 being the most anxiety you are feeling in that moment, she said.
If you can find a pattern to your anxiety, you may be able to pinpoint what is causing your panic attacks so you can stop them in their tracks or reduce their severity, Moore added.
How Common Are Anxiety Disorders
The World Health Organisation estimates that 1 in 13 people have an anxiety disorder. This means that there are more than half a billion people living with a highly treatable mental illness.
What does this mean for you?
If you are experiencing prolonged anxiety, you are not alone. It is common for people with an anxiety disorder to feel isolated and misunderstood. The good news is that anxiety can be effectively managed with the right type of guidance from a health professional.
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When To See A Doctor
Constant anxiety that makes it difficult to sleep at night can affect your daily quality of life. Your work or school performance may worsen, and you may find it hard to complete your normal daily tasks.
If anxiety and lack of sleep are affecting your life in this way, its important to reach out to a doctor or mental health specialist for help.
For some people, nighttime anxiety can lead to insomnia. Insomnia is defined as persistent trouble falling or staying asleep. Chronic insomnia can have negative health effects, including an increased risk of:
- health conditions, such as high blood pressure and a weakened immune system
- mental health conditions, such as depression
Whether your doctor makes a diagnosis of anxiety, insomnia, or both, reaching out is the first step in the treatment process.
Why Do Nocturnal Panic Attacks Occur
It’s “multifactorial,” says Dr. Magavi, and it differs from person to person, based on underlying conditions, medical disorders, and psychiatric and family history. Nighttime rumination and stress, as well as anticipatory anxiety about what’s to come tomorrow, can all contribute to and may precipitate a nighttime attack, she notes.
“If you leave stress and anxiety unaddressed or unmanaged because there is a physiological component to our flight or fight response, your body adjusts to living in hypervigilance and high alert mode,” explains clinical psychologist Alfiee Breland-Noble, Ph.D. Your fight-or-flight responses aka when your body’s flooded with hormones in response to a perceived threat aren’t limited to our waking hours, she adds. If you turn on this response before sleep it can end up impacting your heart rate, breathing, sweating, and, yes, sleep. You might think of it as your body getting “stuck in overdrive,” and that “the symptoms and triggers that you ignore or fail to respond to during the day can potentially begin to impact you at night,” says Breland-Noble.
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Can Underlying Conditions Influence
It is believed that certain medical conditions can cause symptoms associated with anxiety and even panic attacks.
Some of the conditions include heart disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, certain brain tumors, among others.
Subsequently, talk to your doctor to seek treatment first for any underlying conditions and see if they are responsible for your panic attacks.
Other Treatment Options For Sleep Panic Attacks
If sleep panic attacks are happening quite often, medications can help as well as cognitive behavioral therapy, talk therapy or mindfulness-based therapies. The one thing that you dont want to do is hit the bottle for relief.
Alcohol can accelerate heart rate and get our bodies kind of aroused. If youre drinking alcohol late in the evening, that could be a particularly predisposing sort of thing for panic. With people who are anxious and panicky, if they overuse alcohol, they often feel very anxious when they wake up. So alcohol could be a contributing factor for panic attacks with some individuals.
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Panic Attacks I Turned My Mental Health Crisis Into A Mental Health Triumph
“Although it’s taken me a long time I have learned I am a strong person who has the potential to help others.”
You might find that you become scared of going out alone or to public places because you’re worried about having another panic attack. If this fear becomes very intense, it may be called agoraphobia. See our pages on types of phobia for more information.
“I felt like I couldn’t breathe, I just wanted to get out, to go somewhere else, but I couldn’t because I was on a train.”
What Should I Do After Waking Up With A Nocturnal Panic Attack
If you are fortunate enough to go back to sleep after waking up with nocturnal panic attack then there is nothing else you really need to do.
However, chances are you wont immediately go to sleep after experiencing this situation so avoid lying there, wondering if there will be another attack coming soon.
On the contrary, try to get out of bed and wake yourself by splashing some water on your face or walk to the kitchen and have some water.
You could also walk around the house or your apartment once and then go back to your room but avoid instinctively powering on the TV or checking at your phone.
Instead, try reading your favorite magazine, book, or something that can distract you in an attempt to fall right back asleep.
However, if after a few minutes you are still fully awake try to do some easy but distracting chore like doing a quick wipe of bathroom sinks, counters, and faucets or if you have washed your dishes, try to put things back in their place.
In contrast, if you are still unable to sleep and you keep having problems throughout the week, we recommend seeking professional advice from a mental health professional.
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Set The Room To A Comfortable Temperature
Pretty simple, here. Make sure youve set the room to a comfortable temperature before going to sleep. Nothing is worse than waking up in the middle of the night in a sweat. If your body is uncomfortable, it could feasibly interpret that discomfort as a threat, causing nocturnal anxiety. I prefer to sleep with the room cold so that being under the blankets feels the maximum amount of comfortable. 68 degrees Fahrenheit is the correct temperature, I will not debate this .
Get Up Stand Up Wake Up
If you’ve just been awakened by a nocturnal panic attack, the chances of your quickly falling asleep again are pretty low. If you want, give yourself a minute to see if you’re lucky enough for that to occur, but I wouldn’t wait any longer than that. The longer you lie there and wonder, the more panic and frustration you’ll probably experience.
So I suggest you get up and out of bed. Fully wake yourself. Splash some water on your face, have a drink of water, check on the dog, cat, or parakeet. Do a few ordinary things to help yourself wake up. A nocturnal panic attack is not the same thing as a nightmare, but you can treat it like one.
Don’t turn on the TV, start reading, or try other things in an effort to fall right back asleep. A lot of people try to distract themselves from a nocturnal attack, but I don’t put much stock in this, because distraction works best when it’s spontaneous. With a nocturnal panic attack, you’re liable to try too hard to distract yourself, and get into a struggle with your thoughts. If distraction is going to help, it should help right away. Give it a minute, at most.
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