Avatar universal

Help.."mini" panic attacks as i fall asleep

Hi, i am a 23 year old man whose had bad anxiety and panic attacks for a while now. I found a method that has pretty much eliminated my panic attacks, every once and a while ill have a panic attack but lately ive been having these what i call mini panic attacks almost right after falling asleep. literally a couple minutes after. its almost the same feeling as a panic attack  normally would be with the drop in the stomach and adrenalin rush then the rapid heartbeat. sometimes they happen once and sometimes they happen multiple times in the same night. I rarely(only once or twice) have waken up in the middle of the night with them, only right after i kind of drift off it hits me like a frieght-train. I have had my anxiety and panic attacks under control for a while now but these new sleep feelings are drivin me crazy and bringing up some of those feelings i thought id kind of left behind... =(  any help would be greatly appreciated. thank you!
105 Responses
Avatar universal
Hey im only 16 and i have the same problem ill be just about to go to sleep and all of a sudden for no reoson i start panicing or ill be sleepin and i have a panic attack in my sleep and sometimes i feel like im strugglin to wake up like i cant breath then once i wake up i have a hard time fallin asleep because i thappens more then once
Avatar universal
i hear you its tough... and it really freaks you out.. makes you wanna not go back to sleep. I waited up til 7am the other day cause i was freakin out so bad and didnt want to die in my sleep which is the anxiety kickin back in and that sucks cause ive been doin a good job letting the anxiety drift away from me for the last year.. but right now all i can say is im with you its a terrible feeling id love to have an answer for you and I but thats what im here for. =)  i mean at the very least we tire ourselves out worrying about it enough to fall asleep.. =)  hopefully we will get some feedback here as to whats happening but for now dont let it control you i know its scary and im a bit worried myself but the one thing i learned about anxiety and panic attacks is the more you think about it the worse it gets ive got a really good method that helped me out a lot during my major panic/anxiety days ill send it to you if you drop me an email @ your_kiss_kills***@**** cause i know the feeling... good luck with the night issues.. if i hear anything ill let you know here and if you hear anything that makes it a bit better let me know ..
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at yahoo since it wont let me post  your  kiss kills at yahoo dot com
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sorry for the extra posts but make sure you include the underscores after your and kiss.
Avatar universal
im 16 years old as well, and i just tried to fall asleep and i did for about 10 minutes and i woke up in this terrible panic and i couldnt breathe and i literally felt like my heart was going to stop.  so i tried going back but it continuisly keeps happening.  i dont know what to do anymore ):
Avatar universal
im also 23 and have had sever panic attacks. i take 25mg Zoloft and have them under control. but i do wake sometimes in the night and have these mini attacks. mine happen right before i wake up for good for the day. MY BIGGEST PROBLEM is the Derealization that i feel on a day to day bases. this is the only thing now that sepereates me from total freedom of this panic disorder. joe barry program has helped me dedfeat the fear of the attack but i still get genereal anxiety and it comes from the Derealization. if ANYBODy and i mean ANTBODY knows how to get rid of this derealizaton please email me at ***@****. i see the light at the end of the tunnel and once the drealization feeling goes away then its hello world IM BACK
Ask your doctor to change the Zoloft for Deseryl (Trazodone) that you take at bedtime.  It should eliminate the night attacks :-)  Good Luck!
Avatar universal
I am also having the same problems funning feeling in chest, like a dropping feeling, then heart beats fast arm and legs feel weak. They only happen at night right when i am about to fall asleep.I feel I wont wake up in the morning, like I will have a heart attack or quitt breathing I am a smoker for 30 years now, so maybe it is my lungs.
No it is stress and a panic attack
Avatar universal
This just started happeneing to me a week ago. I am a 20 year old male. WTF is wrong with us that we are so young and have so much anxiety? I h8 this. every night (i repeat, EVERY NIGHT) right b4 i am about to fall asleep it hits me. The first time was really bad. But now when i feal it coming on i just try to ignore it. I now know im not going to die and it will be over soon and that helps. They are not as bad because i expect them and i can calm myself.

**Try reading a book before bed or listening to some zen music, just try to calm your soul. It has helped me..**
Avatar universal
I'm dealing with this for 1 year now. I'm 21 male. It's really hard to ignore it. Just as I'm about to fall asleep my body jerks and I feel like Im having a heart attack and I can't breath. I don't smoke or do drugs I never touched alcohol. But still this is happening to me almost every night. No matter how tired or sleepy I am, in the back back of my brain a thought is running and the moment Im about to fall asleep, it comes like a giant monster and shakes me to my very soul.
Avatar universal
YES! I've been feeling this too, exactly when I begin to fall asleep. I feel the drop in the stomach and adrenalin rush, and dizziness too, all at the same time. The dizziness lasts for 2-3 seconds but the panic for a while longer...

Been to the doctor, did bood tests and checked my thyroid and everything was ok, so he told me it is nocturnal anxiety...

I've anxiety for a long time but never felt anything like this before.

It began in the last 2 months and happens almost everynights sometimes several times before I can fall asleep.

I made a post about this, you can check if you want, and the reply I got was that this was normal because it's when our bodies are more relaxed and we can't no more control the anxiety...hope this helps.

If anyone has a method of dealing with this please let me know it is realy terrifing and tiring...
Im facing the exact problem right now. im afraid to go back to sleep. i feel terrified that something could happen because wen i shut my eyes and am about to fall asleep, something snaps me oit of it with a shock and panic and my heart racing. its horrible. aometimes i eat something like a bun or bread or cake or.milk and it helps..  but only sometimes.
Avatar universal
I have had panic attacks for years. I am 26 years old and have had panic attacks since I was 12-14 years old. I am so used to them at this point. I know who, what , where and when I will have one. I can feel one coming on from a mile away. I take xanax for them and it has ALWAYS helped. Recently I have started having what you are calling MINNI panic attacks at bedtime as well. As soon as I drift off....I do mean as soon as I drift off....The panic hits....heart races, sunken feeling in my chest. But not like a normal panic attack. And it throws me out of bed like a rocket. After a few minutes it goes away and I lay back down but as soon as I fall asleep again...there it is. Happened 3 times last night and I was not able to fall asleep until 6:30am this morning.

      What common denominator do we all have in common. All our symptoms are the same. We are all relatively young from 16-26 years old. What else do we all have in common??? Maybe it could help explain this new onset of panic attacks before bed. They are driving me nuts. My husband wants me to go to a doctor, but I dont see how one would be able to help. I already take xanax.

I need help!
I am 50 now - I have had these symptoms since I was little......back then they attributed it to low blood sugar.  At 17,I was diagnosed with MVP.  At 32, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue.  At 40 - Deg. disk disorder, arthritis, panic disorder, etc.  Enough about me......I now have two children in their 20's with the same anxiety/panic issues........Talk to your family.....You are probably not the only one that has these feelings.  My mom and grandmother had the same issues but when I was little, I was just told that I am Type A and to suck it up.  It is miserable if it is ignored or they put you on the wrong meds.  If no one is listening to you - Find a psychiatrist that does DNA testing and can tell you exactly why you have the symptoms you do and how to fix them.
Avatar universal
Hi everyone, I just wanted to say that I've been having the exact same thing for a while now: I feel reluctant to go to sleep but at some point, my body feels so ridiculously tired that I have to try to sleep. And as I drift off, it feels like my mind refuses to let my body sleep and so I feel this shock in my body, I feel like my heart is sinking and then it beats really fast. I then get excessively scared that something might be wrong with my heart so I refuse to sleep. I get so scared every night and it's exhausting.
Also, I don't know anyone who has this too so it's hard to talk about it and make people understand. I'm glad I'm not the only one with this.
But I've been going through a rough couple of month and I've been having a lot of panic/anxiety attacks. I only just recently started taking antidepressants so they're not effective yet.
But it seems quite obvious what it is: it's closely linked to the state of anxiety in which we all seem to be. And the fear to fall asleep and not wake up, or the fear that these shocks might come again are all responsible for this too. Like I said before, it's like my brain refuses to let my body drift off because I'm scared.
If you think about it, imagine you're walking in a forest and you find yourself in front of a snake, for example. Your brain will automatically see the danger and you will feel that adrenaline rush in your body, preparing it for and eventual fight or escape. It's the same here. You're scared of falling asleep, and as you are, your brain registers the "danger" and wakes you up with an adrenaline rush.

Anyway, I'm anything but a doctor, but I've read a lot of things on anxiety attacks and this is my interpretation.
I hope you will find this useful
Avatar universal
I know exactly how you feel. I've suffered with major panic attacks for several years now. It usually a happens 30 minutes to an hour after I fall asleep at night. I am woken up abruptly with a feeling of sudden terror and realize that my heart is going at a very high rate. I get the sense that I'm having a heart attack and am about to die. When this first happened I had my wife call 911 and was rushed to the hospital. They found nothing wrong with my heart and sent me back home. This happened twice more a few months apart and again I was taken to the hospital for checkup. This time the doctor gave me a shot of beta blocker which almost instantly brought my heart rate back to normal.

Here is the best way to deal with this disorder:
1. Get your heart checked by a Cardiologist to rule out heart problems. In my case I was diagnosed with a benign mitral valve prolapse. This is a common heart problem affecting 5% of the population that is harmless but can trigger panic attacks. Knowing that your heart is normal will help you deal with the panic attacks when they happen because you can tell yourself that your heart is normal and you're not about to die. This fact alone has reduced the severity of my panic attacks from a 10 to about a 2.
2. Consider asking your doctor to put you on a beta blocker drug like Atenolol. These drugs are very safe and work by blocking adrenaline from reaching your heart. So when your brain sends a false message to your heart that danger is looming your heart will ignore it. The drug also slows down and regulates your heart rate. Many people who don't have any heart conditions or panic attacks take it because it helps them deal with daily stress. For example, singers take it before a performance to help them calm down.
3. When you have an attack stay calm and re-assure yourself that this is only temporary and is going to pass. Drink a cup of water with lemon and pace around the house until your calm down. This can take between 5 to 30 minutes. Once calm go back to bed. If you are afraid to go to sleep read a book, watch tv, or listen to some music to make you sleep again. Then try to lie down and relax.
4. Pray and ask God to help you with this disorder which is rooted in fear. If you have faith in the afterlife then the fear of death will fade away. This is easier to say than to live out but it helps me deal with this problem. Knowing that God is in control of my life and my destiny gives me a sense of peace .Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
Wishing you all the best!
Avatar universal
I’m so happy I’m not the only person with this problem.  I’m 22 almost 23 I was diagnosed with panic attacks at 16 was on Zoloft until I was almost 19.  I had my panic under control for about four years .. occasional tiny attacks but nothing I couldn’t handle.  Its currently 4:08 … I laid down at 1:00 to go to bed and then the attack came…my attacks aren’t so mini though.  They are full blown panic and tonight was the worse so far.  Same thing as the others posted feeling of heart attack then fear or inability to fall back to sleep .  
I got my own place three months ago and I don’t have any roomies which is what I think my be part of the problem ( fear dying and nobody finding me or having a heart attack and nobody finding me but this started after the attacks started).  I’m going to see about going back on Zoloft asap this is driving me nuts.  I also find it strange that we are all about the same age group and all with the same symptoms.  
Avatar universal
Hi Everyone,

just wanted to share this with you, About 2 years ago, i started having terrible anxiety and panic attacks. I too went through the same things, particularly not wanting to go to sleep and feeling petrified that i was going to have a heart attack. I went on medication for a few months but decided that it wasnt for me.
I just wanted to let you know that speaking to a doctor about it is really important. But be sure to ask WHY things are happening. The thing that helped me the most was them explaining my symptoms and why i was experiencing this. Everything you are feeling is a normal reaction from your body. You'll find that most of it is muscular from being so tense, its amazing what symptoms a tight muscle in your neck can cause!
Fear of death is completely normal. Particularly with the younger generation. We are a generation that needs to know, information has always been readily available to us. But this is one of those things that cant be explained.
Concentrate on living your life, set goals and work towards them. I cant stress enough that you are in charge of your own life.
I must add that i still get anxious sometimes but i have learned to change my way of thinking, instead of panicking about it being 'anxiety' I change it, everyone gets nervous and excited so thats what i put it down to. You will learn that these feelings are normal and that focusing on them like i used to will blow them out of proportion. Instead of being hard on yourself about your anxiety, focus on the positives and how it is getting better. I bet each time you feel anxious or have a panic attack you deal with it that little bit better.
The internet can be a great source of information but focus on stories about people that have overcome anxiety, just sharing information and researching symptoms and causes can be very detrimental, trust me i know!

Anyways, hope that was helpful and good luck to all of you!
1462406 tn?1285938731
I was googling to see if I could find anything on this, and am happily shocked to see that it's not just me.

My regular panic attacks have been under control for years, but this junk as I am/right after I fall asleep is just HORRIBLE.  :o(

The only thing I can suggest to you guys is, try Theanine (over-the-counter natural green tea supplement) and/or KavaKava root (also otc).  The Theanine is mild, but effective, and the Kava is effective, but not so mild.  I'd recommend taking half the recommended dose to start out with, as it can make you loopy.

I am baffled that most of you are so young.    O.o

Like Isaiah53 said, you may also want to try calling on God.  
Avatar universal
I also have panic attack just before i drift to sleep. I get a weird scary feeling and my hearts starts pumping and then i start thinking strange things.

Anyone knows any methods for anxiety and panic attack?

Also sometimes i have anxiety thru all day (scary feeling) but when i eat certain food it kinda goes away but then i get burning sensaiton on my body.

If anyone knows anything  and wants to talk about it just please email me davor.***@**** and all of you take care and cure soon!!!
Avatar universal
I am 23...The past couple of months I know that I have been completely stressed out with being broke, both my mom and dad being in and out of the hospital, and have been having daily migraine headache's (especially in the back of my head) and neck and throat stiffness/pain, plus high blood pressue which I know can cause bad headache's.

Well the past couple of nights while I am about to drift off to sleep, I feel my stomach/heart drop (like i'm falling off a cliff or something) and I gasp for air and jerk awake breathing heavily and having chest pain, neck pain, heart racing and even a sense of having the chills/hot flashes, and it scares me so much that I cry, and it scares my husband. Every single time I pretty much close my eyes this happens, no matter how tired I am...and even sometimes when i'm awake (during the day) and just thinking about it. At first I was terrified that I was having a heart attack, or heart problems, but my husband thinks that it is panic attacks and that I have high anxiety. I have never had them before, and I haven't yet been checked our by the doctor. My husband suggested me taking a shower to try and relax me, and then I prayed and wasn't able to fall asleep until around 5:00 am this morning and it wasn't easy to do...and usually i'm asleep by 9:00 pm and awake at 7:00 am :( I tried laying down today to get more rest and it was still happening every time I close my eyes....I tried having light music playing on the radio, and having a movie on and it didn't help :(  I feel completely tired like I have no energy to clean my house or do anything, and I am having very painful neck pain and headaches with this that have been going on for months now........What should I do??? Please help :`(
Avatar universal
I've been suffering with general anxiety and panic attacks for about 4 months now. I have been to the docs on numerous occasions i still get worried that I have a life threatening illness. Mostly for me it's the breathing I can't keep it under control and only recently started to bot be able to fall asleep, I will for a few hours and then I'm awake and every time I try to fall asleep it stops me, this is so scary and I feel like I may die or stop breathing in the middle of the night!! If anybody has any information please feel free to email it to me as this is taking over my life, my email is ***@****
Avatar universal
OMG... You guys are LIFESAVERS!! I've been getting these exact same attacks for the past 8 months or so.. Not every night, but at least twice a week! I've had it for the past 4 days in a row and its seriously started to get on my nerves cos my sleep pattern is being DESTROYED! I have searched and searched for months for an answer and have found nothing.. At first I thought it was sleep Apnea.. But when I went to the doctors today for routine check up.. I mentioned my episodes of "near death" before sleep.. And he brushed it aside as "panic attacks".. And alas.. I typed in "panic attack before sleep" and I've just seen for the first time that I'm not the only one!! The feeling of falling is crazy!! I can't believe u guys get it too.. And I don't know whether its just me.. But have any of u noticed WHERE your "attacks" occur?? Because mine only occur in 2 places... 1: @ home which is the location where I had my first. And the other is at my mums house.. Because I once had one there and now everytime I visit my mum.. I can't sleep for 4-5 hrs cos I'm fighting it! My point is.. When I stay at friends houses or hotels when I'm on holiday.. They never happened! But when I'm at home.. About 2 hrs before bed.. I start thinkin "I hope I don't get that thing tonight!!.. I hope I can just sleep normally" and because I'm thinking about it... Then they happen! Same goes at my mums! Because I've experienced them there.. The more I think about it, the more they happen! don't know whether that's the same for u guys.. But that's what I've been thinkin. Sorry for the big essay... But I've been tryin to sleep for 4 hrs.. And decided to give my body a break from trying to sleep. Hopefully I will be fine now! Distraction is usually the way I beat it! Good luck everyone

Dominic, Uk, 22yrs
Avatar universal
omg i have exactly the same thing, but my hands go numb and tingling aswell, i feel like i am going to stop breathing and die, my legs go dead aswell and all just before i drift off to sleep, this can happen once a night to 6 times a night, it scares me to death now hate going to bed, i did think it could be sleep apnea, i do smoke and been drinkin quite alot of alcohol at night so i fall asleep with out these attack, any ideas i would love to hear thanks
Avatar universal
Hey all, I've been having these night time attacks for about 2 years now and they have become more frequent and during the day. I know exactly what you feel and I'm glad I'm not alone. I would get checked out by a doc just to be safe but what helps me is a heating pad for my back, hugging a pillow when I sleep (no joke), taking shower b4 bed and relaxing. Don't worry just know when you wake up heart racing, we are too :)
Avatar universal
Well,  guess im not going nuts.  im 34 and have been dealing with this secretly for 10 years.  always suspected panic attacks,  but as it goes,  feeling you are dieing suddenly or cant breath and will die from it in your sleep..reminds me of nightmare on elm street.  So i listen to a lot of Coast to Coast talk radio because its on from 1:00 AM until 6:00 ,  bet a lot of you might too
Avatar universal
Here I am at 5am going through this crap. Just tried sleeping for over an hour and everytime i'd have a shock that would send me sitting straight up in bed. This is an aweful condition. I'm tired, and my beautiful dogs are in bed with me, and i just wanna go to sleep. I'm gonna take a shower maybe that will help.
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