The one who did not like to sleep in childhood, recalls this in adulthood with surprise. Going to sleep is a long-awaited event of a busy, hard day. However, some people could not fall asleep immediately. A grueling panic attack comes first.
Night Attacks Are Accident or a Pattern?
Panic attacks before going to sleep have exactly the same trigger mechanisms as other crises. At some point, a person becomes “covered with adrenaline”, and it scared him – an “anchor” occurs. The psyche fixes such memories not only by the time of day, but also by situations (a lively crowd, stuffy transport), activities (eating certain food, listening to music, jogging) and even by subconscious pictures hidden from us. Therefore, we cannot say that night is the most frequent time for PA and that the sleepy state somehow affects the release of adrenaline in the blood. This is only a situation that is entrenched in the psyche of the panic-monger and turned into a reflex. As soon as the darkness thickens, and the first signs of chronic fatigue begin to make the person to sleep, the reflex is immediately triggered and the “adrenaline dance” begins:
- First, the pulse is broken. Often a person feels a sharp push (extrasystole), then an instant panic starts (“I have a heart attack, I’m dying, I need an ambulance”). The release of epinephrine include tachycardia, sometimes too strong, about 160 beats per min. With even more fear an alarmist is on the verge of screaming and rushing around the apartment. Night is a special time. At this time everybody sleeps, and you do not always have enough moral strength to wake up even your family members, let alone a neighbor on the porch. That is why, experiencing panic attacks before going to bed, a person feels a special helplessness (“I’ll die, and no one will hear, because it is night, and everyone is asleep”), which forces him/her to call an ambulance just “to be on the safe side”. As soon as the doctor appears on the doorstep, the crisis is usually over but some of its symptoms may persist.
- Cold hands and feet – even a thick blanket and woolen socks do not help.
- The agonizing fear of death makes you restless.
- Sometimes it is accompanied by strong extrasystoles, and they are a real test for the panic-monger.
- Being in a vicious circle of fear and adrenaline, a person feels a certain distortion of reality, even time goes in a different mode. Sometimes it seems that it took not 5 minutes, but a week. In a state of stress it is difficult to think and adequately assess the situation, thoughts are constantly confused.
- When experiencing panic attacks when trying to sleep, breathing is disturbed, hyperventilation of the lungs often occurs, which makes a person think that he/she is suffocating, although the lungs at this moment are oversaturated with oxygen. You only need five minutes of calm and measured breathing into the palm of your hand, and everything comes back to normal.
- You can feel dizzy, suffer from pressure in the middle of the chest, but these are usually only echoes of raging central nervous system. In fact, the heart is all right, and no heart attack or stroke occurs inside.
But the most important symptom is another reinforcement of your reflex. The person is sure: panic attack before bedtime will be repeated constantly, every night. This belief firmly establishes the “anchor” in his/her subconscious, and, of course, this reflex works every time you start to prepare for sleep.
Causes of Night Attacks
The main cause of PA lies in the psyche, and it is important to understand it. Such conditions are not treated with medicines and do not pass “suddenly”. If crises began to occur often, the person has a certain shift in the central nervous system and psyche. This process as a rule has spiritual motives. Psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists have determined several major factors that cause panic attacks (and here we can not distinguish night crises as something special, their causes are the same as for the rest of the adrenaline shakes):
- Genetics. Panic-monger parents often have children who also suffer from vasomotor dyscrasia or have any mental disorders.
- Individual characteristic. The hypochondriac, artistic, creative persons always have a special area for stress inside the soul. Sometimes it helps to succeed in the world of creativity, but at night it’s not the best companion.
- Children’s psychological trauma. Any adverse, stressful events from early childhood are often clothed in mental disorders in adulthood. Divorce of parents, severe punishment, dog bite or fire – all this leaves imprints inside. And if we do not see problems, it does not mean that they do not exist.
- Chronic stress, lack of sleep, the wrong way of life, bad habits. It would seem, this does not apply directly to the human soul, but the nerves are loosened decently. And this is another factor for something to go wrong inside the psyche.
That is why it makes no sense to go to a cardiologist and complain about the heart pounding wildly, as he has nothing to do with it. It makes no sense to ask the therapist to prescribe a sleeping pill as it is impossible to use pills all your life. Once you will have to give it up and what then? The right solution is to go to a psychotherapist and find the spiritual cause of your panic attack before sleeping. And, of course, self-cultivation is of great importance.
You can also use the following tip: move the usual bedtime for 1-2 hours. Some panic-mongers suggest that it helped them to deceive their own reflex: new time – new circumstances in which the “anchor” didn’t manage to be fixed yet.