Were you overrun by a panic attack in your sleep for no apparent reason?
No nightmare or other incident that could have woken you, and yet you are awake?
You feel seized by an inner turmoil and fear that you can not explain yourself?
The chest feels tight, the heart is racing, the breath is too fast and uneven?
You could not sleep through the night and the next nights are agony because of this memory?
Are you really afraid to go to sleep at night?
If you feel addressed by the scenario described above, you have probably experienced a panic attack while sleeping. But what is a panic attack and how is it caused? And, by far the most important question:
How can you handle them and even avoid them from happening again in the future? But before you address these questions, you need to start with the basics. Then you get a panic attack emergency aid.
What is a panic attack while sleeping?
The nocturnal panic attack, or NPA for short, is not the same as a common panic attack that occurs during the day. The main difference between the two is that the panic attack in sleep, as the name suggests, occurs only at night. It usually starts when the body is in the REM sleep phase.
However, do not confuse the panic attack while sleeping with a night terror (Pavor nocturnus). People suffering from night terrors experience amnesia in relation to the episode and are therefore unable to fall asleep again.
In addition, the night terrors, in contrast to the nocturnal panic attack, associated with physical activities, such as turning and turning in bed and beating, screaming and running around.
What are the symptoms?
If you suffer from a panic disorder, which is also the cause of panic attacks during the day, then these reasons are usually responsible for your suffering from panic attacks at night.
The symptoms of a panic attack can be a significantly increased heart rate, hyperventilation, tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, shaking, shivering, sweating, heatworming, and many more.
A sleep-induced panic attack may, in some cases, involve more severe respiratory symptoms than is the case with panic attacks during the day. In such cases, heavy breathing, uneven breathing and difficulty breathing can occur.
Furthermore, nocturnal panic attacks can be far more frightening than panic attacks during the day. There are several reasons for this. Since you are directly confronted with panic when you wake up, your thoughts have no time to form before the attack starts.
In addition, you have no warning signals that precede the attack and that would allow you to prepare and practice preventive tactics.
Who is affected?
If you generally do not suffer from panic disorders during the day, it is also very unlikely that you will suffer from nocturnal panic attacks. Nocturnal panic attacks are very common among people with panic attacks. But they are much rarer than the panic attacks of the day.
About 40-70 percent of patients who suffer from generalized panic attacks will at least once experience NPA. If you suffer from panic disorder and a common symptom is difficulty breathing, you are also more susceptible to a panic attack while sleeping than other people with anxiety disorders.
In addition, there are certain health conditions that make a person more susceptible to night-time attacks in combination with a panic disorder. These health conditions are explained in more detail in the following section.