If you’re anything like me, you like nothing more than laying your head on your pillow at the end of a long day. But, depending on your health and stress levels, there’s a chance that falling asleep could be a little tougher.
Though some people may be kept awake by the sounds of a snoring partner or outdoor rowdiness, others might be able to hear the sound of their heart beating while they’re lying down. This pounding sound is a sign of palpitations, which may be faster than your usual heartbeat and which can sometimes be felt in your neck or chest.
They’re most likely to happen at night or when you’re resting ― or, more specifically, you’re more likely to notice (and hear) them when you’re staying still. Many of us have multiple palpitations a day and are simply too busy to notice them.
“They may be scary, but they aren’t usually dangerous,” the Cleveland Clinic says. They go on to state that common causes include dehydration, overindulging in booze, salt, fat, or sugar, and even hormonal changes such as those seen in pregnancy and menopause.
However, occasionally palpitations can be a sign of something more serious. Here are some conditions that can cause the symptoms:
1) Heart issues
If the palpitations come with breathlessness, chest pain, or feeling faint or fainting, the NHS says you should seek immediate help as this can be a sign of a heart problem.
But even if you don’t have those symptoms, there’s a small chance you may also be suffering from conditions like cardiomyopathy or, rarely, an inflammation of the heart’s muscle called myocarditis. It could also be linked to valve disease, which often causes skipped beats.
Because anaemia means your blood’s iron levels are low, those suffering from the condition also have low haemoglobin levels. Haemoglobin is a protein that helps to carry oxygen around the body, so if you haven’t got as much as is ideal, your body has to work extra hard to carry the blood throughout your body.
Experts think this can lead to palpitations, and could even be linked with worse heart health further down the line.
3) Thyroid issues
Those with overactive OR underactive thyroids might experience heart palpitations. Overactive thyroids can cause anxiety, sleeplessness, diarrhoea, and more; underactive thyroid symptoms can include weight gain, dry skin, brittle nails, and muscle aches.
4) Low or high blood pressure
5) Low blood sugar
Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can sometimes cause palpitations. The condition can sometimes be dangerous, and those with diabetes are at a higher risk.
Other signs of hypoglycemia include feeling dizzy, hungry, thirsty, sweaty, shaky, or having tingling lips.
Of course, these are some of the more extreme causes behind the thudding sound of palpitations ― it can arise from something as simple as exercise or electrolyte imbalances.
Palpitations can also be a sign of mental health conditions such as anxiety ― they’re common in panic attacks.
Seek medical help if your palpitations are keeping you up at night (and not just because of the noise).