What Are Nocturnal Panic Attacks?

Nocturnal panic attacks happen while you are sleeping. These can be extremely stressful and cause immense fear due to the night time hour. Those who experience them will wake up sweating, fearful, and thinking something worse is happening to them.


Typically anxiety attacks at night last for at most ten minutes. The problem is that most people can find it difficult to calm their nerves back down to fall asleep. On top of that, some are afraid to sleep as they don’t want to experience another.


Common Symptoms

There various symptoms that can let you know you’re having a nighttime panic attack. These can be quite scary and even seem almost like a heart attack. Let’s take a look at the list…

  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Breathing Heavy
  • Shaking
  • Increased Heart Beat
  • Sweating
  • Extreme Fear


People tend to share experiences that involve waking up in a state of panic and fog. They typically feel as if they were still dreaming and looking at their body from afar, as they are not fully awake.


Average Victims

Individuals who suffer from daytime anxiety are more prone to having it at nigh as well. These are people who have experienced trauma or have some sort of other disorder that puts their body more at risk for their subconscious mind to create an attack. The typical sufferers include people with…

  • Generalized Anxiety
  • Social Anxiety
  • Disorders Of The Personality
  • Bipolar
  • PTSD
  • Obsessive Compulsive


Those with these disorders are more apt to experiencing problems during the overnight hours. However, it’s important to note that all people are capable of this type of nighttime anxiety. Stressful life events and increased anxiety can cause these to happen.


What Does A Typical Attack Feel Like?

For you to fully understand what this condition is we want to run you through what a typical nocturnal panic attack feels like. When you fall into a deep sleep your heart rate starts to decrease like normal as your body gets put to rest. The brain in individuals who have these anxiety spats have their brain on high alert.

As soon as your heart beat slows down your brain signals to the body that something is wrong. This causes a stress response to occur. This response involves you waking up in a panic and feeling short of breath.

For people that suffer daily from this type of attack it can be frustrating and scary to go to sleep. They may leave the lights on and spend the day in lethargy due to lack of sleep. Your body is unable to get a deep sleep and instead does a ‘cat nap’ where it doesn’t fully rest and rejuvenate.


Typical Causes

When your body is at a high level of anxiety your brain is on double duty. It is consistently scanning your body and altering you of any changes to its natural environment. These changes can include…

  • A Deficiency In Vitamin B
  • Genetics: Those with a family history of nighttime panic attacks are more prone to experiencing them than others.
  • Chemical Imbalances: When the neuro transmitters in the brain are not in balance it can lead to increased anxiety at night.
  • Frequent Nightmares: The nightmare may cause your anxiety levels to hit the roof pushing your body into a panic.
  • Medications
  • Acid Reflux: The symptoms of this disease include pressure on the chest and difficulty breathing. Having these symptoms at night can cause the body to have a panic attack.