Sleep is a near miraculous cure for just about anything that ails us. Conversely, a lack of sleep, either quantity or quality, will cause a multitude of problems. One of these problems are palpitations, or skipped heart beats. If you’ve ever suffered from palpitations you will know how they can make life miserable.
Undoubtedly, lifestyle aspects feature prominently as contributing factors to stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety in turn cause palpitations.
If you suffer from palpitations and have been told by your medical doctor that they are nothing to worry about, you may still feel anxious about them. Without any clear guidance about what you can do about them, they may not only continue but the anxiety they cause can make them worse.
Alcohol, caffeine, overly processed foods, overeating, too much sugar and couch surfing can cause, or increase, palpitations. But one of the most important variables in your overall health is sleep. And too many of us do not get the amount of sleep we need for optimal functioning.
Sleep allows your stress hormone levels, in particular your cortisol, to fall. If that does not happen, an excess of cortisol can result in an electrolyte imbalance and higher inflammation. High inflammation leads to greater irritability of the heart. Sleep is a perfect anti-inflammatory with no side effects. It’s hard to overstate the importance of getting enough sleep.
When you wake up early after only 5 or 6 hours of sleep, you might feel a thump or rapid heartbeat due to the excess cortisol levels in your blood. You worry about that, and your body releases another stress hormone, adrenaline. Adrenaline, similar to cortisol, increases anxiety and heart irritability. Now there is a combination of two hormones circulating in your blood stream that can make the problem even worse. Adrenaline can also cause a transient electrolyte imbalance, and that’s why a Magnesium supplement can be so helpful in calming down the whole system.
You may need a full 7, 8 or even 9 hours sleep to restore electrolyte balance and bring down inflammation.
For a detailed explanation on how sleep affects palpitations, view Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s video: