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Having trouble in sleeping. Feels heart quivering when lay down. Take zyrtec for allergies. Advise?

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I am going through an extremely stressful time. I am having trouble sleeping. I lay down and I feel me heart quivering. Sometimes I wake up distressed and my heart again feels like it is quivering. Never happens when I am standing up. Is this something that should be checked? I take zyrtec at night for allergies .
Thank you , XXXXXXX
Posted Thu, 4 Jul 2013 in Mental Health
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 1 hour later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

From the description of your symptoms, you ar most likely suffering from an anxiety-related problem. Stress and anxiety can present with a variety of physical manifestations, and "palpitations" (which you describe as quivering of the heart) is a common symptom. The episodes where you wake up from sleep feeling distressed and have quivering of the heart are likely to be panic attacks, which again is an intense form of anxiety.

The reason why your symptoms are prominent when you are going to sleep / lying down is because during other times, your mind may be engaged / distracted in other activities and you may tend to notice these symptoms more when you are alone or in a quiet environment. The distress of not being able to sleep when you are lying down may also be adding to the anxiety and thereby, worsening your symptoms.

Since your symptoms appear to be causing you significant distress / difficulty and since you are in the midst of a very stressful time, I would suggest that you ask your GP if you can be prescribed a mild anti-anxiety medication for a short period of time. This will help reduce the heart quivering as well as help you get good sleep. Alternatively, you can also see a counsellor for help regarding managing your stress / anxiety. You can also try relaxation techniques like deep breathing, yoga, meditation, etc.

Since you are otherwise healthy and don't have any risk factors for cardiac disease, you need not worry that these symptoms could be indicative of a heart problem.

Wish you all the best.

Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
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