AFib and Heart-Healthy Sleep Habits

AFib and Heart-Healthy Sleep Habits

Creating Routines for Heart-Healthy Sleep Habits

Although it may surprise you, for some people, getting good sleep can go a long way to lessen the AFib burden and reduce the number of atrial fibrillation flare ups you have.

Practice these healthy habits for improved sleep patterns that will also help give your heart the best odds for health too. Dr. Don Weaver, a sleep professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, advises everyone, particularly those who may want to improve their quality of sleep, to follow these basic guidelines:

Maintain a regular sleep schedule

It may seem rigid to be centered on a certain time for bedtime, but your body will naturally develop routines if you do, which can lead to better rest.

Wind down with routines that help signal to your body it’s time for rest

In the two hours before bedtime, find ways to allow yourself to start to unwind mentally and physically.

Make your bedroom quiet and comfortable

Dr. Weaver says, “Good sleepers cultivate strong mental associations of physical relaxation, mental calm, and good sleep with their bedtime, bed, bedroom, and bedtime rituals (like tooth brushing and setting the alarm clock). Most people can learn better sleeping habits by establishing and strengthening these same associations.”

Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine products later in the day

  • The health risks of smoking, particularly for those with AFib, are well documented. Like caffeine, nicotine is a stimulant to your nervous system, and evening stimulants create brain activity that is incompatible with sleep.
  • Alcohol is not a productive sleep aid. Research has shown that although one to two drinks within two hours of bedtime may assist with falling asleep, it tends to disrupt a person’s ability to stay asleep and get adequate rest.
  • Also, Dr. Weaver says, “drinking alcohol before bedtime tends to relax the muscles of the throat and to suppress awakening mechanisms, thereby making snoring and sleep apnea episodes more likely, sometimes to the point of being life-threatening.”

Get adequate physical activity

Physical activity is not only good for the purpose of increasing your heart rate and helping you become more alert and focused, having a daily time for exercise helps your body recognize cues for sleep and rest more fully once asleep. Dr. Weaver adds, “In the interest of improving sleep, the best time to exercise is in the late afternoon.”

Better sleep leads to all-around better functioning, mood, and ability to manage the details of life. Taking small steps to improve the quality of your sleep is likely to reward you with an enriched sense of well-being.

Recent Discussions From The At Home Forum
Azboomer avatar

Hi A-Fibbers, 

As an active, semi-retired 72 year old, I have been recently diagnosed (April 2019) with paroxysmal AF and my cardiologist has had me on Metoprolol (25mg) and Eliquis for 2 months with minimal side effects. However, I do have a slow H/R at times in the mid-40's.I have had 24 hour+ AF episodes about once or twice per month for 3 months. My sleep apnea is well managed on a CPAP. I exercise at the gym about 4-5 times a week and just started a Yoga class which may help my AF.

Today, my new EP told me to drop Metoprolol and start Multaq (400 mg) twice a day. He said it should correct my slow H/R and has a good chance at stopping my AF episodes. However, my concern is the possible side effects (especially GI effects) from Multaq that I read about on this forum. On one hand, I could stay with Metoprolol which I have safely adjusted to--"if it ain't broke, don't fix it". On the other hand, I think Multaq may have a better chance of long term AF success, if I can handle the side effects.

Fortunately, my cardiologist and my EP are both top rated and highly respected in their medical fields in the Phoenix area.

What advice would you have for an AF newbie like me?  Stay with Metoprolol or try Multaq? I appreciate your inputs.

Thanks for making this forum a very valuable resource for us new A-Fibbers!

Best Regards,


Salitria1 avatar

I was diagnosed with AFIB on May 10th, 2019. I am  42 years old, and I am a single parent to my five year old son. I am terrified. I don’t know what the future holds for me with this condition. I have never been ill before and never been on meds until now. I’m now on Eliquis and Amiodorone. When I first began taking theses meds last week they made me nauseous and gave me headaches that wouldn’t subside. I work in corrections and I’m afraid to be in such an aggressive environment while on blood thinners. I have to work and make a living. I’m also scheduled to start nursing school in September. Due to AFIB, should I put School on hold. I want to see my son grow into a man. I feel devastated by this diagnosis. I see a EP at The University of Chicago Hospital in June. What kinds of questions should I ask!!! I thank everyone in advance for their time.

rtrigo avatar


I am new to the group.  I had an epidode in 2013 after working out where my heartbeat got up to 235bpm.  I was given a hit by the defib in the amublance, two months later I had a catheter ablation.  Doc basically told me to try and live a stress free life.  (yeah sure)  Fast forward six years to 2019, I have another episode and have to get hit again by the defib in the amubalnce.  No surgery this time.  The doc pumped me with adrenaline but could not duplicate what happened.  He said the only link to the 2013 episode was the low level of potassium. He changed my BP meds and eat leafy greens.  Since I've been hit twice by the defib I've noticed my hearing isnt so great.  I've experienced flashback where I can feel the electricity run through my chest.  Just wondering if anyone else has had such side effects.  That defib is no joke and I felt like a mac truck hit me but i survived.

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