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
chickie63 avatar

Has anyone experienced "fog head" while on metoprolol? I'm currently tapering off to cardizem.

wsjuly avatar

Hello, ladies. Lots been happening on my end. In January, I went to my regular doctor and he said that everything, including lab results, looked normal. Was very pleased with the results. I shared with him my thoughts concerning the flu and the A Fib being combined causes of my stroke. He said that the A Fib puts one in the danger of having a stroke. Which means the flu could have been a coincidental situation. I did read through the article you gave me about the A Fib and flu and the studies from Hawaii that were trying to determine some sort of correlation between the two.

Hope you all have been having a good year thus far. 

johnnynemo avatar

Hello all. I had paroxysmal Afib (3 short episodes) 12-13 years ago, all within a few months. That was in my mid 50s. Because of that history I bought an Apple Watch, which finally paid off for me. Last Tuesday I went into Afib, this time with RVR. A couple of nights in the hospital to slow me down and home, follow up with my cardiologist next week. I've been on Diltiazem for 4 years, Metoprolol prior. The only change so far is to switch the Diltiazem to max dosage, so 240 twice a day, from 180 twice a day. So now at 67, I figure I'll have persistent Afib with RVR. I'm a USMC Vietnam vet too, if any others are here.

Anyway, I'm going through a period of feeling vulnerable and fragile, which I hate. I got over it for the most part the first time (except buying an Apple Watch shows me it's always been in the back of my mind) but am struggling a bit now that it's back. I'm assuming I'll be on a modern blood thinner/anticoagulant and am curious about others experiences with these drugs. I'm sure I'll feel somewhat better mentally after my cardiologist appointment.

Thanks for listening.

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