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
barbara1642 avatar

Do patients with a-fib ever get pacemakers?  I haven't posted lately because I've been fine.......and having other issues:  dental & cataracts.  The joys of getting   

So do we fibbers ever get pacemakers?  2 days ago I had an "incident", and I think my heart wants to go into a-fib, but it doesn't quite make it.  I have an appt w/my cardio this morning.   


I'm just curious..............


live long & prosper

Barbi1 avatar

hi I’m new , I was diagnosed with Ischemic in May , had surgery 8 May I went AFIB on the table , I hope I’m saying this right .  I’m on xarelto . I need advice on eating right .  Thanks Barbi 

maria12045 avatar

This concerns my father.

Age: 62, caucasian male

Location: Greece

Weight: 71kg

Height: approximately 175cm

Diagnosis: dilated cardiomyopathy and atrial fibrillation (he is currently not in a-fib: his atrial fibrillation stopped after ablation)

Other conditions: none besides retinal detachment in one eye, and raised intraocular pressure in the other which he treats with eyedrops; and two instances of bells palsy in the past.

Current prescription:

Xarelto 50mg (rivaroxaban)

Entresto 100mg (sacubitril/valsartan)

Carvepen 25mg (carvedilol)

Eleveon 50mg (eplerenone)

He also took Zyloric 100mg (allopurinol) to manage uric levels which he quit along with the above.


September 2016 my dad went to ER with chest/abdominal pain. They found he had EF of 24% and left ventricle 60mm.

His latest check up, April 2019 he had a cardiac ultrasound showing EF of 55-60%. Left ventricle approx 53mm.

On June 7, 2019 (three weeks ago now) he stopped all meds without telling anyone -not doctors or family- because he feels he doesn‘t need them. He had back pain, joint pain, fatigue and complained of insomnia and cited these as his reasons for stopping. However, I recall him beginning questioning the necessity of meds as soon as he got rid of the AF by ablation. He has been reading studies about the long term side effects of heart medications and this motivated him to quit as well.

Since finding out three days ago, myself, family and his doctors have advised him to restart but he is ignoring this advice because he says he feels great since the side effect symptoms (back pain, fatigue, etc.) have stopped and he is checking his blood pressure regularly as a safety measure.

As to why he would doubt the medicines when it has been demonstrated that they work, I believe the answer is the following: since the beginning, his doctors described the cause of his condition as a chicken and egg situation (did heart enlargement cause the atrial fibrillation or vice versa?). I believe my dad started to attribute the cardiomyopathy to the a-fib. Therefore, since he is currently physiological (despite the fact that this a result of therapy) he thinks he only has to watch out for another episode of a-fib.. He thinks the medications have already done their job and are now just damaging his health unnecessarily. But he needs to be explained that they still are doing their job. And that the risks outweigh the side effects.

I am hoping for information about how the medicines are still contributing to his heart. And about the risks of stopping. But any feedback at all from patients, family of patients as well as medical professionals would be appreciated so much as I am at a loss.

Thank you for very much for reading.

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