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
rfedd avatar

Home from hospital today. Had a spinal fusion done on Monday. L5 S1. I was off Pradaxa for 10 days, which was a bit nerve wracking.  But back on tonight. Seems surgery went well, and I am able to take short walks. My thanks to the surgeon and staff.

wsjuly avatar

Hello, ladies. Know I've been away quite a while. Guess you could say that things have been somewhat busy; the usual chores and daily things and such. Hope all's well with you and everyone else on the forum. My heart is basically the same, not too weaker and, of course, not too much stronger, either. Generally the same. The defibrillator keeps a close eye on my heart rhythm. I thank God for this day especially because it is my birthday. I made it to 54 years because of God's grace and mercy. You all take care of yourselves and we'll talk again soon. 

Patio avatar

Anyone have experience with this? I began a low dose  of topamax this past week , at the direction of my neurologist, and approval of my EP, for essential tremors that have become worse over the past two years since my diagnosis of afib and aflutter. The usual beta blockers aren’t a good option for me as I am bradycardia except when in afib or aflutter. Today when I took the first full dose of 50 mg I knew I was in trouble as I felt OFF all day and finally as my rhythm med wore off went into full blown aflutter with HR of 148. After an hour of deep breathing,drinking water,  etc, I felt close enough to-my next dose of  Tikosyn so I took it, as well as my dose of Magnesium and within half an hour I was in synus rhythm. I have not had an episode for many months and have no doubt what started it. I am upset that i had no warning..but perhaps I am the outlier. Anyone else? And what do I do with this information? And no I will not ease myself off this..I am done! It was awful!

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