I’m Having AFib at Night: Should I Be Worried?
Find the truth about questions that pique your curiosity in our series, “The Short Answer.” Cardiology researcher David Van Wagoner, PhD, answers this one about atrial fibrillation.
A: It is not uncommon for atrial fibrillation (AFib) to occur at night. The nerves that control the heart rate typically are in sleep mode, and resting heart rate drops. Under these conditions, pacemaker activity from areas other than the normal pacemaker in the heart can trigger the onset of AFib.
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In addition, many patients with AFib have an underlying issue of obstructive or central sleep apnea. If you are frequently sleepy during the daytime, that is especially likely to be the case. Treatment of sleep apnea with CPAP or other devices can sometimes help to reduce the frequency and burden of AFib.