Signs of panic attack while sleeping
xperiencing a panic attack while sleeping, also known as nocturnal panic attack, can be distressing. However, panic attacks usually occur when a person is awake and can also happen during sleep. Here are some signs that can indicate a panic attack during sleep:
- Sudden Awakening: An common sign of a nocturnal panic attack is waking up suddenly with intense fear or distress from sleep. This awakening often occurs abruptly and can be accompanied by a sense of imminent doom.
- Rapid Heartbeat: During a panic attack, the heart rate increases significantly. If you wake up with a racing or pounding heart, it could be a sign of a panic attack that occurs during sleep.
- Difficulty Breathing: Difficulty breathing or the sensation of not being able to catch your breath is a specific symptom of a panic attack. If you wake up gasping for air or experience a sensation of breathlessness, it could be a sign of a panic attack during sleep.
- Sweating and Feeling Cold: Excessive sweating, stickiness, or sudden chills during sleep can be a sign of a panic attack.
- Trembling or Shaking: It is common to experience body tremors or shaking during a panic attack. If you wake up with uncontrolled trembling or shaking, it could be a sign of nighttime anxiety episodes.
- Chest Pain or Discomfort: Chest pain or discomfort can be a troubling symptom of a panic attack. If you wake up with chest pain that subsides after a short while, it could be related to a panic attack during sleep.
- Sense of Losing Control: Panic attacks often bring a sense of losing control or going crazy. If you wake up feeling overwhelmed by the fear of losing control, it could be a sign of nighttime panic episodes.
How to Calm a Panic Attack
- Practice deep breathing: Deep breathing exercises can help you control your breathing and activate your body’s relaxation response. Take slow, deep breaths in through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Focus on your breath and repeat this pattern until you feel more relaxed.
- Use grounding techniques: Grounding techniques can help bring your attention back to the present moment and reduce the intensity of a panic attack. Try to become aware of your surroundings and focus on them. Name five things you can see, Name four things you can, Name four things, Name three things, Name three things you can hear, Two Can name things you can smell, and can name one thing you can taste.
- Challenge negative thoughts: Panic attacks are often accompanied by negative thoughts and catastrophic thinking. Challenge these thoughts by asking yourself whether there is evidence to support them or whether there are alternative explanations. Remind yourself that panic attacks will pass and that you have successfully dealt with panic attacks in the past.
- Practice progressive muscle relaxation: Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups to release tension and promote relaxation. Start with your toes and slowly move through your body, tensing and then relaxing each muscle group. This technique can help reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety during a panic attack.
- Use visualization techniques: Visualization techniques involve creating a mental image of a calm and peaceful place. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a peaceful environment such as a beach, forest, or garden. Engage your senses by imagining the sights, sounds, smells and textures of this peaceful place.
- Engage in self-care activities: Engaging in self-care activities can help to distract your mind and promote relaxation. Listen to calming music, take a warm bath, practice yoga or light stretching, read a book, or engage in any activity that relaxes you.
- Seek help: Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional who can provide support during a panic attack. Verbalizing your feelings and fears can help reduce the intensity of a panic attack and provide a sense of comfort.