Last reply 5 months ago
Heart thudding at night

I know this particular issue isn’t MS related, but I have a question anyway. My heart really thuds when I lie down to sleep at night. Hard enough that it keeps me awake. It doesn’t race – might be a tad quicker, but not too bad. Mostly just the thudding. I talked to my neuro because I thought it could be a side effect of amitriptyline. He said it likely would be, but he doesn’t believe it is as I only take 30 mg/night for headaches. He said that symptom normally happens when you’re taking 100mg or more. Plus, I’ve had this before, when I wasn’t on amitriptyline so it must be stress related. I have a stressful job. I have tried everything – stress relieving activities, I drink plenty of water (I’ve heard dehydration can cause this too), I have mg tea at night, to help with both stress & headaches. It doesn’t happen every night — but probably 5 nights/week. Some nights it’s tolerable, others it keeps me awake. Last night I was up until 2:30 and had to get up at 6 for work.

Suggestions??? I am at a loss. Somebody suggested pot. I don’t want to inhale anything. I did buy THC pills (it’s legal in my state), but 2 issues: one, I don’t know if this is going to happen until I lie down to sleep, and the pills take 2 hours to metabolize. I’m not going to take it as a preventative. And 2, I am concerned it might interact with the amitriptyline. So I haven’t tried this route.

I’ve tried all that I mentioned above. I’ve tried meditation. I enjoy stitching so I do that at night, I find it relaxing. I walk my dog. I don’t bring work home. I’m concerned too that if it’s stress, it will trigger a relapse. I’ve had my heart checked out – it’s perfectly healthy. So it’s either the amitriptlyine, which per my neuro isn’t likely, or it’s stress, which isn’t going away no matter what I do (short of quitting my job, which would likely trigger a whole new set of stressors). If it’s something else, I have no idea what that would be.


Thanks for any suggestions, and thank you for reading. I’m open to anything at this point. I’m exhausted & frustrated.

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2 years ago

*deleted my own comment – corrected something that didn’t need correcting! Like I said, I’m tired! 🙂

2 years ago

@isaacson72 , that’s a difficult one. Acknowledging the problem is one thing, but getting your brain to not be concerned about it is another!

You could try a white noise generator. This’ll give you something else to listen to, which would also “damp down” any other noises.

2 years ago

Hi @isaacson72,
Really feel for you…stumbler gave me an idea with listening to white noise. Why don’t you try listening to relaxing nature sounds (forrest sounds, waves, rain: YouTube) on head phones when you lie down to sleep and it will drown out the thudding of your heart.

So they aren’t palpitations because you said your heart is fine; it’s not necessarily a fast beat but it seems like a STRONGER beat.

What are your caffeine levels like? I know caffeine can cause a pounding heart:

Hope you feel better soon and get to the bottom of it.

2 years ago

Thanks for the suggestions! I do use the white noise option although found that the bedside noise maker wasn’t enough so instead I move to the couch and turn the dishwasher on. It works about half the time.

I hadn’t considered caffeine but I only have 1 cup in the morning. Seems unlikely, but I wonder. I sometimes have a cup of black coffee but sometimes get a latte with 2 shots. Again, only 1 cup in the morning, more than 12 hours before bed but maybe??? My mom had to give up caffeine because of palpitations but hers were within a couple hours of drinking it. Something to consider & test. I’ve got no problems cutting the latte out (black coffee…. I don’t know!). Good idea.

Thank you!

2 years ago

I get those once in awhile and it is usually because I am laying in a position where I am pressing against a artery in my head or neck area. Sometimes it takes a while to get the right angle of my head to make it go away. Have you seen your GP about this? Potter

2 years ago

The trouble is that now you’re aware that it ‘might’ happen, it almost inevitably will. Do you read in bed? – some say it’s not a good idea but I find my eyelids close even if the current book is unputdownable. Slow deep breathing in to the count of 4 then very slowly out to 5. Imagine walking on a favourite walk, really notice things on route. These are what send me off in a relaxed state. But it needs perseverance and dedication. Having stressful work doesn’t help. I’m retired now but I used to work under stress in a busy architectural practice with constant deadlines but even so – the above methods calmed me down and stopped the heart thudding…..I really hope you find an answer as restless nights are exhausting. Xx

2 years ago

Thanks for all the comments. I actually found a research study done by the NIH that summarizes that this COULD be an ms thing, oddly. I’m not sure I believe that, but it was a professional study (meaning I couldn’t read half the words!).

I’ll stick that in the back of my head for now.

I’ve tried quite literally everything to relax before bed, and I do believe it’s partly a mental thing. I lie down and listen for it, and of course then it happens. But there are nights when I lie down and listen…. and nothing! So … ? I read before bed. I drink calming tea before bed. I meditate before bed. I tried not doing any of those things at all, just crawling in & trying immediately to sleep. I’ve tried it all. I did see my GP when this happened few years back — he referred me to the cardiologist, who said there was absolutely nothing wrong with my heart. So the GP thinks it was stress (specifically related to a really awful kayak accident). I ended up on ambien. He gave me a 30-day prescription, which I managed to eek out for just over 90 days – never took a full pill. And by the end of that time period, I think it broke the cycle of worrying about it, if that makes sense. Maybe worth another shot.

Thanks again. I took a shot of zzz-quil last night and it only took me 4 hours to fall asleep. lol I started early though, and did manage 5 hours of sleep before I had to get up for work, so I feel less-zombie like now!

2 years ago

Thank you for posting the article. I had difficulty falling asleep after I had 5g cortisone treatment. That
was supposed to be normal, but should have stopped after a few month. It did not and I was wondering whether cortisone did a permanent damage to my heart. The article explains connections to MS. What helps me is valerian extract – 20 drops before going to bed.

2 years ago

It was suggested to me that I try taking a vitamin B-complex tablet every day. I’ve been doing that for the last week, and drinking a cup of mg tea at night. Knock on wood, so far so good. I forgot the vitamin B for a couple of days and had the issue again that night.

I don’t know if this is an answer yet or not. Seems to be doing a decent job at the moment so I’ll keep it up and hope for the best. What surprises me, is if this were a simple vitamin B deficiency, why wasn’t it mentioned to me a few years back when I was seeing the cardiologist for this very problem? Cardiologist found nothing wrong with my heart…. they did blood tests but I don’t know if they tested for vit B or not. Seems odd. At any rate I’m not questioning it — whether it’s working because that was the problem, or it’s working because I believe it’s working, I don’t care! Fingers crossed this was the answer.

2 years ago

Just adding that I found my blood test results from April 2017 and my vitamin B was at 322 pg/mL (normal range is 300 pg/mL-816 pg/mL). So…. ??? On the low side but still normal. Huh.

5 months ago

Have you had your thyroid checked? My heart use to do that. When they checked my thyroid it was all jacked up. Once they treated the hyperthyroid it fixed my heart.

I was on Avonex at the time and Avonex is known to cause thyroid problems. Lemtrada is another drug that can cause thyroid problems.

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