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ScottyMcGeester's avatar

What's this sensation I get sometimes when I'm sleeping?

Asked by ScottyMcGeester (1001 points ) July 8th, 2013

I’m generally a lucid dreamer, so maybe it has to do with that? But I’ve noticed that for a while now I get these really weird sensations when I’m somewhat aware while sleeping. It’s not sleep paralysis; I know what that feels like. In this sensation, I literally feel my heartbeat slowing down. I always get scared because I feel like I’m going to die if I relax and let it happen, so I try to keep myself aware and my heartbeat goes up but then slows as I fall into a deeper sleep. Now that I’m completely conscious, I know it’s nothing to worry about. But when it’s happening I’m still in a slight dreamy consciousness and I always think something bad is happening to me. It’s not a nightmare either. I know I’m at my bed and everything. I want to know if other people have had that sensation and if it has a name.

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9 Answers

keobooks's avatar

SOME people think that’s the very tiniest beginning of an out of body experience. There is this “threshold” that induces terror or general creepiness just before you leave your body. If you managed to go past the feeling, supposedly you’ll have a lucid out of body experience. But most people wake up or start dreaming to get away from the uneasy feeling. I am not sure how I feel about it but I used to read alt.oobe on UseNet decades ago and was into studying it.

I am not saying that’s really what is happening to your body, but that people in that group described that exact thing you mention and they linked it to a near out of body experience.

antimatter's avatar

I think you got a heart condition need to see a doctor.

PhiNotPi's avatar

There might be something happening in the transition from consciousness to sleep that is affecting your perception of time, which would make it seem that your heart is slowing down more than it actually is.

Here’s an interesting wiki article on time perception. People usually think that 1 second will always feel like 1 second, and that all seconds will feel the same length, but that is quite commonly not the case. Also, here’s a wiki article on slow motion perception.

JLeslie's avatar

When I felt like my heart was stopping for a brief moment while I lay in my bed, it turned out it was literally missing a beat. My heart was slowing to 46 beats per minute while I was at rest, so no wonder I noticed this missed beat. I sometimes woke up feeling like I could not get enough oxygen. It wasn’t anything to go with lung expansion like asthma. Treating my thyroid did wonders. My heart rate increased and the difference is amazing. When I start feeling my heart arrythmia or feeling like my heart is racing (overmedicated for my thyroid) or like I cannot get enough air (undermedicated) then I know I need a thyroid test. My missed beat is not because of my thyroid, but it is more pronounced and obvious to me when my thyroid is outside of normal limits. My heart rate is due to my thyroid. I also think keeping my iron levels up helps, I tend to be anemic.

But, that is my story, yours could be completely different.

FYI, my primary had dne an EKG and said I was perfectly normal. One day I told my GYN about it, and he said see a cardiologist. If your primary finds something, then you have an easy answer, but since it happens at night there is a good chance he might not. Plus, there might not be anything to find.

ETpro's avatar

If it happens routinely or in any predictable manner, you could contact your cardiologist, or get a recommendation to one. They can fit you with a Holter Monitor which will make a real-time recording of your heart’s rhythm for 1 or more full days and nights. I spent years telling primary care physicians I could feel a fluttering sensation in my heart from time to time before anyone correctly diagnosed the problem. I have occasional atrial fibrillation due to a tiny and relatively congential benign heart valve defect. If I were feeling what you are, and were a lucid dreamer, I’d be torn between whether to accept it as real, or write it off as brain farts. I’d darn well want to know which it was.

kimchi's avatar

I disagree with some.
This is just a sensation or a feeling, not a health problem. I am almost sure you do NOT have a heart problem, or a health issue. It’s just a feeling of maybe, being scared? My tip for you is to relax, get a glass of water by your bed, read a book, maybe have some tea, etc. Whatever makes you happy.

keobooks's avatar

If you are interested in following the “out of body route” I forgot to mention that the sensation that you’re supposed to feel after the creepiness or terror is an itchy or tickling sensation mostly on your face. Then you’ll have the distinct feeling of being inside your body. This sounds odd until you experience it. You will feel as if you were inside of a container shaped exactly like your body. SUPPOSEDLY after that, you should be able to exit your body at this point. You supposedly will get the feeling of creepiness or dread again that you learn to fight off. This is the natural instinct your spirit supposedly has because leaving your body is scary and unnatural feeling.

I have felt this itchy sensation, but I don’t believe that I ever actually left my body at any point, except possibly once by accident when I had a high fever (though I will admit it could have been a high fever induced hallucination. It FELT real) I am also unsure if the feelings are actually out of body experiences or if they even exist. I do find it very interesting that lucid dreamers and many people attempting to have out of body experience all go through these sensations.

ScottyMcGeester's avatar

@keobooks Na, it’s not an out of body experience. I know those too. This is something separate. I have no heart conditions, nor ever had a history of them. It doesn’t feel like I’m lacking oxygen. It just feels like everything is going really. . .really. . .gradually. . .slow. And at the time it happens, it feels like if I let it happen, everything would stop (AKA feels like I would die). Doesn’t your heart rate change when you fall into a deeper sleep? That’s what I was thinking what it was, and I was simply aware when it was happening. I think it might be a time perception thing too.

JLeslie's avatar

In my experience I don’t feel when my heart is slow, I do feel when it is racing or pounding (pounding happens sometimes when it is racing) but you might be able to feel it.

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