Wake Up with a Racing Heart

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/12/2024

Have you ever noticed your heart racing or pounding while you're trying to catch some Z's? It's not just a figment of your imagination.

Your resting heart rate can actually rise while you're snoozing, and it's not always a cause for concern. But why does this happen, and when should you worry?

As it turns out, there are a few different reasons why your heart might be working overtime while you're in dreamland.

Think of this as your guide through night-time woes—from diagnosable sleeping challenges right down to stealthy underlying illnesses messing with your zzz's. And now, let's not beat around the bush any longer; let’s dig right in.

Understanding High Pulse Rate and Its Causes

A high pulse rate, also known as tachycardia, is a condition where the heart beats faster than normal. It's defined as a heart rate that exceeds 100 beats per minute (bpm) in adults.

While a normal resting heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 bpm, factors such as age, fitness level, and overall health can influence what's considered normal for each individual. For example, well-trained athletes may have a resting heart rate as low as 40 bpm.

Differentiating Between Palpitations and High Pulse Rate

It's important to distinguish between heart palpitations and a consistently high pulse rate. Palpitations are brief, sudden changes in heart rhythm that can feel like fluttering, pounding, or skipping beats.

These sensations are often temporary and may not necessarily indicate a high pulse rate. On the other hand, tachycardia refers to a sustained elevated heart rate, even when at rest.

Common Causes of Tachycardia

Various factors can contribute to a high pulse rate, including:

  • Alcohol consumption

  • Excessive sugar intake

  • Low potassium and magnesium levels

  • Vitamin B1 deficiency

  • Stimulants like caffeine

  • Overactive thyroid

  • Anemia

  • Dysautonomia

  • Excessive exercise

  • High acidity

  • Imbalanced blood sugar levels

According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, alcohol is one of the most common causes of tachycardia. Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to a rapid heartbeat and other cardiovascular issues.

Similarly, a diet high in processed sugars and refined carbohydrates can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, which may trigger an increased heart rate.

Maintaining a balanced diet rich in whole foods and limiting alcohol intake can help regulate heart rate and overall cardiovascular health.

Natural Remedies and Lifestyle Adjustments for Managing High Pulse Rate

If you're experiencing a consistently high pulse rate, there are several natural remedies and lifestyle changes that may help manage your symptoms. However, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Woman enjoying the fresh air

Breathing Exercises and Celery Consumption

Deep breathing exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing or pranayama, can help calm the nervous system and reduce stress levels, which may contribute to a lower heart rate.

Incorporating these techniques into your daily routine may provide long-term benefits for heart health.

Additionally, consuming celery has been associated with lower blood pressure and improved cardiovascular function. Celery contains compounds called phthalides, which can help relax blood vessels and reduce strain on the heart.

Reducing Stress and EMF Exposure

Chronic stress can take a toll on heart health, leading to an elevated pulse rate and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Engaging in stress-reducing activities like meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature can help lower cortisol levels and promote relaxation.

Another factor to consider is exposure to electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) from electronic devices. Some studies suggest that prolonged exposure to EMFs may affect heart rate variability.

Minimizing the use of electronic devices, especially before bedtime, and keeping them at a distance when possible may help reduce potential impacts on heart health.

The Impact of Diet and Exercise on Heart Rate

The foods we eat and our level of physical activity can significantly influence heart rate and overall cardiovascular health. Making informed choices about diet and exercise can help maintain a healthy heart rate and reduce the risk of developing tachycardia.

Alcohol, Sugar Intake, and Heart Rate

As mentioned earlier, excessive alcohol consumption and a diet high in sugar can contribute to an elevated heart rate. Alcohol can act as a toxin, causing damage to the heart muscle and disrupting its electrical activity, leading to tachycardia.

Similarly, consuming large amounts of sugar can cause rapid spikes in blood glucose levels, which may trigger an increase in heart rate. Over time, a diet high in added sugars can also contribute to insulin resistance, obesity, and other risk factors for heart disease.

The Role of Potassium, Magnesium, and Vitamin B1

Maintaining adequate levels of certain nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B1 (thiamine), is crucial for heart health.

Potassium helps regulate the heartbeat and supports proper muscle function, while magnesium aids in maintaining a steady heart rhythm.

Vitamin B1 is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates and the production of energy in the heart muscle. A deficiency in these nutrients can lead to an irregular heartbeat and other cardiovascular issues.

Incorporating foods rich in potassium (such as bananas, spinach, and avocados), magnesium (like nuts, seeds, and leafy greens), and vitamin B1 (found in whole grains, legumes, and pork) can help support a healthy heart rate.

Exercise Intensity and Its Effects on Heart Rate

Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining a healthy heart, but excessive or intense exercise can sometimes lead to an elevated heart rate. During exercise, the heart works harder to pump oxygenated blood to the muscles, resulting in an increased pulse.

However, engaging in moderate-intensity exercises, such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, can help strengthen the heart muscle and improve its efficiency over time. This can lead to a lower resting heart rate and better overall cardiovascular health.

It's important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard, especially if you have a history of heart issues.

Gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your workouts, while allowing adequate time for rest and recovery, can help you safely improve your fitness level without putting undue stress on your heart.

Coconut chocolate chip cookies

The Sweet Dreams Paradox

As you delve into the enigma of elevated resting heart rates during sleep, consider the unexpected role that factors like stress and diet play in this phenomenon.

While the mysteries of sleep remain, one thing is certain: indulging in comforting treats like coconut chocolate chip cookies can offer a moment of solace amidst the puzzle of nocturnal heart rate fluctuations.

So, savor each bite of these delightful cookies, and perhaps, amidst their sweetness, find a hint of serenity amidst the mysteries of sleep.


In most cases, a slightly elevated resting heart rate during sleep is nothing to lose sleep over. This is just your body doing its thing – adjusting to different stages of sleep, reacting to hormones swirling around, and shifting with the temp.

However, if you consistently notice a significant increase in your resting heart rate or experience other symptoms like shortness of breath or chest pain, it's time to listen to your body and talk to your doctor.

These signals? They're possibly red flags for a health condition begging for your focus.

By understanding the common causes behind changes in your resting heart rate and knowing when to seek help, you can take charge of your heart health and ensure you're getting the restful, restorative sleep your body needs. Sweet dreams!

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