A cardiologist explains what causes resting heart rate to speed up as the day goes on.

“The resting heart rate is the lowest at night while sleeping as well as during the first minutes after awakening, provided the person did not wake up abruptly from a dream or jump out of bed,” says Dr. Sameer Sayeed, a cardiologist at ColumbiaDoctors of Somers, NY.

Take your pulse first thing in the morning, before exiting bed or eating anything.

“It is in the calm lazy waking type of day. The resting heart rate will not increase by too much over the course of the day, but will be higher than what it was during sleep or first wakening due to mainly physical activity, stress, anxiety, circadian rhythm, etc.,” says Dr. Sayeed.

“Caffeine in fact at doses in regular coffee that people drink will actually lower resting heart rate due to its blood pressure increasing effects.

“High doses of caffeine such as in energy drinks and maybe huge cups of coffee will increase resting heart rate as will nicotine.”

There is no heart disorder that causes the pulse to become fast as the day or evening wears on.

Cardiac conditions that cause a rapid heartbeat do not care what time of day it is. So don’t worry if  your pulse becomes elevated only in the evening.

Free-floating anxiety, which is when a person persistently has elevated adrenaline levels due to frequently feeling anxious, nervous or fearful, will cause resting heart rate to climb over the course of the day, maybe topping out at about 20 BPM more than what it was in the morning.

How to Help Control an Evening Elevated Heart Rate

Stress management should be implemented. So should an inventory of things that usually happen to you later in the day.

You may find that stressful situations tend to concentrate later on or in the evening, thus jacking up resting heart rate. Thirty minutes of rigorous exercise will do wonders to help neutralize stress hormones.

Dr. Sayeed performs echocardiograms and stress tests at the Midtown Manhattan and Westchester offices at Columbia Doctors. He is also trained in cardiac CT imaging.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and personal/cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.