Dang, there goes that “cardiac awareness” again: You REALLY feel your heart beating, or maybe this goes on for long stretches of time—even though you’re not physically exerting yourself.

“Some people are just more aware of their heartbeat than others,” says cardiologist Dr. Pam Marcovitz, MD, medical director of the Ministrelli Women’s Heart Center, at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.

This awareness of the heart’s pumping action applies equally to men and women.

“People also seem to notice their heartbeat when they lie down to go to sleep at night, because they are quiet,” continues Dr. Marcovitz.

“If you’re heart rate is normal, it might simply be a heightened awareness, rather than a stronger than average heartbeat.”

Something inside of you is continuously pumping. Of course you will feel this at rest from time to time.

It may be more prevalent if your chest is snuggly against an arm while you’re in bed.

See what happens when you relax the snug. Experiment with different positions to see if any particular position heightens the cardiac “awareness” or diminishes it.

Ask Yourself this Question

Has your heartbeat always been strong or noticeable, but only recently you’ve been growing concerned about it?

“Becoming vigilant about noticing your heart rate may cause anxiety in and of itself, which in turn can increase heartbeat,” says Dr. Marcovitz.

“Some people are prone to panic attacks and hyperventilation, which can cause a stronger heartbeat.

“To address these challenges, take some deep breaths.  If you’re hyperventilating, breathe into a paper bag. Simply try to relax.”

Another tactic is to remind yourself that it’s better to hear a beating heart than to hear what a non-beating heart would sound like!

Of course, if your heart were not beating — you would not be conscious to be aware of this since the brain needs a continuous supply of blood to function.

dr. marcovitz

Dr. Marcovitz has over 33 years of experience in helping people improve their heart health.