Can lying down to go to sleep actually cause premature ventricular contractions?
“Most people are more aware of their heartbeat after they lie down at night, thus triggering the perception, but not the reality, of an arrhythmia,” explains cardiologist Dr. Pam Marcovitz, MD, medical director of the Ministrelli Women’s Heart Center, at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.
This phenomenon applies to both men and women. The act of lying down at bedtime—a situation of changing body position from upright—would not disturb the heart and brain’s cardiac rhythm headquarters.
However, something needs to be said about the possibility that the moment some men and women take to their bed, their mind gets flooded with stressful thoughts.
You’re lying there in the dark and quiet, perhaps alone: the perfect opportunity for all sorts of intrusions to barge into your head, such as next-day’s tasks or an unforgivable act committed by a family member.
It can be overwhelming, reflecting upon the anticipated next-day’s struggles or someone’s outrageous behavior.
What’s going on in your life?
The phone calls you must make next day?
The people you must speak to?
The tasks you didn’t get done today that will carry over to next day?
The bills you still didn’t pay?
Anxiety mounts as you lie there in bed, and anxiety can trigger premature ventricular contractions.
In fact, your BED can be a conditioned stimulus for anxiety (because that’s where you do most of your fretful ruminating) and hence — all those PVC’s.
What Should You Do?
- Try to retrain your mind to empty all of the stressful thoughts when your head hits the pillow.
- Put on a white noise machine to help distract you from anxiety-triggering thoughts.
- Limit or eliminate caffeine intake (a trigger for premature ventricular contractions) in the few hours prior to bedtime.