Anxiety at Night Can't Sleep: Sleep Panic Attacks

Here, you'll discover what sleep panic attacks are, and, how they can be addressed. Sleep or nocturnal panic attacks aren't harmful, but can be scary. You'll also learn why it isn't your dreams that cause these nighttime attacks, but events that have happened earlier.

Somewhere between 40% and 50% of folks with panic attack disorders have attacks when they sleep, although only about 10% of all attacks happen nocturnally. However, because of the circumstances, the symptoms of sleep panic attacks can seem to be more intense and terrifying than during the day. And an attack can seem to last longer for many sufferers.

The symptoms of sleep attacks are the same as daytime attacks; sweating, tight chest / throat, hyperventilation, palpitations, fear of impending doom, fear you're having a heart attack, etc. However, just as with daytime attacks, nocturnal panic attacks symptoms cannot harm you.

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Do dreams cause sleep panic attacks? No. It is known that your dreams don't trigger nocturnal attacks. Tests have shown that the majority of nocturnal attacks happen in the early phases of your sleep cycle.

There are 5 phases or stages to your sleep cycle; 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM (not the band! but 'rapid eye movement'). A complete cycle ( 1 thro' 5) takes around 100 minutes, and then you repeatedly go through the cycle again. Your dreams occur in REM, but the majority of your sleep attacks generally occur in stage 2.

Nocturnal panic attacks occur for the same reason as daytime attacks: a stressful event or situation occurring on top of an already heightened anxiety level, typically someone with an anxiety or panic disorder.

This event can occur some hours before the actual attack is triggered, so something that happened during the day could trigger an attack during the night. This could be any stressful situation, and / or, overstimulation through alcohol and / or drugs, etc.

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Remedies are the same as for daytime attacks; medication, therapies and self-help such as; exercise, diet, breathing exercises, meditation, self-hypnosis, yoga, etc. These basically help to treat the symptoms or help you cope better with your condition.

But a critical element in preventing panic / anxiety attacks and curing general anxiety is the 'fear' of suffering another anxiety or panic attack. The symptoms of an attack are just so great that the 'fear' of another is implanted in your psyche. This adds to an already higher-than-normal level of anxiety, so that when a stressful situation is encountered, a panic attack can be triggered by it.

This cycle of anxiety can be described as 'anxiety > fear > panic attack > anxiety > fear > panic attack' and so on. And unless this vicious cycle is broken, you're unlikely to prevent further daytime or nocturnal panic attacks, and so be able to cure your general anxiety.

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Although there are drug-based remedies for anxiety and panic attacks, we are just looking at home remedies for panic attacks here. This is because more and more anxiety and panic attack victims are turning to these natural cures, and away from drug-based treatments with their pretty nasty side effects.

One of the first things though is to recognise that the typical panic attack symptoms -- racing heartbeat, hyperventilation, tightness across chest / throat, tingling extremities, nausea, dizziness, hot and cold flashes, etc. -- could be symptoms of other problems such as a heart attack. So always get a proper diagnosis by your doctor.

Now to the way these extremely frightening panic attacks occur. Basically, when you have higher-than-usual levels of anxiety and stress, a further stressful situation -- e.g. being in a crowd, in a traffic jam, etc. -- can add to your already high anxiety and trigger a panic attack.

But the symptoms that you experience cannot harm you, you aren't about to die. They are only your body's response to your extremely high anxiety levels triggering your natural defenses into what they call a 'fight or flight response.' This response rapidly alters chemicals reactions, blood flow and several other things, which give rise to the symptoms of a panic attack.

So one of the most important things, as far as home remedies for panic attacks go, is to recognise the symptoms for what they are, and, that they cannot harm you. By doing this you have taken a massive step forward.

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During an attack, it helps a lot if you combine the above realization with focussing externally on physical things and away from your symptoms. For example, focus on a particular building or tree, look at the colors, structure, count the windows, the branches, etc. You get the idea?

Another home remedy is to use a paper bag to control your hyperventilation. By breathing into and out of a bag, you are restoring the oxygen / carbon dioxide balance which helps to calm you down and limit the length of the attack.

The above home remedies are good during a panic attack, but you can help yourself to mitigate against their occurrence if you can reduce your overall stress and anxiety levels in the first place. Seek out and practise relaxation techniques, take daily exercise, change to a healthy diet, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, avoid alcohol and caffeine, etc.

But, however good the above home remedies are, they cannot control your 'fear' of having another attack. This fear can be either conscious or unconscious but it will be there because the symptoms of your last attack were just so terrifying. This fear, itself, can actually trigger a powerful attack. So you must work to overcome it.

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Sufferers are increasingly looking for natural ways on how to stop their panic attacks. There are several reasons for this, but one of the main ones, is that the normal drugs dispensed to control anxiety and panic attacks have some horrible side effects, including dependency issues.

There are herbal and other such home remedies of course, but here you'll discover 3 simple steps you can take to help stop panic attacks or, at the very least, reduce their intensity and length.

The initial step is to understand that panic attacks cannot harm you. You actually need to do this because during an attack your fear of some impending doom just makes the symptoms more severe and the attack last longer.

The second step is to control your breathing. What to avoid here are taking shallow, short, fast breaths. You need to take control by regularizing your breathing; slow, rhythmical breathing, in through your nose and out of the mouth.

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The last step will be to concentrate on external issues and things rather than your symptoms. This is really important because by analysing your symptoms, you get into a vicious cycle that will prolong your attack and even make your symptoms seem worse.

Now, a key issue, not included above because of its complexity, is how to eliminate your conscious or subconscious fear of panic attacks. This is a very real fear that arises because of the terrifying effects of their symptoms. The problem is that this fear itself can trigger an attack. Which then increases your fear of another, and so on.

To truly be able to stop panic attacks, you need to break-out of your vicious anxiety cycle. Understanding, as you now do, that these attacks cannot harm you, is a huge step in achieving this. But it isn't enough. You now need a knowledge of special techniques etc., to help you reach your goal of getting your life back.

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There is help for panic attacks. Of course, one form of help for panic attacks comes from the medical community. When a person is under a doctor's care, he/she can make great strides toward overcoming it. However, a doctor can't always be present and medication isn't always totally effective. So, what can one do to help defeat panic attacks? In this article, we will tell you how to turn panic against itself!

Panic's main strength is the fact the person suffering panic attacks is in a state of mind where his/her nerves are frazzled. A person suffering a lot of anxiety has nerves that are very sensitized and fire off for any reason. It is almost as if the nerves are so on edge, they are waiting for something to set them off. Even a coin hitting the floor is enough to make a person with sensitized nerves jump out of his or her shoes.

Timidly Looking For Panic

This nerve sensitization comes about because of a person's fear of panic attacks. No one wants to experience a panic because they are horrible. So, the sensitized person becomes even more sensitized by constantly being on the alert for any signs of panic. Panic comes inevitably to people who have great concerns about it.

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Yes, panic itself is scary; however, it has no real power and cannot be effective unless we are afraid of it. In other words, we supply the fear panic preys upon. If we did not supply fear, the panic could not be effective. A case in point would be, people who are not nervous or anxious do not suffer panic attacks. These attacks only afflict those who are very nervous or are suffering from anxiety.

Boldly Seek Out Panic

Though this is a somewhat difficult tactic to master, the way to winning freedom over panic is to take the attitude that from this day forward, you will always welcome all degrees of panic wholeheartedly. When you accept the fact panic may just well come on at any time, but that's perfectly all right with you, the panic cannot have any power whatsoever. Remember, you're the one who supplies the fear that panic uses as its fuel. If you do not give it the fear it needs to survive, it will quickly die.

Think about this and convince yourself of its truth: fear rolls out the red carpet for panic. Indifference will in slam the door on it because it will have no way to enter into your life without you supplying the fear it needs to survive. When you seek out panic and invite panic into your life, you will find panic attacks will become less and less severe and eventually they will disappear altogether.

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