Panic attack during sleep or nocturnal panic attack is characterized by extreme feelings of terror and sudden awakening from sleep. Nocturnal panic attack is somewhat different with night terrors, since a person who had night terrors usually can’t remember what happened in the morning, while nocturnal panic attacks are usually remembered. Nocturnal panic attack, according to the Internet Journal of Neurology, usually happens when a person is in transition from the 2nd stage of sleep to the 3rd stage of sleep. Panic attacks may not only happen during sleep, it can also happen anytime of the day. Nocturnal panic attacks may be secondary to other medical conditions, such as sleep disorders, seizure disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, and many more.
Respiratory Symptoms of Nocturnal Panic Attack
Nocturnal Panic Attack
The most common symptoms of panic attacks are respiratory symptoms, hyperventilation (rapid breathing) and difficulty breathing. Respiratory symptoms always come together with tachycardia (increased heart rate). A person may suddenly wake up with a feeling of suffocating. As both respiratory symptoms and tachycardia happen, it can possibly cause numbness and tingling sensations in the hands and feet. And to some people, they may feel a discomfort in their chest. In fact, there are people who think that an episode of nocturnal panic attack is a heart attack or stroke.
Sweating as a Symptom of Nocturnal Panic Attack
Profuse sweating is also one of the most common symptoms of a nocturnal panic attack. Profuse sweating is usually accompanied by changes in body temperature, which can cause hot flashes or sometimes the skin can feel clammy. Flushing of the face is also common in a nocturnal panic attack and usually happens together with profuse sweating.
Extreme Feeling of Terror as a Symptom of Nocturnal Panic Attack
Any type of panic attacks is characterized by extreme feeling of terror or intense feeling of fear. Similar to panic attacks during the day, nocturnal panic attacks usually have irrational cause. A person suddenly wakes up in the middle of the night, feeling extremely scared. Extreme feeling of terror in nocturnal panic attack usually lasts for 20 minutes. Physical symptoms of nocturnal panic attack can trigger fear to a person, which can aggravate feelings of terror. In fact, fears of getting another nocturnal panic attack can possibly cause another attack. Nocturnal panic attacks are not commonly associated with nightmares, since this type of panic attack usually occurs during the early stages of sleep.