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Feeling Weird "Hot Flashes" at Night

so this might be a strange thread, but it’s been stressing me out for a while so i’m hoping that someone has had a similar experience to share because i had no luck in looking for help so far.

so, a tiny bit of background. a couple of years ago, i developed sleep-related anxiety. some of you might remember seeing posts of mine about the topic. there’s even an infamous thread from two summers ago that brought lots of you to make fun of me at the time. admittedly, it was pretty hilarious, but it stemmed from something that was really bothering me at the time.

either way, i have gotten used to that anxiety and, although it’s pretty annoying at times, i got it mostly under control (partly with the help of meds, although i would guess that by now that’s mostly placebo effect).

however, what’s really weird is a physical feeling i get from time to time when i’m particularly anxious, and for the past couple of weeks i’ve basically been getting it every night.

i have been calling it “hot flashes” because i couldn’t find a better word for it, but basically what happens is i get really hot, even when the temperature is freezing cold. i start to feel heat propagating from the bed under my body, from the bed sheets over me. i just get very, very hot. it gets to the point that i need to take my shirt off, take my covers off, and open the window. even then, i still feel burning hot but eventually, after one hour on average, sometimes up to three, my mind eventually drifts off and i fall asleep.

then in the morning, i wake up freezing, have to rush to the window to close it, and i need to put a buttload of clothes on and end up feeling cold for the first half of the day. as a result, i often get sick to the stomach, a headache, a sore throat, and stuff like that in the morning. it sucks to wake up feeling like an ice cube, but it sucks even more to feel like i’m on fire at night so i choose the least sucky option.

another thing that happens often once i’ve gotten shirtless and opened the window is that i’ll get really cold but, as soon as i cover myself up even the tiniest bit, the feeling of heat comes back.

this is really weird and, aside from conjecturing that it’s something that stems from my psychological state at night (i.e. anxious and borderline insomniac at times), i haven’t been able to track this down to a concrete reason and, possibly, a solution.

has any of you ever experienced this weird phenomenon?

Elton John started that way after marrying Renate. I believe Freddy Mercury had similar symptoms. Good luck Samul

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Protein heavy meals, even a couple of hours before bed turn me into a furnace.

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Hi Samul,

I hope you and your family are OK, my thoughts are with you in this crazy time. I’ve appreciated your input and comments in the various thread of the last few weeks.

I get a similar thing to you, so though I’m a vary heavy sleeper, so usually I wake up in the middle of it, feeling like I’m on fire and sweat dripping off me… Whilst I don’t know what causes it, a few things that trigger it for me are excess caffeine, excess alcohol, heavily processed foods…
I’m assuming mine is diet related. If I eat bland, home cooked foods, which I do 75% of the time, I don’t seem to be affected as much.
As an interesting point though, I have two sons, 8 and 6. My 6 year old gets the same thing, and obviously he has zero caffeine or alcohol??
I also in the past have been affected by pretty bad depression, but that doesn’t seem to change my situation.
Sorry I can be more helpful, but something to think about…

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Thank You! I’m glad to hear this.

I’m out of luck, because I don’t consume a lot of caffeine or processed foods and I drink no alcohol at all… Also in response to this

I don’t think this is diet related. I’m pretty much sure of it. This triggers exactly when I know I’m going to try to sleep. I usually lay in bed for a couple of hours at night before I shut the lights and my phone off, and this thing beings as soon as I set my mind on going to sleep.

You just reminded me of an interesting memory from my childhood (my parents told me about this, I was too little to remember). Basically at night my dad used to sit with me and play video games on his computer, and I remember that my parents told me that they noticed my face turned really red from the excitement of playing, and my doctor advised they took my temperature.

Turns out I used to get so excited I’d actually get a fever! It’d wear off once I’d go to sleep, but that proves how much my state of mind has always influenced my temperature. Maybe, if I were able to go back in time and ask my kid-self how he was feeling at the moment, he’d tell me about these hot flashes too…

So bottom line is, I believe this is a psychological thing. I have suspected this for a while, but it’s such a weird phenomenon that nobody has yet been able to tell for sure if they’ve seen or experienced anything similar and caused by similar factors.

I also have had a similar experience, many times. I’m not sure what causes it, and it happens the same way as @aussietim described it. Wake up extremely hot and covered in sweat, head to toe. I take off the covers, and wake up in the morning freezing cold.

Have you noticed anything going on with anxiety such as raised heart rate or heart pounding harder than usual? Back in high school I would wake up 4-6 times a night for about an hour feeling like my heart was going to jump out of my chest. Once I got anxiety and depression under control the waking up feeling like I was dying started fading.

Just read your last post- could it be the anticipation of trying to sleep and knowing this is going to happen in addition to any added stressors?

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And by any added stressors I mean all of the added stressors currently… Rough time out there.

Does your heart rate increase?

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Yes, thank you, I forgot to mention that in my original post. It’s something that used to happen more often, and now only really occurs only when the time I spend not being able to sleep becomes very long, like 2-3 hours (which happens maybe once every 15-20 days), and I start watching the clock and thinking about how I’m gonna get less and less sleep.

My heart starts pounding harder and harder. The first few times this happened, a couple of years ago, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I went through a period in which having a rough night would affect my mood for the next day (I’ve now embraced this and manage to prevent it from affecting the next day almost completely) and I found myself having sudden rushes in which my heart would start beating faster and faster, and this would only happen after a night of having problems falling asleep.

This most likely has to do with it. Not the added stressors, as like I recently said in a thread this situation weirdly isn’t stressing me out that much, at least not in a way I can consciously recognize. But anticipation of trying to sleep and not succeeding is most likely what screws me up. It’s a self-feeding loop.

I worry about sleep, I try to sleep, I can’t, I worry even more. Then the heat flashes ensue.

This is mostly annoying because night-time should be the ultimate relax time. But I can’t really relax if as soon as I lay down and try to sleep my body feels like a furnace and all of a sudden the physical tiredness that, in some cases, I felt the whole day magically disappears and I feel like I could get up and run a marathon.

However, part of this isn’t uncommon. I read that a lot of people that deal with insomnia suddenly feel very awake as soon as they try to sleep, even if they were tired. What I really haven’t read about is those people having to sleep in a summer-like set up when the weather is icy cold.

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I have had times when I lay down to sleep and my heart starts trying to jump out of my chest and I get hot flashes.

I read somewhere once while googling it that sleep will trigger your fight or flight response and that’s what causes it. Maybe try researching from that end.

Definitely sounds like anxiety to me. Same exact thing that used to happen to me.

It’s very possible it is disguising itself as another stressor. You think one thing is the issue but deep down it is something connected, but not recognizable, at least that’s what has happened to me.

In my unprofessional opinion, it sounds like a chain of events that leads to this… stressors turn into anxiety… you’re tired so you try to sleep. Anxiety creeps in, heart races, body temp rises, can’t sleep. Anxiety creeps in…

Again, I am not a professional but in my opinion I believe you need to find a way to calm down at night. Block out the stress and anxiety somehow and I think you’ll find it will help with the sleep issues.

Another option, and i apologize if you talked about this (I only skimmed the thread) but could the problem be your thyroid? It may be creating too little thyroid then bursts of too much. This is common when the thyroid fails. Your hot flashes an pounding heart reminded me of people I’ve known whose thyroids are wonky. I know this isn’t a good time for medical evaluations in Italy, but when you’re able, you may want to get your thyroid tested.

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It actually could. One of my aunts has had thyroid problems for her all life, and my mom was tested a year ago and, while functionally it was alright, they found several benign cysts (I don’t think it’s the right word here) in her thyroid.

When I went to a psychiatrist to get a prescription for meds for sleeping (I’ll expand more on this later) and I told her about these hot flashes, she asked me if I had checked my thyroid.

I quickly dismissed it as I thought, and I still do, that it had to do with my brain more than with any other organ.

The thing is, it appears as though this is so much related to my state of mind, that I cannot bring myself to believe it may be caused by anything else.

It’s a silly analogy, but it almost feels like “a superpower that I can’t control.” You ever watched one of those movies? I anticipate the feeling, I can feel it start kicking in, and I feel like it was me who somehow turned it on (maybe due to my anxiety, like we said), but then it’s beyond me.

But yeah you have a good point, as soon as this is over and I can safely enter a hospital, I’ll get my thyroid checked out.

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I believe the pituitary gland controls the thyroid, and the pituitary is located in the brain. It releases TSH, Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone, which tell the thyroid to release its own hormone. It doesn’t seem far-fetched to me that you can feel hormones being released; runners describe the runner’s high, lifters anticipate the dopamine drop, and so forth.

When you do get tested, you’ll want a full panel. Here, doctors only test one or two hormones, but those alone are inconclusive and misleading. I’ll ask around for a complete list of which hormones you need to have tested.

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Thank you!

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Can confirm. I had the same symptoms like @samul a decade or so ago.

I’d wake up at exactly 3 am, heart racing and the sweat would be pouring down in a continuous stream all over. Felt like my body was on fire. Had to take multiple cold showers to somehow reduce the burning sensation.

Lasted for about a month, then disappeared completely after I’ve dealt with the underlying stressors that were causing anxiety.

That can be lots of things, mostly harmless, but includes lots of serious things, including heart failure and Afib.

If I drink (any amount, even one lite beer) more than two days in a row, I’d get tachycardia (the fast heart rate you notice) and even AFib when I lay down. I’ll get it so bad that things like walking across a parking lot after a long drive will cause me to almost black out (after which I was fine and could go run 5 miles) Hence, I seldom drink now and it’s completely gone away. Too fit otherwise to be getting myself a pacemaker. (It’s called “Holiday Heart” BTW, and apparently is a major problem in England.) Red wine is a particular offender for most people.

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I have 100% the same problem as you. I have a thyroid disease and always attributed that to it. It got a lot worse when I was overmedicating my thyroid.

My thyroid levels are pretty much perfect now, and it went away… until I started TRT, now it’s back, but I just live with it.

Hey man, I skimmed a lot of the responses so apologies in advance if I repeat anything that’s already been said. I’ve suffered my entire life from the exact same thing you’re talking about, and have been able to get it under decent control within the last year or so.

The biggest thing is learning to be OK with less than 8 hours of sleep. I can function on 5-6 just fine, definitely better with 7-8 but 5-6 will work. If I lay down 8 hours before I need to wake up and don’t feel tired, I get up and do something to occupy my mind until I’m tired enough to sleep.

I also shifted training to the mornings. Even training in the afternoon would spike my CNS enough to fuck with my sleep. By shifting the stress of training to the morning, when stress hormones are already high, it matches better with my circadian rhythm and I’m actually tired at night.

Some supplements help - mainly melatonin and passionflower. I do chamomile tea with honey and add roughly 500mg of passionflower powder, sometimes more if I’m feeling wired or anxious. Using the above two strategies I probably only have to do this once a week or so.

Another thing that helps is to do everything you need to do before you go to bed. Don’t leave packing your lunch or anything mundane for the morning, get it all done at night so that you know you can wake up and just get moving.

I know nothing I’ve said is groundbreaking, but I hope some bit of it helps. Good luck man.

I drink very seldom (just not my thang).
I have Graves disease (hyperthyroidism) so I am pretty sure the anxiety related to that causes my particular problem.

I live in a state of tachycardia most days…lol I was just trying not to get on my soapbox about thyroid issues. I have had thyroid storms where I thought I was going to die, felt like I was going to spontaneously combust. Luckily I have gotten it somewhat under control without meds, because the same doctor that wouldn’t prescribe any, is our county’s Health official about Covid 19.

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