NIGHTMARES .. An impossible conundrum

My nightmares are becoming a lot more frequent & extreme in nature. I used to be a light sleeper but now I toss & turn. My sleep is always disturbed. This makes the fatigue I suffer from even worse.

I am on the following medication …

Sinemet 6 pills a day for Parkinson’s Disease
Amitriptyline 1 pill a day for Neuropathy,
Bisoprolol 1 pill a day is a Beta Blocker for my A Fib heart condition
Apixaban 2 pills a day is a blood thinner as I have a high risk of having a Stroke
Ramipril 1 pill a day for my high blood pressure

Common side effects …
Sinemet … problem sleeping & excessive peeing at night. can cause nightmares
Amitriptyline … feeling sleepy / tired. can cause nightmares
Bisoprolol … feeling dizzy / weak, causes nightmares
Apixaban … tiredness / lack of energy can cause nightmares

Last week I emailed my Parkinson’s nurse to say that my nightmares are becoming more frequent. My nightmares are of the most extreme variety. I can’t go on like this.
4 of the 5 medications I take can cause nightmares.

So my Parkinson’s nurse has asked my GP to prescribe Quetiapine.
Side effects of this drug are feeling sleepy. Felling dizzy & a fast heart beat. Clearly this drug is dodgy for me as I am being treated for Atrial Fibrillation & have leaky heart valves.

I am confused to know what I should do.


Wow, Steve2, I wish I could say something, anything to help, but this is way out of my bailiwick.
I do see that all your medications have the side effect of nightmares, is there not anything else you could take that may ameliorate this?

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Good afternoon Clive5 … Thanks for your comment. One thing I might not have mentioned is that when I was in hospital in October 2023 I was prescribed
14 sleeping pills. I’d forgotten I had them in my medicine pill box. I took one on Tuesday & one on Wednesday evening [now have 10 left] & slept really well without nightmares.

As I said I saw an excellent GP on Friday. He was also at a loss as what to do. This is following my heart Ultrasound on Wednesday showing I had leaky heart valves.

He has asked for an urgent Ultrasound report on their findings, which I suspect were mild to medium. There are 3 levels. The serious level is where they have to operate.
I don’t think I am anywhere near that.

Obviously the A Fib attack in October 2023 was serious & the warning that my heart wasn’t working as it should. The medication I take has worked but might be causing the nightmare & mobility problems I have.

When our hearts have leaky valves the heart has to work harder & this also causes fatigue.

The GP I saw on Friday has arranged for me to see the Head GP at the practice I go to this coming Thursday.

Saturday evening I had another A Fib episode. My heart was beating so loudly that it woke me up. I also got up & took a reading, it was 100 bpm which is at the top end of normal for my age. In an hour my heart was back to its recent normal of 60bpm.

Best wishes

Hi Steve2,

It really great that you found a GP that understands and can help.
Also that you found the sleeping pills.
I take it that the 100 bpm was diastolic, which is very high.
What was the systolic?

Hello CliveV …

What is a good heart rate for a 70 year old man?

How Seniors Should Measure Their Resting Heart Rate. A healthy resting heart rate for an adult is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. For a senior, the average resting heart rate should be at least 70 bpm or lower.

You are thinking of my blood pressure which is around 130/88. I do take BP pills.

My GP’s are not prepared to prescribe me Sleeping Pills at the moment.

So my Saturday heart rate of 100 beats per minute [bpm] was on the higher end.

In October 2023 & had my first ever A Fib attack my BPM reached 170 & was erratic. A normal reading, taking a rate every second or so might go
60, 60, 59, 60, 61. My BPM on that day went something like [reading every second] 170, 150, 140, 160 etc

As I’m sure you know when you are admitted into hospital you get wired up to a machine that monitors you … The machine’s alarm was going off all the time & they had to turn the alarm off.

But I was given the beta blockers & blood thinners I am still on & my heart rate dropped to around 45 bpm. My heart was so quiet that I could not hear my heart beating. Now that is weird. I was released at 6pm the next day & I did not see a Cardio consultant.

Best wishes

Thanks Steve2,

As you said that is weird.
I’m 69 and my resting bps is about 84/127.
When I exercise the systolic can go up to about 150.
I am on statins and bp tablets which I only take about 3 times a week much to the annoyance and chagrin of my GP, who feels I should take them every day.
I do take my bp every second day, and if I feel I need to take an additional tablet I do.
My exercise does keep me fit and does mitigate the PD symptoms a lot.
I usually go to gym 2-3 times a week and cycle 2-3 times.

During Covid, I was monitoring my heart rate and noticed it seemed high to me… 95 or 100 bpm. I got referred to the hospital and they did tests and checked it out and the doctor said that some people run naturally higher heart rates and some lower and she said I seem to have a naturally higher one… she said herself she runs at about 110bpm. So i found that reassuring.

Good morning mscoachbeth … Not long after I came out of hospital after the A Fib attack I was called into my GP’s to see a nurse who did an ECG of my heart. When she finished she looked at the results & asked me to wait while she spoke to a GP. She came back 5 minutes later saying everything was fine but she just wanted to check. My heart rate was 43 bpm. It is 60 bpm now which is fine.

Best wishes