What causes panic attacks at night?

Panic. One theory is that late in the day when you are less physically active while your brain is still producing adrenaline (anxiety chemical), you can be more prone to get anxious, plus it coincides with the time when people normally are thinking about the events of the day instead of distracting themselves with physical activity.
Physical causes. What comes to mind is a problem with shortness of breath associated with lying flat on one's back. If you try propping up your head on several pillows, and your "spells" improve, this is likely the problem. You should see a physician for further evaluation for something called orthopnea.

Related Questions

What causes panic attacks? Last night I awoke in middle of night and felt like I was passing out. Took Tylenol (acetaminophen) and water and was able to get to sleep.

Panic attacks. Panic attacks are usually the result of anxiety,stress and tension welling up in your system but are less common in the middle of sleeping. Were you dreaming at the time? If these episodes occur repeatedly your physician could arrange for stress management and/or an evaluation by a psychiatrist if necessary. Read more...
Panic attacks. In many cases, panic attacks strike without any warning. Often, there is no clear reason for the attack. They may even occur when you’re relaxed or asleep.A panic attack may be a one-time occurrence, but many people experience repeat episodes. Recurrent panic attacks are often triggered by a specific situation, such as speaking in public,especially if that situation has caused a panic before. Read more...