Objective. The purpose of this study was to assess the relation between the time of awakening and the time of onset of acute myocardial infarction.Background. Previous investigation has shown the onset of symptoms of acute myocardial infraction to have a primary peak 1 to 2 h after awakening. In studies not corrected for time of awakening, there appears to be a late afternoon/early evening peak, but data correlating the onset of symptoms with awakening have been limited by small numbers of patients, perhaps precluding identification of a secondary peak.Methods. In the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial (CAST), 3,549 patients had a documented myocardial infarction and entered antiarrhythmic drug titration. Of these, 3,309 had data on the onset of symptoms relative to the time of awakening and form the basis of this report.Results. A total of 870 patients (26.3%) were awakened by symptoms. Of the remaining 2,439 patients who were not awakened by symptoms, 798 (32.7%) experienced the onset of symptoms in the 1st 4 h after awakening (with the highest number in the 1st h), after which the incidence of symptom onset decreased in a linear fashion, with a secondary peak 11 to 12 h after awakening. Both peaks are statistically significant. A similar pattern was seen in most of the subgroups examined (based on age, gender and various other demographic characteristics).Conclusions. Analysis of the very large CAST data base confirms the relation between awakening and onset of symptoms of myocardial infarction, suggesting involvement of the morning catecholamine surge. A secondary peak in symptom onset, occurring 11 to 12 h after awakening, is a new observation and may relate to ingestion of the evening meal or other trigger factors concentrated in those hours.