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Obviously, anxiety is no fun any time of the day. But there’s something different about the moment you turn off the lights and try to sleep. Nighttime anxiety is another level of stress. Your thoughts shift into high gear and, before you know it, you’re sweating and trembling with your stomach in a knot. It could be past regrets or worries about the future (or both), but you can’t seem to think about anything relaxing or positive.

You may take some solace in knowing that this problem is not rare. You will definitely find relief in knowing that effective solutions are available.

Why is Anxiety Worse at Night?

Of course, every person’s situation is different and contains some unique factors. However, there are some common causes that can be identified, e.g. stress. Obvious, sure, but it warrants a closer look. Whatever is happening in your life — or has happened in the past — has the potential to surface as anxiety. But why at night?

Well, for starters, things are usually quieter, darker, and less busy in the evening. Thus, with fewer distractions, it can be trickier to ignore the thoughts that took a backseat all day. Also, you’re likely to be more tired at night. Lower general energy translates into a decreased ability to ward off anxiety triggers. This can kick off a cycle. Nighttime anxiety results in lost sleep. Less sleep makes one more vulnerable to stress the next day and therefore, more nighttime anxiety after that.

Other Possible Causes of Nighttime Anxiety

  • Digestive Issues: Gut problems can cause inflammation which, in turn, throws off the brain chemistry that regulates your moods.
  • Hormone Imbalances: Particularly for women, an imbalance of hormones can spark the body’s fight-or-flight response.
  • Genetic Factors: Unfortunately, some folks are genetically more susceptible to anxiety — day or night.
  • Medication Side Effects: From antihistamines to caffeine, some substances increase your chances of experiencing anxiety after dark.

woman laying in bed readingHow to Decrease Bedtime Anxiety

The first and most effective step is to put a nightly bedtime ritual into place. Some of the elements to consider are:

Power Down Devices

Long before it is light’s out, step away from your tech devices. This goes triple for social media. The notifications, fear of missing out, and social pressure are negative throughout the day. At night, their stimulating properties are antithetical to calm sleep.

Engage in Activities That Set You Up for Successful Sleep

For example:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Journaling
  • Warm bath
  • Mellow music
  • Mindful meditation
  • Don’t drink too many liquids because they may have you getting up to use the bathroom.
  • Avoid alcohol, sugar, and caffeine
  • Stop eating at least one hour before bedtime (preferably two hours before.)

Of course, you can refine these rituals based on your personal style. But, whatever they are, make them non-negotiable.

Occupy Your Mind

Find pre-sleep activities that prevent your mind from drifting into the realm of rumination. Options like reading or doing crossword puzzles have a stellar track record for these purposes.

Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment

Get the odds in your favor by adjusting temperature, light/dark, noise, and more. Turn your bedroom into a peaceful sanctuary.

Anxiety is a Diagnosable Mental Health Condition

Regardless of when it strikes, anxiety is not something to be taken lightly. In fact, it’s the most common mental health issue on the planet. So, if you find nighttime anxiety is reducing your quality of life, ask for help. Working with a therapist is a proven path toward healing and recovery. You’ll discover underlying causes, counterproductive patterns, and new approaches.

You do not have to struggle with anxiety at night. Let’s connect soon so you can learn more about the benefits of anxiety treatment.

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