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How To Stop Anxiety Attacks At Night

Complications Of Panic Disorder

Calming Evening Routine For Anxiety And Stress Relief – How To Stop Anxiety At Night

Panic disorder is treatable and you can make a full recovery. But it’s best to get medical help as soon as you can.

If you do not get medical help, panic disorder can escalate and become very difficult to cope with.

You’re more at risk of developing other mental health conditions, such as agoraphobia or other phobias, or an alcohol or drug problem.

Having panic disorder may affect your ability to drive. The law requires you to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency about a medical condition that could impact your driving ability.

Visit GOV.UK for further information about driving with a disability or health condition.

Listen To Good Mood Music

Music can have a powerful effect on your mood and on anxiety. They key however is to not just choose songs you like. but also make sure that you are listening to music that represents the way you want to feel. Happy or relaxing music can directly impact your mood and the way you feel.

While many people find it soothing to listen to angry music when theyâre angry or sad music when theyâre sad, the truth is that this type of music will only help you get in touch with those negative emotions. That won’t help you feel better. When you’re trying to stop anxiety, you should listen to music that will help you feel the way you want to feel.

Visualize The Good Things In Your Life

The power of your imagination can help get you to a place of ease when youre fretting.

Visualization of positive events and relationships in your life will help you increase your connection to positive emotions that are also lying around within you, but you have to work at accessing them when the anxious feelings or thoughts have already shown up, says Cummins.

Calming your body is integral to calming your mind.

Joy Rains, a certified life coach and the author of “Meditation Illuminated: Simple Ways to Manage Your Busy Mind”, recommends a progressive relaxation exercise you can do in bed.

Recommended Reading: How To Stop Having Health Anxiety

What Causes Panic Attacks At Night

Although its not known for certain what causes nocturnal panic attacks, some factors may increase the risk of experiencing them:ii

  • Chronic stress

  • Dwelling on anxious thoughts before bed

  • Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Genetics sometimes having a close relative who experiences panic attacks can increase your risk of developing them

  • Managing chronic illness such as cancer, for instance

  • Alcohol or medication withdrawal

  • Life changes e.g. bereavement, losing a job, or moving house

  • Consuming stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine

  • Worrying about the state of the world politically, socially, or environmentally

How To Get Rid Of Anxiety So You Can Sleep Better

Cure for panic attacks at night

If youre struggling to fall asleep due to anxiety, it could be that treating the anxiety will help solve your insomnia and lack of sleep as well. Anxiety disorders should only be diagnosed by a licensed therapist or medical professional, and these professionals can also help you find treatment regimens as well as, potentially, medications to control the condition. You should not try to self-medicate for anxiety disorders, and should only medicate per the medical advice and supervision of a psychiatrist.


One of the most common and effective treatments for anxiety disorders is continued and guided therapy with a professional counselor or therapist.

The branch of therapy known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be effective for many people, as it helps patients suffering from anxiety disorders create new, positive thought pathways that can help when in anxious situations. There are three different types of CBT, each with an individualized approach in treatment, including interpersonal therapy, thought records, and modern exposure therapy.

Another form of therapy is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, also known as ACT. This form of therapy is more focused on mindfulness training and taking action based on personal values, and is unique in that it is not focused on symptom reduction.


Shifting Your Perspective

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Tips To Prevent Panic Attacks At Night

Experiencing a panic attack at night may make you worry about having another, causing a vicious circle, and leading to insomnia. There are a number of things you can do to try and avoid this becoming a frequent problem, and ensure that youre getting a good nights sleep:

Give yourself enough time to get the sleep you need

On average, adults need eight to nine hours sleep each night to feel rested and refreshed. Therefore, its important to make sure you go to bed at least eight hours before you need to get up so youre giving yourself enough time to have a good nights sleep. Going to bed too late and not leaving enough time for sleep may result in you constantly checking the clock and worrying that youre not going to feel rested the next day. These negative thought processes can fuel anxiety, and potentially spiral into a panic attack.

Prepare yourself for the following day

Many people struggle to get to sleep because they are anxious about the following day. You can try to reduce this anxiety by making sure that you have everything prepared. For example, you could have a to-do list, or even have your clothes laid out.

Establish a consistent sleep routine

Limit caffeine, sugar and alcohol before bed

Avoid electronic devices late at night

How To Prevent Nocturnal Panic Attacks

The bad news is that there is no single magic cure to stop nocturnal panic attacks from happening. The good news is that there are some treatment methods you could try to alleviate them. If you have a nocturnal panic attack just once, it can be traumatic, and you may be so anxious about having another one that it can keep you from getting a good nights sleep. When you dont get enough sleep over a long period of time, it can have a wide-ranging negative impact, including increased risk of obesity and disease, lack of ability to focus and concentrate during the day, mood swings and a dysfunctional immune system, among other problems. So it is important to take immediate action if you experience a nocturnal panic attack and get the treatment you need.

If you have particularly difficult physical symptoms during a panic attack, it can be worth a visit to your physician. While those symptoms usually go away when the panic attack does, it may be worthwhile to rule out any other health issues. Your physician will probably want to talk about your family health history and run some tests, depending on what your symptoms are.

But to work on the panic attacks or panic disorder, you want to seek treatment from a qualified facility experienced with this condition. The staff there can develop an individualized treatment plan that is simple enough for you to followif its too complicated, you may not want to stick to the program, which could put you at risk for panic attacks.

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Dont Go To Bed Hungry Or After A Big Meal

If youve already read our article on how to diet for anxiety relief, you know the food we eat plays a massive role on our anxiety levels. In addition to making sure youre eating a diet optimized for mental health, its also important to keep your eating habits in mind before bed.

Going to bed too hungry, or just after eating a large meal, can both be causes of nocturnal panic attacks. If were too hungry, our blood sugar levels can drop, causing our body to release epinephrine that can make us feel anxious. If weve just eaten a large meal before bed, we can experience indigestion and gastrointestinal discomfort which can also cause anxiety at night after all, the gut is often regarded as our second brain.

In my own experience, Ive noticed that overeating before bed will absolutely ruin my sleep. Ive gotten in from red eye flights late enough to make it to the hotels continental breakfast at 6am. After stuffing my face at the buffet and trying to sleep immediately afterward, I definitely realized what a mistake that is. Trying to sleep on a full, or upset stomach, can cause sleep anxiety similar to the way that caffeine or alcohol does. This is probably made worse by eating something youre allergic to like someone who is lactose intolerance eating cheese before bed.

Id give yourself at least an hour between eating and sleeping. I like to brush my teeth after my last meal to discourage myself from sneaking any midnight snacks.

What Triggers Night Anxiety

Panic Attack In The Night – How To Stop Them? [With This 1 SUPER Simple Method].

Its dark and everything seems tragic when its dark.

Then you worry about not getting enough sleep again and the cycle continues until its 5 AM and youve slept only 2 hours the entire night.

You may also experience hideous dreams that make no sense at all. You wake up feeling awful. You just know that youre going to be a wreck again tomorrow.

A surefire way to ruin your entire day too, right?

Why? What keeps triggering these night anxiety attacks especially when youre in bed at night?

The relative isolation, quiet, and absence of distractions are probably the most important factors here.

During the day, we can use a variety of strategies to modulate these concerns, including taking direct action to address them.

Lying in bed in a dark room, they become overwhelming and inescapable.

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Can Nighttime Panic Attacks Be Prevented

According to Dr. Bea, one of the characteristics of true panic is that it occurs spontaneously like a bolt of lightning across a blue sky. While we cant prevent sleep panic attacks, he says that we can develop more effective mechanisms for coping with the stressors in our lives.

You might increase exercise or start a mindfulness practice. Overall, it doesnt hurt to actively develop coping strategies. However, understand that doing these things may or may not influence the experience of a nighttime panic attack.

Whats another thing you can do to lessen the intensity of a sleep panic attack? Normalize the experience.

Dr. Bea explains.

These experiences feel threatening and dangerous. You fear the worst when your hearts racing, youre short of breath, youre trembling and you have a sense of impending doom or feel like youre losing control, he says.

As frightening as the experience is, its safe. Of course, when we have a catastrophic thought or appraisal of the event, it tends to drive more panic it gets our body aroused. Learn to normalize that experience, to notice the sensations but dont try to fix them.

Dr. Bea compares it to being in quicksand.

After a sleep panic attack, youre not going to recover quickly and go right back to sleep. Dr. Bea recommends getting up and going into another room to do a relaxing activity . No catching up on work or paying bills. Do something that will help you calm down until youre able to go back to sleep.

Stopping Panic: What To Do When Youre Having A Panic Attack

Here, some strategies that have worked for others that may help you:

  • Just breath, deeply. Relaxing your body can help sidestep a panic attack. Practice breathing in through your nose for a count of five, hold it for five, and then breathe out through your mouth for a count of five. Or take a class in meditation and breathing techniques.
  • Count backward. If you suddenly feel your heart pounding or experience other physical clues that a panic attack is barreling for you, try this distraction suggested by Rob Cole, LHMC, clinical director of mental health services at Banyan Treatment Centers. Start counting backward from 100 by 3s. The act of counting at random intervals helps you to focus and override the anxious thoughts that are trying to sneak into your psyche. Better still keep loose change in your pocket. Add a dime to a nickel, then add two pennies, and so on. By controlling your thoughts and focusing on something outside yourself you will being to feel calmer.
  • Get grounded. Grounding yourself is another helpful technique. Tune yourself into 4 things around you that you can see, 3 things you can touch, 2 that you smell and 1 you can taste. Again, forcing your mind to consider something outside yourself helps, says Cole.
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    What Causes Heightened Anxiety At Night

    Nocturnal stress is caused by the same triggers as during the day. However, the combination of nervousness and trouble sleeping can mimic other conditions which can make you think that it’s something else. If you’re concerned that mental health is impacting your sleep, continue reading this article to learn more and reach out to BetterHelp to work one-on-one with a qualified sleep therapist.

    Phobias And Irrational Fears

    Panic Attacks at Night: Causes and Solutions

    A phobia is an unrealistic or exaggerated fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that in reality presents little to no danger. Common phobias include fear of animals , fear of flying, and fear of needles. In the case of a severe phobia, you might go to extreme lengths to avoid the object of your fear. Unfortunately, avoidance only strengthens the phobia.

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    Get Up Stand Up Wake Up

    If you’ve just been awakened by a nocturnal panic attack, the chances of your quickly falling asleep again are pretty low. If you want, give yourself a minute to see if you’re lucky enough for that to occur, but I wouldn’t wait any longer than that. The longer you lie there and wonder, the more panic and frustration you’ll probably experience.

    So I suggest you get up and out of bed. Fully wake yourself. Splash some water on your face, have a drink of water, check on the dog, cat, or parakeet. Do a few ordinary things to help yourself wake up. A nocturnal panic attack is not the same thing as a nightmare, but you can treat it like one.

    Don’t turn on the TV, start reading, or try other things in an effort to fall right back asleep. A lot of people try to distract themselves from a nocturnal attack, but I don’t put much stock in this, because distraction works best when it’s spontaneous. With a nocturnal panic attack, you’re liable to try too hard to distract yourself, and get into a struggle with your thoughts. If distraction is going to help, it should help right away. Give it a minute, at most.

    The Link Between Anxiety Symptoms And Depression

    Many people with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression at some point. Anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological vulnerability, which may explain why they so often go hand-in-hand. Since depression makes anxiety worse , its important to seek treatment for both conditions.

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