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Why Does Anxiety Get Worse At Night

Visualize The Good Things In Your Life

Why is anxiety worse at night or in the morning?

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 âMeditation Illuminated: Simple Ways to Manage Your Busy Mindâ, recommends a progressive relaxation exercise you can do in bed.

Why Do You Get Anxiety At Night

When you lie down at night to unwind, your brain turns to all of the worries it didnt have time for during the day. Frequently, this anxiety revolves around worries you cant solve in the moment.

All the things that have been put on the back burner come to the forefront of your head, Dr. Albers says. Without competing demands for your attention, these worries often get louder and more pronounced.

Chronic daytime stress puts your body into overdrive and taxes your hormones and adrenal system, which are directly linked to sleep so sleep troubles may be a red flag telling you to address stress during your waking hours.

Nighttime anxiety can trigger a vicious cycle: A bad nights sleep leads to exhaustion the next day and disrupts your bodys natural rhythms. This makes you more vulnerable to anxiety during the day that can bleed into the night, Dr. Albers says. And so the cycle repeats.

What Triggers Night Anxiety

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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Keep The Bedroom Chilled And Completely Dark

We may want to consider keeping our bedroom just a tad cooler than we like, and leaving any nightstand lights off.

Ensure your bedroom is quiet, comfortable, ventilated, dark and cool, says Elaine Slater, a psychologist and psychotherapeutic counselor. Even a small amount of light in your bedroom can disrupt the production of melatonin and overall sleep.

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If You Cant Sleep Get Up

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Insomnia is frustrating, but lying in bed and trying to get to sleep is only going to make you feel worse. If you canât get back to sleep within 20 minutes, get up.

âSome people get a sleep phobia where they get fixated on not being able to get to sleep, which can become a big anxiety worry,â Lidbetter says. âIf you canât go to sleep, get up and do something else. Reading can be therapeutic or you could practise mindfulness.

âAnxiety UK has a strong partnership with the Headspace people, which is a great app and something you can just practise which is relatively easy to do. It just sets the scene for a restful nightâs sleep because it calms down your sympathetic nervous system and puts you into relaxation mode.â

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How To Manage Anxiety At Bedtime

1. Shift the focus from the separation to their next connection with you.

Given that bedtime is a time of separation, tilt the focus to the next point of connection. Rather than focusing on the night, as in, Night my darling, have a good sleep, , shift their focus to when they will next see you. This can be done by finding rituals to tie bedtime to morning.

Invite them to choose a book at bedtime that you will read together in the morning.

Let them know that as they fall asleep, you will be writing down something they did today that you especially loved and that you will read this together in the morning.

Give them something of yours, and have them give something to you, then return them to each other in the morning. Smell is a really strong emotional trigger. If the smell is associated with safety, it will have an enormous capacity to trigger calm. Perhaps let them use your pillowcase for a while, or let them take your shirt to bed with them.

2. Rework the association bedtime is rest.

I know it feels scary for you in your own bed. I also know that you are completely safe there. I know that eventually you will be able to spend the whole night in your own bed, and that your room can feel cosy and safe and beautiful for you, but I know that isnt how it feels at the moment. Lets work towards that in little steps. Well do it together.

3. With you, then away, then back again.
4. And if bad dreams are causing trouble

Get Rid Of Your Clock

Clocks can be a common trigger for anxiety, especially when youre trying to fall asleep. Instead of having a clock by your bedside where you can glance at it every time you struggle to fall asleep keep a clock outside your room instead. Looking at the clock will only cause your anxiety to get worse, so avoid it altogether.

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Caffeine And Anxiety Make You Feel Jittery And Nervous

Caffeine is a stimulant and that can be bad news for someone with anxiety. Caffeine’s jittery effects on your body are similar to those of a frightening event. That’s because caffeine stimulates your fight or flight response, and research has shown that this can make anxiety worse and can even trigger an anxiety attack.

Other research suggests that while caffeine can increase alertness, attention, and cognitive function, overdoing it can increase anxiety, particularly in people with panic disorder and social anxiety disorder. And as with the symptoms of anxiety, one too many cups of joe may leave you feeling nervous and moody, and can keep you up at night.

Treatments For Nighttime Anxiety

Why Is My Anxiety Worse At Night?

While coping strategies like improving sleep hygiene and creating bedtime rituals may help, you might also find it helpful to work with a therapist, says Peterson.

Some people also find relief with anxiety medication, she adds. You can talk with your doctor to determine if medication is the right option.

However, treatment for anxiety depends on the individual. What works for you may be entirely different from what works for someone else.

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What Causes Anxiety Before Sleep

According to clinical psychologist Emily Knott, Anxiety before bedtime often takes the form of a phenomenon referred to in psychology as pre-sleep arousal.

Knott says that pre-sleep arousal may cause the body and nervous system to enter a state of heightened awareness that may take the form of problem-solving, thinking about your own thoughts, focusing on stimuli in the environment such as noise and light, and ruminating about the consequences of not being able to sleep.

While there hasnt been extensive research conducted on sleep and anxiety, there are a few reasons why your anxiety may be worse at night. Here are possible causes.

Do I Have Somniphobia

Physical symptoms of somniphobia often include: nausea or other stomach issues related to persistent anxiety around sleep. tightness in your chest and increased heart rate when thinking about sleep. sweating, chills, and hyperventilation or other trouble breathing when you think about sleeping.

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How To Get Rid Of Anxiety So You Can Sleep Better

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

Use A Weighted Blanket

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Weighted blankets are a type of heavy blanket that typically weighs between 5 and 30 pounds. Theyre known for producing calming effects by mimicking the feeling of a hug using deep pressure stimulation. Because weighted blankets can help increase serotonin and melatonin while decreasing cortisol, they have been shown to promote feelings of calmness and peacefulness.

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Can Anxiety Cause Weird Symptoms

Someone with anxiety may see the same person looking at them and worry that theyre being judged or that the person is dangerous. The exact same situation is processed differently. Similarly, anxiety can cause strange mental symptoms. It can cause anhedonia which is a total loss of the ability to feel pleasure.

How To Cope With A Panic Attack At Night

Waking up and discovering youre having a panic attack can be an overwhelming and scary experience, and the fact that youre probably still groggy and trying to come round from sleep, can make you feel out of control and cause you to panic even more.

If youre having a nocturnal panic attack, try the following:

Dont fight it

If you wake up and youre having a panic attack, its important not to fight it, as this could make things worse. Accept the panic attack for what it is and let the feelings wash over you. Remember, it is only temporary, and it will fade eventually. You just need to let it happen.

Try and relax

Try to get your body back into a relaxed state. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly to regulate your breathing. Relax your muscles, and try to focus your mind on positive thoughts and images.

Get up and do something

Go back to bed when youre ready

Only go back to bed when youre beginning to feel tired again and ready for sleep. When youre in bed, keep yourself calm by breathing deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth, to the extent that your whole abdomen, not just your chest, is rising and falling.

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Consider Bedtime Supplements To Calm Anxiety

Magnesium is a simple, inexpensive, and effective way to relax a busy or tense mind in the evening. Serenease contains 420 mg of magnesium from the 6 most functional types of this miracle mineral.

Chamomile tea has also been shown to support a feeling of calm and ease before bed . You can find chamomile in the tea section at most grocery stores, or steep the dried flowers yourself.

To help you fall asleep, magnolia bark is a staple in Eastern medicine, and has been shown to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep, as well as increase total sleep time .

Sleep Savior contains both magnolia bark and magnesium, plus 3 mg of melatonin to help you drift off for a restful nights sleep.

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What Causes Anxiety At Night And How To Deal With It

ANXIETY Worse at Night – Why?! and What to do when you cant rest at night

Medically Reviewed By: Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC

Nighttime anxiety is caused by the same triggers as anxiety during the day. However, the combination of anxiety and trouble sleeping can mimic other conditions and the different setting of night versus day can make you think that its something else. So, what causes nighttime anxiety and what can you do about it? Anxious feelings are the bodys normal alarm-response to psychological or physical threats, real or imagined, and can, therefore, be affect any person. In mild degrees, it is even considered serviceable to the individual.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety can be triggered by normal stress-inducing events and have distinct symptoms. It can also manifest as generalized anxiety. Some people are just more prone to anxiety than others, based on hereditary factors and temperament. However, most people are familiar with these general anxiety symptoms. Anxiety can make you feel like youre all alone. However, almost twenty percent of the population suffers from anxiety. This means that there is a lot known about how to effectively treat anxiety.

Anxiety At Night

Symptoms Of Occasional Anxiety At Night

Knowing the difference between occasional anxiety and something else can be important for getting the help that you need. While most people with anxiety share some common symptoms, the complete set of symptoms is different for everybody. Below are some common symptoms of occasional anxiety .

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders at Night

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What Causes Anxiety Attacks At Night

Nighttime anxiety or panic attacks, like their day time cohorts, result from the ‘fight or flight’ instinct being triggered by a perceived aggressor. In this case, the aggressor is likely to be mental angst resulting from pent-up worries.

In the business of daily life, these anxieties recede into the background, but then rear their monstrous heads at night when all distractions disappear. In the stillness of the night, there is no running away and anxieties can build, sometimes resulting in an anxiety attack.

We also know that the brain does not fully switch off when we are asleep. How often does an event that occurred during the day lead to an odd dream during the night? Our brain naturally tries to process and sort out the day’s events and if these have been stressful then our dreams may well provoke anxiety too.

If you think that you are not going to be able to fall asleep, then it is quite likely that you will have a battle on your hands. Try to follow some good sleep tips to switch off and give your brain a rest.

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