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Why Is Anxiety Worse At Night

How To Prevent Night Anxiety

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

To prevent anxiety at night, the most important thing to avoid is to lie in bed and try to fall asleep.

Get up and do something else

A few more effective ways to prevent night-time anxiety are:

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3. Avoid Caffeine, nicotine, or wine in the evening these only made the problem worse.

I actually tried living with or without them and saw the difference.

These can actually make your attacks worse and caffeine can cause insomnia, so you cant sleep at all.

Why Does It Happen At Night

Anxiety is a normal human emotion characterized by feelings of nervousness and worry. You may find yourself experiencing anxiety during stressful situations, such as a first date or job interview.

Sometimes, though, anxiety may linger around for longer than usual. When this happens, it can interfere with your daily and nightly life.

One of the most common times when people experience anxiety is at night. Many clinical trials have found that sleep deprivation can be a trigger for anxiety. Historically, research also suggests anxiety disorders are associated with reduced sleep quality.

Treating your nighttime anxiety and addressing your sleep issues are important steps in improving your quality of life.

There are many symptoms of anxiety. Everyone experiences anxiety differently. Symptoms can happen anytime of the day, morning, or night. Common symptoms of anxiety include:

  • feelings of nervousness, restlessness, or worry
  • trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • gastrointestinal problems

Another symptom a person with anxiety may also experience is a panic attack. A panic attack is an episode of extreme and intense fear, often accompanied by physical manifestations. The common symptoms of a panic attack include:

  • a sense of impending doom
  • increased heart rate and chest pains
  • shortness of breath and throat tightness
  • sweating, chills, and hot flashes
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • a feeling of detachment, or like nothing is real

What Is Sleep Anxiety

Sleep anxiety is a type of performance anxiety that involves a cycle of anxious thoughts before going to bed, many of which involve unease, nervousness, and worry. While there are dozens of tasks to occupy your cognitive functions during the day, your brain can often struggle to keep itself busy at night, thus resorting to any anxious emotions and thoughts. Anxiety can lead to an endless cycle of stress and poor sleep. If you often experience nighttime anxiety, it may be hard to tell whether youre having trouble sleeping because youre anxious or youre feeling anxious because you cant sleep. According to research, sleep and anxiety go hand-in-hand. Having anxiety can cause sleeping problems and make it difficult to sleep, but sleep deprivation can also trigger anxiety. If youre unable to sleep, you may dread going to bed and waking up feeling even more sleep deprived. UC Berkeley researchers suggest that the lack of sleep can ramp up regions in the brain that trigger excessive worry, which provokes further anxiety and makes sleep even more elusive

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Make Sure You’re Hydrated And Getting Enough Nutrition

This may seem either silly or obvious, but a day with a baby can get away from you real quick. Before you know it, all you have had is maybe one glass of water and a granola bar.

Getting enough food and water throughout the day has a positive impact on your mental health and can make it easier for you to keep your fight or flight response at bay.

What Causes Anxiety Disorders

Why Is My Anxiety Worse At Night?

The exact cause of anxiety is unknown. In fact, researchers believe that there is not one single cause but rather an interplay of factors that include a persons genetics, family history, and exposure to negative life events. Some health problems and drugs can also contribute to symptoms of anxiety.

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Set Aside Time For Winding Down

If youve been struggling with sleep anxiety, Dr. Fran Walfish, family and relationship psychotherapist, suggests creating a routine that winds you down and gets you in the mood for sleep. This can include things like dimming the lights, listening to calming music, or taking a warm bath.

Walfish also suggests opting for activities like light reading in place of a TV or computer, as using a screen can tend to rev up anxiety and excitatory thresholds versus relax and calm you down.

The best nighttime routine allows your mind and body time to slow down before you turn off the lights. Allot at least 30 minutes to take a bath, read a book, listen to a podcast, or play quiet music. These transition rituals can condition your brain to associate certain actions with preparing for sleep.

How To Calm Anxiety And Get Better Sleep

Although the impacts of anxiety disorders can be substantial, they are one of the most treatable mental health disorders. This doesnt mean that reducing anxiety is always simple, but there are treatments that can help.

Any person who has persistent or significant anxiety and/or sleeping problems should talk with a doctor who can best assess their situation and discuss the benefits and downsides of the potential treatment options in their case.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common treatment for anxiety disorders. It is a type of talk therapy that works to reorient negative thinking, and it has had success in decreasing anxiety. Studies have found that CBT can often reduce anxiety even in people who have insomnia. Addressing anxiety can pave the way for better sleep, but severe cases of insomnia may persist after CBT for anxiety. CBT for insomnia may be a useful next step in these cases.

Several different types of medications are approved to treat anxiety disorders including anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants, and beta-blockers. These medications are intended to mitigate symptoms rather than cure the underlying anxiety.

Because of the multifaceted relationship between anxiety and sleep, getting better rest may help combat feelings of anxiety. Building healthy sleep habits can make going to bed a more pleasant experience and facilitate a consistent routine to enhance sleep.

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Eric Suni

Staff Writer

Alex Dimitriu


Eric Suni

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The Signs And Symptoms Of Anxiety

If you dont know a lot about anxiety or youre not sure whether you have it, it can be useful to know more about the signs and symptoms of anxiety.

Anxiety is a totally normal feeling that pretty much all of us experience at some point or another throughout light especially if were feeling worried, nervous or scared about something big coming up. This could be anything from a job interview or a presentation you have to do at work, or perhaps a big social event like a party, or even having a difficult conversation with a loved one.

Typical symptoms of anxiety include feeling restless, agitated or nervous you might notice that you cant sit still, focus on anything or relax properly. You could have trouble concentrating on work or struggle to think about anything else other than the anxious thoughts racing through their mind. This is often accompanied by an underlying sense of dread or panic a nagging fear that something bad is going to happen.

As well as these emotional symptoms, there are a number of physiological symptoms too. These include an increased heart rate , sweating, shaking, and hyperventilation.

The Problem For Those Suffering Anxiety Is That Usually There Is No Need For The Anxiety The Physical Danger Is Not Real And There Is No Need To Fight Or Flee

Why Is My Anxiety Worse At Night?

And thats my problem. My worries are rarely life and death. And yet, they keep me up at night all the same.

Licensed mental health counselor Nicky Treadway explains that, during the day, most people with anxiety are distracted and task-focused. Theyre feeling the symptoms of anxiety, but they have better places to land them, moving from point A to B to C throughout the day.

This is how I live my life: keeping my plate so full that I dont have time to dwell. As long as I have something else to focus on, the anxiety seems manageable.

But when thenighttime anxiety sets in, Treadway explains that the body is shifting into its natural circadian rhythm.

The light is going down, the melatonin production in the body is going up, and our body is telling us to rest, she says. But for someone who has anxiety, leaving that place of hyperarousal is difficult. So their body is kind of fighting that circadian rhythm.

Ducharme says that panic attacks occur with the greatest frequency between 1:30 and 3:30 a.m. At night, things are frequently quieter. There is less stimulation for distraction and more opportunity for worry.

She adds that we may have no control over any of these things, and theyre often made worse by the fact that help is less available at night.

After all, who are you supposed to call at 1 in the morning when your brain is putting you through a marathon of worries?

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Focus On The Negative

I can get panicky at night, thinking about everything I need to do or mulling over something that went wrong that day â but that just makes things worse. “Focusing on what is good in your life as opposed to what is going wrong with your life not only calms you down … but also helps you reflect on your day,”NYC-based therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW previously said to Bustle. Even write it in a list if it helps.

Getting A Peaceful Nights Sleep

We all feel anxious at one time or another in our lives. Two thirds of Americans report having issues with anxiety and stress causing them to lose sleep. Anxiety disorders are associated with reduced sleep quality in a chicken and egg scenario where each tends to make the other worse. Knowing how to stop the vicious cycle is important so you can get on with enjoying your life.

But what is anxiety? Essentially, it is the bodys natural response to stress. You may feel fearful or apprehensive about making a decision or about the curve balls life might throw your way. You may feel unable to cope and that anxiety has started to interfere with your daily routine or affect your relationships with friends and family. If you are finding yourself agreeing to a lot of these, then speak with your doctor about your concerns.

Anxiety manifests itself differently for each person, but common symptoms include an increased heart rate and trouble sleeping. Having a dry mouth is also a physical symptom of anxiety and can further disrupt your sleep.

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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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Where Can I Get Help For My Anxiety And Insomnia

Why Is Anxiety Worse At Night? What You Need To Know

You can see your medical provider or a mental health professional. If you are already seeing someone for your anxiety who is aware of your history with the disorder, you may want to continue seeing them for insomnia.

You might believe anxiety is behind your poor sleep, but just in case, your provider will rule out other possible causes first. These can include:

  • Medications. Certain medications, including popular ones for ADHD, asthma, and pain can cause insomnia. Even antidepressants you may have been prescribed for anxiety can have this side effect.

  • Physical illnesses. Symptoms of health conditions related to the heart, blood vessels, lungs, thyroid, stomach, and brain can keep you awake at night.

  • Habit-forming substances. Alcohol and other drugs with a risk for dependency and addiction, as well as caffeine and nicotine can make it hard to get a good nights rest.

They may also ask about your daily habits and see if anything about them is making it challenging for you to sleep. For example, traveling frequently for work or working overnights can offset your circadian rhythm , and eating late in the evenings can lead to acid reflux or discomfort when lying down. Watching TV or being on your computer or phone before you go to bed can also make it hard to fall asleep.

If you have any of these conditions, treating them may help your insomnia.

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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

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