Night-time anxiety is extremely common, and something millions of people experience.
It’s that feeling when your head hits the pillow, and your mind starts rushing. Even after a relatively anxiety-free day, our minds sometimes go into overdrive as soon as they hit the pillow.
Research suggests that sleep deprivation can be a trigger for anxiety.
So why is it that night-time anxiety occurs?
When you finally lie down at night after a long day, your brain begins to recall all the worries it didn’t have during the day. Everything that your brain has put on the back burner comes out. This type of anxiety usually is focused on worries you can’t solve at the moment.
Daytime stress causes your body to go into overdrive, taxing your hormones and adrenal system, which are linked to sleep; if you have trouble sleeping, it may be a sign to address your stress during the day.
If you don’t address these worries, night-time anxiety can become a vicious cycle; a bad night’s sleep leads to exhaustion the next day, disrupting your body’s natural rhythms and making you more vulnerable to anxiety during the day that can continue into the night.
Symptoms of anxiety can intensify at night; some symptoms of night-time anxiety include:
- Replaying a mistake you made during the day over and over again
- Becoming agitated by the silence
- Struggling to be alone with your intrusive thoughts
- Not being able to fall asleep because you are worried about the next day
- Getting flashbacks of a past traumatic experience that has surfaced because you can’t distract yourself with anything
- Panicking that you’re not falling asleep and becoming even more anxious
- Having shortness of breath, then becoming extra aware of this
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, here are some ways to help heal your night-time anxiety:
- Adopt a Night-Time Routine: When it comes to sleep, routine is your best friend. If you implement a specific night time routine, you will feel less anxious throughout the night and the following day.
- Try Evening Yoga: Yoga or even light stretches are a great way to reduce stress and ease your body into sleep.
- Turn Off Screens: Technologies blue lights usually signal your brain to turn back on, ultimately causing you to lie awake longer.
- Bedtime Meditation: Your breathing patterns are a large part of your body’s response. If you slow down your breathing and meditate, you’ll let your body know it’s time to go to sleep.
If nothing seems to help you night-time anxiety, try reaching out to a therapist who can help you get to the bottom of any underlying medical conditions or anxiety disorders.
And remember, as you try to fall asleep, mindfulness is essential. Try to focus on what you can control, rather than worrying about the future.