Anxiety impacts people in different ways. Depending on the severity, you might be able to “avoid” many of the symptoms during the day. Maybe you’re too busy thinking about other things and you’re able to distract yourself from worrying thoughts.
However, many people experience nighttime anxiety for that very reason.
At night, your mind and body are winding down. There are fewer things to distract you, and more time to think–and worry.
If you find yourself tossing and turning every night because of your anxiety, there are things you can do to stay calm and find some peace.
Let’s look at a few different ways you can calm nighttime anxiety so you can take more control over your anxious thoughts and get the rest you deserve.
Establish a Sleep Routine
Having good sleep hygiene is a great first step in combatting nighttime anxiety. What does that look like? It starts by developing a healthy nighttime routine.
Give yourself time each night to wind down. Your routine shouldn’t be something you rush through. Rather, it should be a relaxing experience that puts you in the right frame of mind.
Try going to bed at the same time each night. Wake up at the same time each morning. Before bed, do some light stretches, yoga, or meditation to calm your mind and body. Use your bedroom only for sleeping, not for watching television, reading, etc.
Avoid using digital devices for at least an hour before you go to sleep. The blue light from phones and tablets can stimulate your mind and make it harder to fall asleep.
When you have a sleep routine in place, it lets your mind know that it’s time to “shut down” for the day, rather than start revving up with so many anxious thoughts.
Keep a Journal
Sometimes, the best way to get rid of anxious thoughts is to talk about them. If you live alone or you don’t want to wake anyone else up, something as simple as writing down your thoughts and feelings can help.
Consider keeping a journal next to your bed. If you’re struggling to fall asleep, jot down what you’re feeling, what triggered it, and how you’re working through it.
Not only will journaling help you get through your current bout of anxiety, but you can look back and see how you’ve handled things previously, and how far you’ve come in your battle.
Don’t Stay in Bed
If you truly can’t sleep, don’t stay in bed. Again, it’s important that your mind and body associate your bed with sleep and nothing else. When you can’t seem to fall asleep, staying in bed and trying to “force” yourself isn’t going to help.
Instead, get up for a few minutes and do something that might help to calm your mind and provide relaxation. Read a few pages of a book. Take your journal to another room to write. Or try meditating or deep breathing. If you’re not sure how to get started with those things on your own, there are plenty of guided meditation apps that can help.
When you start to feel tired again, go back to your bedroom and try to fall asleep.
Fight Back Against Anxiety
If you’re struggling with anxiety, even if it’s only at night, it’s important to reach out for help. Anxiety rarely goes away on its own, but it’s usually very manageable with treatment.
Getting to the underlying cause of your anxiety and utilizing different skills to manage your symptoms will make a big difference in your life. You don’t have to go through it alone. If anxiety is affecting your sleep or any other area of life, feel free to contact me to set up an appointment for anxiety counseling.