How to Stop Anxiety at Night

Three Methods:Dealing with Your Anxiety When It OccursUsing Relaxation Techniques to Overcome Anxiety at NightPreventing Anxiety at Night

For someone who suffers from anxiety, night time may be the most stressful part of the day. At night, anxiety can worsen and start to consume you. If you suffer from anxiety at night, you can learn how to manage and prevent it.

Method 1
Dealing with Your Anxiety When It Occurs

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    Get out of bed. If you wake up because anxiety or panic, or you feel anxiety at night, don’t stay in bed. Your bed should be a comfortable, calming place where you sleep. If you lie in bed, tossing and turning with anxiety, your bed may begin to be a place that causes you even more anxiety.[1]
    • When you can’t sleep, go sit or lay in a different place in your home. Sit in a chair, lay on your couch, or stretch out on the floor.
    • If you lie there for 20 to 30 minutes, get up and go somewhere else. You can return to bed after you calm again.
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    Try a quick distraction. Sometimes, distraction can work help with night time anxiety. Sometimes, distractions cause more anxiety because you consciously are thinking about making yourself get over your anxiety. You can try to distract yourself at first. Put on the television, read, or do something else to distract yourself.[2]
    • However, if you aren’t distracted within five to 10 minutes, stop trying to distract yourself. Instead, find another way to deal with your anxiety.
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    Identify your anxieties. One thing that might help you stop being anxious at night is figuring out what is causing you anxiety. This helps you deal with it before you try to go to sleep, or be able to put it out of your head until the morning. When you identify your anxieties, you can decide if it’s something you can deal with tonight or if it is out of your control until the morning.[3]
    • For example, you may feel anxiety about going to sleep because you suffer from insomnia.
    • You may also just suffer from general anxiety, so your brain is a violent whirl of emotions and thoughts.
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    Write your anxieties in a journal. Facing your anxieties and putting them down on paper can help you work through them. Writing them down can help you take control over them by pulling them from your head onto the sheet of paper. After writing in the journal, you can try to look at them and tell yourself how the anxieties are irrational. You may also try to throw the thoughts away by leaving them on the page instead of your head.[4]
    • When you write in the journal, write down what you are doing, where you are, and if you are alone. List any triggers that may have caused the anxiety.
    • Write down thoughts you had before you started feeling anxious. What are you thinking now while you are anxious?
    • Write down what you are trying to do to calm yourself.
    • Explore why the anxieties aren’t realistic or rational. Even if you don’t believe it at the moment, just write how you are thinking unrealistic, negative thoughts.
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    Play calming sounds in the background. Soothing noises can help calm your mind and help you fall asleep. Playing white noise can help distract your mind and senses away from your anxieties. Try soothing sounds, like rainfall or ocean waves. You can also try calming music that won’t get you wound up, or even talk radio or podcasts.[5]
    • You can buy CDs or download mp3s that feature sounds or music just for sleep relaxation.
    • You can also find these kinds of songs on YouTube or other places online.
    • Make sure you play them at a really low volume so you are not disturbing yourself.

Method 2
Using Relaxation Techniques to Overcome Anxiety at Night

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    Use mindfulness. A lot of anxiety comes from dwelling on the future or the past. Mindfulness keeps you focused on the present. This technique helps you relax by helping you let go of your worries. During mindfulness, you don’t ignore or try to push away your anxieties. Instead, you identify them so you can be released from them.[6]
    • Get into a comfortable position in a quiet room. Close your eyes. Start by identifying your anxieties. Don’t try to judge them, fight them, or even react to them. Instead, just think about them. Pretend you an outsider just looking at your anxieties.
    • Let the thoughts pass in and out of your head. Often, when you don’t try to fight the thoughts, control them, or actively ignore them, they start to get stuck in your mind. By just looking at them and not engaging with them, you can just let them float out of your head.
    • Focus on your body in this moment. Think about how your breath feels going in and out of your nose and mouth. Focus on your five senses. What do you feel, smell, or hear?
    • Mindfulness takes practice. Don’t be discouraged if your mind is all over the place the first few times you try it.
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    Perform breathing exercises. Deep breathing is a great technique that helps you relax, reduce stress, and lessen anxiety. When you feel anxious at night, you can try performing breathing exercises to calm your mind and your body.[7]
    • Lie on your back in a comfortable position. Place your hands right below your rib cage. Take a long, slow deep breath through your nose by expanding your belly. Your fingers should separate as your breath, and your hands should lift as your belly expands. Exhale through your mouth. Repeat five to 10 times. You can do it longer if you need.
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    Try progressive muscle relaxation. Progressive muscle relaxation is another relaxation technique you can use at night to help you overcome anxiety. In progressive muscle relaxation, you work on relaxing your whole body, and therefore your mind. You can do this in bed if you wish.[8]
    • Start by tightening your toes. Curl them under your feet and hold for five to 10 seconds. Then slowly relax.
    • Next, tighten all the muscles in the feet. Hold for five to 10 seconds. Slowly relax.
    • Continue tightening muscles as you move up the body. Do your legs, thighs, abdomen, arms, neck, and face. Tighten and relax the muscles in each area. Make sure to relax slowly.
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    Go through guided meditation. Meditation is a great stress and anxiety relieving technique. Through meditation, you can release your anxiety and get to a state of relaxation. You can even perform guided meditations that help prepare your mind and body for sleep. Guided meditations vary in length, from five minutes to over an hour, where someone walks you through the meditation process so you can achieve a deep state of relaxation.[9]
    • You can find multiple guided meditations online. There are audio files through meditation institutes and sites. You can also find guided meditations on YouTube.

Method 3
Preventing Anxiety at Night

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    Stay busy in the evening. Often, the reason why people don’t feel anxiety during the day is because they are busy. Work helps keep you distracted from your thoughts and anxieties during the day. At night, you may slow down and do nothing, which can cause you to start thinking about your anxiety. Instead, give yourself projects or tasks in the evening to keep your mind occupied.[10]
    • These tasks don’t have to be stressful or strenuous. Read a book, wash the dishes, do a load of laundry, crochet, or put together a puzzle. Anything that helps keep your mind focused on something other than your anxiety.
    • Having nothing to do in the evening can lead to you getting lost in your head. This leads to increased anxiety.
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    Exercise after work. Working out after you get off work can help reduce your anxiety at night. Exercise is a natural mood booster and proven method to help reduce anxiety. Aerobic exercise is a quick cure for anxiety. You can try to combat night anxiety by exercising every evening.[11]
    • If you get anxious at night, you can go for a quick walk, do some yoga, or do a short HIIT cardio routine in your living room. This can help manage the anxiety you feel at the moment.
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    Limit your alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol and caffeine can negatively affect your anxiety. They can keep your riled up, causing your to feel jittery. They may also cause you to feel more panicked. In the evenings, limit or completely eliminate your alcohol and caffeine intake.[12]
    • Alcohol can also trigger negative feelings or feelings of depression. It can change your state of mind, which may be more vulnerable at night.
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    Prepare for bed an hour before you want to fall asleep. Sometimes, it may take awhile for your body and mind to catch on that you want to sleep. Things like televisions, computer screens, and cell phones can keep the mind alert, while the light interferes with melatonin production. Start moving towards bedtime an hour before you want to sleep.[13]
    • Turn off all electronics and lower the lights. This helps your body and mind start to calm. Your body will also start producing melatonin, which promotes sleep.
    • Do something that engages your mind to help distract you from the anxiety of sleeping. This does not include the computer or television. Instead, read, draw, write in a journal, or even play a game. These things are full body and mind activities that can fully distract you and help relax you as you prepare for bed.
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    Choose a consistent bedtime. Routines can help reduce your anxiety. There is comfort in doing the same thing. Routines present you with familiar actions and experiences, which do not cause further anxiety. Your bedtime should be a routine time. Instead of going to sleep whenever you feel like it, choose a convenient bedtime that you can meet every night.[14]
    • By using the same bedtime every night, your brain and body will start being trained to know when it is time to go to sleep.

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Categories: Stress Anxiety and Crisis Management