Anxiety disorders affect nearly 40 million adults in America, making it one of the country’s most common mental health concerns. For many people, anxiety actually gets worse at night, interfering with their ability to sleep and causing additional daytime anxiety. If you’re one of the millions struggling with anxiety that interferes with sleep, it’s helpful to understand why and how to calm anxiety at night.
Why Does My Anxiety Get Worse at Night?
Anxiety is a normal human emotion, often sparked by high-stress situations such as starting a new job or going on a first date. In most cases, when the stress-inducing situation ends, the anxiety subsides. However, you may experience extended anxiety that can affect your daily and nightly life.
But why does anxiety get worse at night?
While night anxiety is not a specific anxiety type, it does seem to go hand-in-hand with sleep troubles. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), more than 50 percent of adults say their anxiety gets worse at night and interferes with their sleep.
One factor for increased night anxiety is that there are few distractions at night, making it easier to hyperfocus on everything that makes you anxious. You’re suddenly worried about your to-do list, work, finances, relationships, or whatever thoughts may trigger your spiral.
Additional factors may include nightmares, poor sleep habits, too much caffeine, or a lack of various vitamins and minerals.
Tips for Calming Night Anxiety
Knowing how to calm anxiety at night can significantly improve your sleep and overall wellbeing. Consider these tips the next time your anxiety rears its ugly head at night or racing thoughts are preventing you from getting the sleep you so desperately need.
Start a Nighttime Routine
Humans are busy. We do so much throughout the day that we can’t expect our minds to go from 100 to zero the moment we lay in bed.
Establishing a nighttime routine is an excellent way to calm yourself after an eventful day.
Give yourself at least 30 minutes to unwind at night by engaging in activities that put you at ease. Also, try going to bed at the same time every night to condition your body to know when it’s time for sleep.
Write Down Your Worries
Feel like as soon as your head hits the pillow, your brain decides to run through your never-ending to do list, ruminate on a conversation you had earlier in the day, or worry about something on your docket tomorrow?
Researchers out of Baylor University found that when nighttime worry strikes, taking 5 minutes before bed to write down your anxious thoughts, and specifically your to-do list for the next day, can help you fall asleep faster.
Nutrition and supplementation play a significant role in our mental state. Increasing various vitamins and minerals with daily supplementations can help naturally relieve anxiety with minimal side effects.
- Passionflower- Many native people throughout the Americas and Europe used passionflower as a natural remedy for various conditions. Today, studies suggest passionflower may help relieve anxiety and promote sleep thanks to its calming effects.
- Magnesium- Magnesium is a mineral responsible for many bodily functions, including regulating blood pressure and supporting the immune system. A magnesium deficiency can lead to insomnia and increased anxiety.
- Vitamin B complex- B vitamins contain 8 nutrients that play a vital role in how the body manages stress and anxiety. Studies show that low vitamin B12 levels can increase depression and anxiety. Additional research finds people with a diet high in B vitamins tend to have healthier anxiety management.
Find a Calming Bedtime Activity
Sometimes when sleep feels impossible, the best thing to do is get up from bed and do something outside the bedroom.
You can try a bedtime meditation using deep breathing techniques, such as box-breathing, to ease you into sleep. You can also try emotion-focused journaling, which involves identifying and writing about how you feel to reduce night anxiety.
Are you struggling to find ways to calm your anxiety at night? bekome provides expert consultations and daily supplements to reduce your anxiety at its roots. Learn more about our clinically-formulated, natural supplements for anxiety relief, or take advantage of our free expert clinical consults for more information.
Written by Vanessa Gottlieb Laudette; Fact-checked by Camila Smith, LCSW.