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Posted by Bridget Reed

Anxiety at Night: Causes & Tips for Relief

If it feels like your brain switches into high gear with worry and stress just when you're supposed to relax and drift to sleep, you're not alone. Nighttime anxiety is a common plight that affects millions, disrupting sleep and leaving you restless. 

Unfortunately, when you’re stressed about getting enough sleep or unable to be as productive or collected as you need to be during the day because you’re exhausted, the problem only worsens. Understanding why anxiety amps up at night and what you can do about it could be your first step toward reclaiming those crucial hours of sleep, improving your overall mental health, and enjoying a good night’s sleep regularly.

Why Does Anxiety Feel Worse at Night?

At night, our body's circadian rhythm — which orchestrates our sleep patterns, hormone release, and overall physiological balance — plays a pivotal role. This internal clock dictates our readiness to sleep and our alertness during waking hours, managing the secretion of melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep. 

Disruptions to this rhythm can lead to a misalignment that might elevate heart rate or blood pressure, typical symptoms of anxiety, thereby making any pre-existing anxiety disorders more pronounced as nighttime approaches. The lack of sufficient sleep, caused by such disruptions, can significantly impact mental health, leading to increased anxiety and making sleep disturbances more frequent.

During the day, our minds are often too busy to really worry. Work, social interactions, and daily chores can mask underlying stress or anxiety. However, as night falls and these distractions diminish, the silence and stillness can make it easier for anxiety to surface. 

What Can You Do To Fix It?

1. Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

A relaxing pre-sleep routine is essential for easing into a good night’s sleep. Incorporating progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and meditation can significantly soothe your nervous system. These practices help reduce symptoms of anxiety, lowering your heart rate and calming the mind. 

By establishing rituals like these, you communicate to your body that it’s time to shift gears from the day's hustle to the night's rest. This not only improves sleep quality but also helps manage sleep disorders and reduces the frequency of nocturnal panic attacks, creating a healthier sleep schedule.

2. Limit Screen Time and Stimulants

Reducing exposure to blue light from screens before bedtime can be super helpful in easing your nightly anxiety. Blue light can suppress melatonin production, affecting your circadian rhythm and sleep quality. 

Limiting stimulants, such as caffeine and nicotine, in the evening can also help prevent the stimulation of your nervous system, allowing your body to naturally prepare for sleep. Giving your body the best chance to properly wind down before bed can help decrease the likelihood of racing thoughts and restlessness at night, ensuring you get enough sleep without the side effects of poor sleep.

3. Make Your Bed Your Sanctuary

Your bed should be a refuge that promotes rest and relaxation. You can partly achieve this simply by having a better bedtime routine, but making sure your bedding is ultra-comfortable and inviting can really help.

Giving your bed an overhaul with our Miracle Made® Sleep Bundle, featuring silver-infused sheets, a duvet comfort, and an ultra-soft comforter, can transform your sleep experience. These products regulate temperature to reduce sleep disturbances caused by overheating or chills and inhibit bacterial growth with antibacterial silver, enhancing your sleep hygiene. 

A clean, inviting bed environment is crucial for those suffering from sleep disorders or general nighttime anxiety, as it encourages uninterrupted, healthy sleep, which is crucial for overall mental health and recovery from daily stresses.

4. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation are powerful tools for managing anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. By focusing on the present moment, these practices help mitigate the overwhelming flood of negative thoughts or excessive worry that can occur at night. 

Regular mindfulness can lead to a significant improvement in sleep quality by reducing sleep disturbances and the symptoms of anxiety. Techniques learned in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be applied during these practices, helping reframe negative thoughts and promote a more restful state of mind in the long term, too.

5. Keep a Worry Journal

Before bed, try writing down whatever’s on your mind. It could be a to-do list for tomorrow or just things that are bugging you. This simple act helps clear your head, making it easier to drift off without those pesky worries keeping you awake. 

Think of it like emptying your pockets before a good night’s sleep. Many folks find that once their concerns are on paper, they're less daunting, which really helps with falling asleep more peacefully.

6. Find the Ideal Sleep Temperature

Setting the right room temperature can make a huge difference in how well you sleep, especially if anxiety often keeps you up at night. Our Miracle Made® Comforter is great for this — it keeps you just right, not too hot or cold. 

Your sleep temperature can have a huge impact on your sleep habits, so if you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s important to make sure that when you fall asleep, you stay asleep. Using cooling blankets or bedding like ours that helps minimize night sweats or evening chills that wake you up, cutting into your REM sleep and exacerbating your sleep problems, can make sure you feel well-rested the next day. 

And when you get even a little bit more sleep than usual, you’re less likely to experience anxiety. Sometimes, the solution is in the problem.

7. Develop a Nighttime Tea Ritual

Establishing a nightly routine of drinking herbal tea can be a soothing way to prepare your body for sleep. Opt for caffeine-free options like chamomile or valerian root, which are known for their natural calming properties. 

This ritual helps signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and provides a moment of quiet reflection and relaxation. Sipping a warm, comforting beverage can ease your mind, reduce anxiety levels, and set the stage for a restful night, helping to mitigate any lingering stress from the day.

8. Create a Comforting Soundscape

Incorporating calming sounds into your bedtime routine can significantly enhance your sleep environment. Consider playing soft, ambient noises like rain, ocean waves, or gentle acoustic music. 

These sounds can help drown out the distracting or stressful noises of the night, allowing your mind to focus on relaxation instead of anxiety. Creating a consistent auditory backdrop provides your nervous system with cues that promote relaxation and sleep, making it easier to let go of the day's worries and slip into a peaceful slumber.

The Bottom Line

Nighttime anxiety doesn’t have to be a recurring nightmare. By understanding the triggers and figuring out how to manage them — not to mention optimizing your sleep environment — you can enhance your sleep quality and reduce anxiety. 

If your sleep anxiety has been going on for a long time and you feel like you’re truly struggling from sleep deprivation, always speak to your healthcare provider. A lack of sleep can seriously wreak havoc on your life and well-being, so don’t be shy about exploring treatment options with a health professional. 

Achieving better sleep is not only about feeling rested but also about supporting your overall well-being! With the right tools and habits, peaceful nights are within your reach.

Sources:

Good Sleep for Good Health | News in Health

Circadian Rhythm | Sleep Foundation

Color of the Light | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Effects of Relaxing Music on Healthy Sleep | National Library of Medicine

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