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5 Ways to Manage Anxiety at Night

You’ve had a busy day and are looking forward to going to sleep and getting that much needed rest that you’ve been looking forward to. Except when you rest your head on your pillow and close your eyes, rather than doze off to dreamland, you have a bunch of thoughts flooding in.

Anxiety at night

Everything from replaying conversations you’ve had throughout the day, to planning that work meeting you have tomorrow, your mind-racing thoughts cause you to worry and you find yourself wide awake feeling frustrated and desperate to catch some much-needed zzz’s.

Here are 5 ways to cope with the anxiety and worry that nighttime brings:

1. Create a bedtime ritual

Whether it is doing some light stretches, taking a soothing bath, listening to quiet music, or reading a book each night before bed, engaging in a calming activity can help relax your mind and body. Aim to set aside 30-90 minutes before you would like to fall asleep and try keeping this routine consistent.

2. Write out your worrying thoughts

Rather than keeping your worries and anxieties swirling inside your head, writing them down in a notebook and closing it up may help you feel better. Perhaps it is a to-do list or more of a journal-entry style - whatever you prefer, allowing yourself to identify your worries, writing them out and then putting them away for the night can be a useful technique to get them ‘out of your head’.

3. Deep breathing

One of the most effective tools we have to regulate our mind and bodies is our breath. Deep breathing can be as straightforward as it sounds - breathing in deeply through your nose and slowly exhaling through your nose or mouth. You can do this with your hands rested gently on your belly and notice them rise and fall with each exhale and inhale. You can also try out a counting breathing technique like 4-7-8. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, breathe out for 8 counts. Repeat this at least 5 times or more until you begin to feel your body relaxing.

4. Mindfulness techniques

Our minds are powerful and can cause us to spiral with our thoughts and worries. Our thoughts cause us to feel different emotions, which results in our bodies reacting accordingly - so your anxious thoughts can make you feel worried, which results in your body becoming tense. Practice some strategies that allow you to let go of your anxious thoughts rather than hold on to them and think about them in detail. One of the ways you can do this is by imagining your worry thought as a cloud, visualizing it moving gently and floating by in the sky until you can no longer see it. Combining this technique with deep breathing, you can then return your attention to your slow and deep inhales and exhales.

Night anxiety and therapy for sleep issues

5. Create an ideal bedroom setting

Set up your environment to maximize comfort and sleep quality. Keeping your bedroom dark and cool, choosing a comfortable pillow, and having lighter, breathable bedding can help you fall and stay asleep throughout the night. If noise is a factor that keeps you awake, you may consider a white noise app or machine, or quietly playing some gentle and soothing sounds such as ocean waves or raindrops to help you fall asleep.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons why you may find it more difficult to ease your mind at night. During the day, we are faced with distractions and our minds are usually more awake and alert to deal with anxious thoughts. As our minds become more tired, it is challenging to do so and takes more mental effort, therefore our worries can feel more intense as we are getting ready to sleep. Trying out the above strategies, as well as other techniques to help you manage anxiety at night may help you feel more relaxed and increase your sleep quality. If you need more help and guidance, consider speaking with a therapist to tailor a unique plan for you and your symptoms. Getting the help you need can make a positive difference in how you think and feel both during the day and night.

Click here to schedule a free 20-minute consultation call now to speak with one of our therapists.

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