Reduce anxiety at night – you know that creeping feeling that comes on around twilight and can end with you waking up in a panic gasping for air?
Learn how to calm and sleep better when you have anxiety by following these simple steps to keep the night time anxiety at bay.
Watch the video or continue reading below…
I often get people asking me why their anxiety seems to come on so badly at night time.
I remember this myself when my anxiety was at its worst. It would come to evening and it was usually just as the sun was beginning to set and you get that funny sort of twilight time.
I don’t know what it was, it was around the time I’d be preparing dinner and starting to get on with my nighttime routine.
I would just feel this absolute impending feeling of dread that would seem to just descend upon me like a thick black cloud.
It happened every night, it was a horrible feeling and it really felt so dark like literally and figuratively felt super, super dark.
I needed something to help me to reduce anxiety at night.
So, this is something that doesn’t just affect you and doesn’t just affect me, it’s actually quite common.
I’ve looked into it and it’s because anxiety affects your amygdala which is the part of your brain which is very prehistoric in nature and it’s quite reptilian and it basically controls your fear response.
And if you go back to cave man times, night was the time when everyone was encouraged to go back to the cave, to start to rest and relax for the evening and to go and seek their shelter to go again to go seek safety because nighttime was the time when a lot of predators were about.
And as humans, we don’t have very good night vision but predators, especially nocturnal predators have got excellent night vision.
So, the reason why anxiety’s worse at the nighttime is because your reptilian part of your brain saying to you, “Night time, lots of nocturnal predators around, go back to your cave, it’s time to start resting and relaxing and sleeping and getting safe inside your cave.”
So that’s why your anxiety tends to peak at night time, on a very base primitive level.
So, I just want to talk to you about what you can do to reduce anxiety at night, because it’s all well and good to have the knowledge that that’s the reason why.
I like to give action tips as to what you can actually do to help yourself heal from anxiety and to move on and move forwards from anxiety in your life permanently.
Step 1: When you start feeling restless, go to bed
So, the first step that I want you to do to reduce anxiety at night, is just realize and understand that restlessness and anxiety and stress are often signs of tiredness and fatigue.
This is going to sound like a super-simple, maybe over-simple step but I really found a huge improvement in my anxiety levels when I just started going to bed earlier.
I understand that might not be possible for you, we all have different ways of living our lives, work schedules and requirements and duties in our lives but I did find that when I just started my night routine a little bit earlier, it really helped to reduce anxiety at night.
So, drinking my chamomile tea and keeping my light super low to settle a little bit earlier, meant that when I actually did go to bed, I was well and truly ready to go to sleep.
I was able to have the full restful and restorative sleep that I needed and as a result, the lack of tiredness and feeling more energized and awake in myself meant that my anxiety reduced as well.
It’s a longer-term strategy, it’s not your instant ‘quick fix’ but it does help when you’re making sure that you do get a full and adequate sleep. It helps your anxiety levels in a really tremendous way.
Step 2: Avoid distracting yourself, to reduce anxiety at night
Step two is just avoid distractions.
I know people try to reduce anxiety at night by pushing it away, doing things like feverishly knitting, as one of my clients was trying to do, or descending into a Netflix binge just to try and push those thought and feelings down.
Also, women use wine as an attempt to distract as well. I’ve got clients that started off having one or two wines a night and it very quickly turned into an entire bottle a night.
A lot of people who drink alcohol every night are doing so in an effort to keep their anxiety at bay – it’s a night time habit that a lot of people do have and they don’t even realize that that’s what they’re doing, trying to keep their anxiety down.
So, avoid those distractions where you can.
As humans are very routine-oriented so I know that sometimes, it’s easier said than done, like, it’s easier for me to sit here and say, “Don’t watch Netflix in the evening.” But if that’s what you do, if that’s your routine, then it’s hard to break that habit.
I’m not saying break it completely, I’m just saying, instead of watching an entire series on Netflix, watch an episode or two and then start your night time routine and get more sleep that way, get in control of it that way.
You’re not able to control the anxiety itself but you are able to control your actions and your routines and your habits.
The power is always in the present – your ability to enact change NOW so there’s no better time than RIGHT NOW to be kinder to yourself in the evening and to make sure that you get enough sleep and to avoid those distractions, certainly do anything in an effort to try and push the anxiety away.
Step 3: Everything is always better in the light of day
To reduce anxiety at night, I want you to understand that everything looks better in the light of day. Everything seems better in the morning.
No matter how dark your ‘dark night of the soul’ is, the minute that the sun creeps up first thing in the morning, it’s the dawning of the new day.
The energy of the night completely shifts. It harkens back to prehistoric times when those predators would start to go to bed again and the vision and the light returns to the earth and you can see again.
You’re able to see clearly. So, physically, you can see clearly and also emotionally, in yourself, you’re better able to see yourself and feel things and experience things and express yourself more clearly as well.
So if you’re experiencing anxiety of the nighttime and you’re experiencing those feelings of creeping dread that come on at night, just hang in there because it always feels better in the light of day.
Do put these steps into play that I’ve suggested in terms of getting more sleep and avoiding the detractions but know above all, once morning comes, everything feels better with a bit of light shed on it.
I have got a free meditation for you to listen to, it’s called the Space Between Your Brain Cells meditation and it does exactly what it says it will.
It brings energy and space into your mind to allow yourself to think clearly and calmly and rationally again.
I know what you’re going through, I know how it feels. Anxiety of a night time just feels terrible. It will all feel better in the morning and until then, get plenty of sleep and stop trying to go after the distractions, and stop trying to push it away.
Love + light