Anxiety during any time of the day is terrible, but if you were to choose the worst time for anxiety to strike, the majority of people would agree on nighttime. Thinking about all the stuff you have to do, awkward encounters with people or a random comment you made can quickly leave you feeling uncomfortable and like you’re not good enough.
Anxiety during the night results in loss of sleep, tossing and turning, and anxiety spirals, which not only ruin your night, but also the following morning. Despite all of this, nighttime is one of the most common times to experience anxiety, since our guard is down, allowing the weight of our day to hit us with full force. Since we don’t have anything else occupying our time when we’re sleeping, we become vulnerable to intrusive thoughts.
Here are 5 tips that can help you avoid nighttime anxiety:
Create a bedtime routine
Bedtime routines not only prevent nighttime anxiety, they also make it easier to wake up in the morning. While this is definitely a process that takes some time, it helps you get better at sleeping, which is a skill we should strive for. Make a bedtime routine that works for you, whether that means turning off your screens an hour before sleeping, incorporating reading time in your bed or making your bedroom the most peaceful space you can manage.
Try a breathing exercise
Stopping to take a breath in the middle of a sweaty anxiety spiral might not sound effective, but it is. Tricking your body by breathing in and out calmly will trick you into feeling like there’s nothing chasing you, which is actually the truth. Breathing exercises are some of the best tools at your disposal when experiencing anxiety, reentering your body and giving it something to hold on to.
Get up from bed
If the anxiety is preventing you from staying calm, get up from bed and do something that requires low light and effort. Organize your laundry or your closet, or turn on your lamp and read some pages of a book. While this will rob you of some time of sleep, it’ll likely distract you and stop you from getting increasingly more anxious.
Go over your day
Another activity that can also help you is to go over the events of your day, trying to find whatever caused anxiety. This review of your day will distract you and will also provide you with some perspective.
Try to have some perspective
Speaking of which, perspective is important to have when experiencing anxiety. Chances are, you are not in a “fight or flight” situation when you’re lying in bed, despite what your mind is telling you. Remind yourself that your anxiety is temporary and that tomorrow is a new day, where you’ll get plenty of opportunities to resolve whatever is disturbing you. For now, there’s likely not a lot you can do, so your anxiety is just making your life more difficult for you.