Why Does Anxiety Sometimes Get Worse at Night?

by Feb 15, 2024

As the day winds down and bedtime approaches, many people have no trouble at all settling down for the night. However, for some, the setting sun brings with it an unwelcome guest: anxiety. While others find it easy to relax in the stillness, others are plagued by restlessness and racing thoughts.

The experience of nighttime anxiety can be a blend of both internal and external factors. But what are some of those factors? Why do they contribute to nighttime anxiety?

Stressful Life Events

Your day-to-day may consist of a lot of different events, both positive and negative. There will be days where work is a breeze and other days where you feel a bit more challenged or stressed. Your interactions with your family, friends, or coworkers may change day to day as well.

No matter what occurs throughout your day, it’s easy to bring those feelings, thoughts, and emotions home with you. A lot of people tend to linger on how they feel or replay what occurred during their day when they’re lying in bed at night.

Less Distractions

Like many, you may have a job that takes up most of your day. You might be sitting in meetings, making phone calls, giving presentations, or answering emails. Or maybe you’re a stay-at-home parent tending to your children and making sure that they’re fed, rested, and happy. No matter what your days consist of, you’re busy, and this busyness can often serve as a distraction from anxious thoughts.

When you try to fall asleep at night, though, most people tend to have a lot less distractions, which opens the door for those anxious thoughts.

Lack of Sleep

Anxiety can have a negative impact on your sleep schedule and routine. You may stay up later or wake up throughout the night because of it. In turn, individuals who don’t get enough sleep often show greater signs and symptoms of anxiety and mental stress.

Unfortunately, this creates a vicious cycle that can be hard to break.

Daily Choices

The choices you make throughout your day can also have consequences for your sleep. Be mindful of the foods and beverages you consume during your day. For instance, pay attention to your caffeine intake and reduce it closer to bedtime.

Caffeine can disrupt the natural circadian rhythms of your body, affecting the internal clock that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Consuming caffeine close to bedtime can delay the onset of sleep, reduce total sleep duration, and lead to fragmented or restless sleep.

How to Reduce Nighttime Anxiety

You aren’t alone if you’re experiencing anxiety, especially if it comes on stronger when you’re trying to go to sleep at night. Luckily, there are lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce some of the signs and symptoms you may be experiencing.

Get Exercise In

Moving your body is not only beneficial for your body, it’s also beneficial for your brain. Exercise has been proven to be a positive action for your overall mental health and wellness. It can naturally reduce one’s stress levels as well as being a mood booster.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

A lot of anxiety stems from past actions or future events that haven’t occurred yet. You can bring yourself back to the present moment and help keep you grounded by having a few relaxation techniques up your sleeve. Here are a few relaxation techniques you can try:

  • A body scan
  • Deep breathing
  • Meditation
  • Mantra repetition

Seek Additional Support

If you still find yourself struggling, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Reaching out to a licensed and trained mental health professional may be exactly what you need to help you overcome your anxiety. Reach out to us today to set up an appointment.

Click here for more information on anxiety therapy.