Most people are busy all day with work or school or social obligations. The nighttime is when things get slower and quieter. In this calmer, more solitary setting, your brain has far more space to focus on worries and concerns. There are far fewer distractions to silence your anxiety. This, of course, can result in sleep problems.
From there, a cycle can kick in. Nighttime anxiety interrupts your sleep. Feeling exhausted the next day makes you more vulnerable to anxiety. Daytime anxiety turns into nighttime anxiety and things go from there. Obviously, it is vital to have methods available to calm anxiety at night.
Yes to Routines and Rituals
You don’t have to structure and plan your entire life. But having routines serves the dual purpose of decreasing anxiety and enhancing your sleep patterns. Here are some suggestions and guidelines to consider:
- Your routines during the day can set you up for peaceful sleep. Eating at the same time is a great way to start. Also, a regular exercise regimen burns off stress while creating a routine and improving sleep. Most of all, get to bed at the same time each evening.
- Create and adhere to nightly bedtime rituals. It could be reading, taking a bath, meditating, or basically anything that is tech-free (scrolling is not going to help you nod off). Completing these rituals lets your brain know that it is time to get sleepy.
- If you lay down but have trouble sleeping, get up. Train yourself that the bed is for sleep. So, get up and do more of the relaxing rituals mentioned above.
- Awaken at the same time each day — even when you don’t have work or school.
How to Calm Anxiety at Night
Accept What is Happening
Anxiety is an incredibly common problem. There is no shame in feeling it and it’s best managed by first acknowledging its existence. Learn more about anxiety, its origins, and how to address it.
Try Using a Weighted Blanket
This is not just a hot Internet trend. A weighted blanket, thanks to its deep-pressure stimulation, can reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
Another helpful tool is a white noise machine. Setting one of these up in your bedroom drowns out distracting noises. Study after study finds that static sound enhances sleep quality.
Avoid Drinking Alcohol and Caffeine
Both of these substances have the potential to increase your anxiety levels while negatively impacting your sleep. Ideally, don’t drink or eat anything too close to bedtime.
Develop Some Simple Relaxation Techniques
Here are some examples to get you started:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Tai chi
- Aromatherapy and essential oils
- Listening to mellow music
- Cuddling with a pet
These important tools can be helpful in both helping you wind down before bed and easing you into sleep after you’ve laid down.
It has been shown that writing down your feelings can be helpful as a way of letting them go. You can make journaling part of your pre-sleep rituals. Just as effectively, add to your journal during the day to help process emotions before they can become nighttime obstacles.
Ask For Help When You Need It
Everyone has some level of anxiety in their life. But, if you find those anxious feelings getting to the point where they are negatively impacting your sleep, it could be time to talk to a professional. An anxiety disorder can affect your sleep and therefore, hamper your daily functioning. You do not have to struggle on your own.