Why does night anxiety happen? why only at night? how to stop it once and for all?
It may take hours to fall asleep while intrusive, disturbing and frightening thoughts take control over your mind.
Or it can suddenly wake you up in the middle of the night and cause a full-blown nocturnal panic attack.
Night anxiety, for those who have it, is worse than daytime anxiety.
You wake up worrying about something, everybody else is sleeping or worse – you’re alone.
It’s dark and everything seems tragic when it’s dark. Then you worry about not getting enough sleep again and the cycle continues until it’s 5 AM and you’ve slept only 2 hours the entire night.
You may also experience hideous dreams that make no sense at all. You wake up feeling awful. You just know that you’re going to be a wreck again tomorrow.
A surefire way to ruin your entire day too, right?
Why? What keeps triggering these night anxiety attacks especially when you’re in bed at night?
The relative isolation, quiet, and absence of distractions are probably the most important factors here.
During the day, we can use a variety of strategies to modulate these concerns, including taking direct action to address them.
“Lying in bed in a dark room, they become overwhelming and inescapable.” (Source: Health.com)
The Insomnia-Anxiety Vicious Cycle
You may not be aware of it, but night anxiety in adults could be caused by a sleep disorder.
Insomnia fuels a cycle of anxiety. Insomnia makes it hard to fall asleep. You toss and turn and the anxious thoughts emerge.
Am I going to lose my job? What’s going to happen at that doctor’s appointment? Did I forget my pants at the dry cleaners?
Insomniacs expect problems with sleep.
Even before they lie down at night, the anxious thoughts are already there, fueling the vicious night anxiety cycle. Specialists call this “catastrophizing“.
How to Prevent Night Anxiety
To prevent anxiety at night, the most important thing to avoid is to lie in bed and try to fall asleep.
Get up and do something else, in another room, until you are truly sleepy. This way you can reduce negative thinking and night anxiety symptoms.
A few more effective ways to prevent night-time anxiety are:
1. CBD (Cannabidiol) Hemp Oil – CBD is extracted from the Cannabis plant and has no euphoric properties whatsoever.
If you’ve ever tried it, you know that two of the well-known benefits of Cannabis are better sleep and anxiety relief.
The one I use – Honey Colony Hemp CBD Oil – is a custom-made optimized CBD Hemp Oil which offers all the health benefits of CBD without the feeling of being high.
It contains only .03% THC, well below the federal limit of .3% and is perfectly legal.
I highly recommend you try it. It has reduced the number of times I wake up anxious at night from four to one (feeling perfectly calm and going back to sleep immediately).
Read more about CBD oil HERE.
2. Avoid Caffeine, Nicotine or Wine in the evening – these only made the problem worse.
I actually tried living with or without them and saw the difference. These can actually make your attacks worse and caffeine can cause insomnia, so you can’t sleep at all.
* As with any herbal remedy, check with your doctor first if you take any kind of medication!
4. Avoid Prescription Drugs – I have tried that and got some relief – but the goal is to get through night anxiety without creating a drug addiction.
Besides, these drugs will never cure the condition, only temporarily relieve symptoms.
5. Avoid Bad Night Habits – First of all, don’t look at the clock! Ever!
** Turn the clock around to face the wall, or hide it in a drawer or under the bed. I was constantly checking the time and that reinforced my thought that I’ll never get back to sleep.
** Don’t stay in bed for more than 15 minutes. I used to do this to remind my brain that the bed is the place to sleep – not the place for stressing, worrying and obsessing.
** Don’t go back to bed too soon. I only went back to bed when I felt I could fall asleep right away. I watched, on purpose, a boring TV show or read a boring book.
** Before going to sleep, try to watch something funny on TV.
Never an action film or heart-breaking drama. Something light, funny and even stupid. Give your brain a break and a chance to escape from everyday worries.
6. Try Anxiety Breathing Techniques – here’s my post about the top 2 breathing techniques for anxiety.
7. Magnesium Oil – most of us are Magnesium deficient and Magnesium is essential for good sleep and stress reduction.
Magnesium deficiency is one of the leading causes of anxiety disorders, yet most people don’t know about this or ignore it.
(I highly recommend that you read Dr. Mark Sircus book – Transdermal Magnesium Therapy)
Rub pure magnesium oil on your feet before you go to sleep. Put your socks on, and leave until morning.
Find out more about the anxiety-Magnesium connection
How to Eliminate Anxiety For Good
Generally, if your anxiousness becomes too much to overcome on your own, cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques can help you find strategies to cope.
Check out my article about CBT for anxiety and find out how and why it can finally rid you of anxiety attacks.
What about you? Do you think you can overcome night anxiety without any pills?
To your health and happiness,