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 of your mind. Or it can suddenly wake you up in the middle of the night and cause a full-blown 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.
Gradually you start suffering from major sleep deprivation.
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What Triggers Night Anxiety?
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 various strategies to modulate these concerns, including taking direct action to address them.
Lying in bed in a dark room, worries become overwhelming and inescapable.
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 falling asleep much harder. You toss and turn and the anxious thoughts emerge, and now you can forget about healthy sleep.
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.
Experts call this “catastrophizing“.
How to Prevent Night Anxiety
To prevent anxiety at night, the most important thing to avoid is lying in bed and trying 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, restorative sleep, and anxiety relief.
The one I use – Simply Transformative Hemp CBD Oil – is a custom-made optimized CBD Hemp Oil that offers all the health benefits of CBD without getting you high.
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) and improved my sleep quality greatly.
👉 Read more about CBD oil HERE.
2. CBD Infused Pillow – the best way to get the benefits of CBD – without ingesting it. See my post about the Cbd Infused Pillow!
3. 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!
5. 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.
6. 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 remind my brain that the bed is the place to sleep – not the place for stressing, worrying, and obsessing.
- Don’t go back to sleep before bedtime. 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.
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’s book – Transdermal Magnesium Therapy)
Rub pure magnesium oil on your feet before you go to sleep. Put your socks on, and leave until morning.
7. Improve your sleep environment – turn your bedroom into a perfect place for sleep:
- Clean out all the clutter
- Get rid of all electronics (well maybe except for the alarm clock 😉)
- Keep it dark, cool and quiet
- Consider using aromatherapy. I have this essential oil diffuser and I use a few drops of the calming Lavender oil – every night.
More Ways to Stop Anxiety Attacks
If your night anxiety turns into a full-blown panic attack – don’t lose hope just yet. Here’s how to stop a panic attack naturally – In 30 seconds.
And here’s another CBT technique to stop anxious thoughts. Both were very helpful to me.
To your health and happiness,
Casteleijn D, Steel A, Bowman D, Lauche R, Wardle J. A naturalistic study of herbal medicine for self-reported depression and/or anxiety a protocol. Integr Med Res. 2019;8(2):123–128. doi:10.1016/j.imr.2019.04.007
Musty, Richard. (2006). Cannabinoids and anxiety. 10.1007/3-7643-7358-X_7.
Malcolm BJ, Tallian K. Essential oil of lavender in anxiety disorders: Ready for prime time?. Ment Health Clin. 2018;7(4):147–155. Published 2018 Mar 26. doi:10.9740/mhc.2017.07.147