Nighttime can be a challenging time for individuals struggling with anxiety. Anxiety can intensify as the world quiets down and distractions fade away, making it difficult to relax and fall asleep. Darkness brings along fears of what ifs and unknowns, especially if you’ve experienced or heard of traumatic experiences. For both adults and children, falling asleep at night can become a real challenge as their minds race with interactions from the day.
Proven strategies can help you calm anxiety at night and enjoy a more peaceful and restful night’s sleep. In this blog, we’ll explore six effective techniques to help you manage nighttime anxiety.
Symptoms of Nighttime Anxiety
Causes of night-time anxiety include high-stress levels due to struggles in school or family life, certain foods or drinks, anxiety disorders, a history of trauma or abuse, depression, traumatic community and world events, and some medications.
There are several common symptoms of night-time anxiety.
-Rapid heart rate and breathing
-Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
-Worry about not being able to fall asleep
-Needing hand holding
This list is not exhaustive, and the frequency and severity of different symptoms can vary based on the individual.
6 Ways to Reduce Anxiety at Night
While anxiety is a normal human emotion, it can disrupt your daily and nightly life, leaving you more stressed and poorly rested. Without quality sleep, you may feel anxious during the day, unable to concentrate, and tired or irritable. Treating your nighttime anxiety is incredibly important to get good quality sleep and be your very best self.
Here are various ways to reduce symptoms of nighttime anxiety:
- Go for a calming walk: taking a calm, gentle stroll around the house with low lights and a warm beverage in hand (caffeine-free, of course) can help you feel calm. This helps with younger children as well. Walking around the house with them while they’re anxious can help them go to sleep easier. Have your child say good night to everything they’re familiar with: toys, high chair, books, kitchen, bathroom, etc.
- Release tension: If you’re an adult, focus on releasing your pelvic floor and softening your hips, thighs, belly, knees and legs.
- Journal before bed: journaling can help you release your racing thoughts for the evening, knowing that you can tackle whatever makes you anxious when you wake up. It can help you envision letting go of your fears and anxieties. Racing thoughts usually dwell on the past or the future rather than dwelling and being mindful of the present.
- Focus on the present: If your anxiety builds up to a panic attack, try engaging your senses. This helps you to be mindful and focus on the present. Find five things to touch, four things to see, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and finally, one thing you can taste. Or, you can gently rub a washcloth with warm water on your face, neck, and behind the ears. Alternatively, you could use aromatherapy to calm your system (even a pungent onion could do the trick).
- Deep breathing: focus on breathing deeply through your nose and slowly releasing the breath through the mouth. This will help reduce adrenaline levels and calm the nervous system.
- Limit screen time: the blue light emitted by screens can interfere with your sleep-wake cycle. Aim to reduce screen time, especially in the hour leading up to bedtime. If a small amount of screen time calms you before bed, make sure to watch something light and entertaining and avoid the news or anything traumatic.
Overcome Nighttime Anxiety with BLOOM
Calm nights are essential for overall well-being, and managing anxiety is crucial to achieving that. Whether you are experiencing anxiety or you have a child you are trying to help, incorporating the strategies in this blog into your nightly routine can help you take steps toward reducing nighttime anxiety and enjoying restful sleep. Different techniques may work better than others for you or your child, so experiment with the most successful approach.
Raising kids is difficult, especially when you or your child struggle with anxiety and need extra care from specialists. BLOOM is here for you as you go through life’s experiences, fears, realities, anxieties, stressors, and trauma. You gain what you need and regain the happiness of a restful night’s sleep for you and your child. Discover our courses here.