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Nighttime Anxiety and Getting Back to Sleep

September 24, 2015 Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

While at times hard, It's possible to get back to sleep despite nighttime anxiety. Check out this info & 3 tips to get back to sleep despite nighttime anxiety.

Nighttime anxiety can make it difficult to get back to sleep. Yawn if you've ever had this problem: it's the middle of the night, and suddenly you find yourself wide awake. Sure, you're tired, but you're wired, too, which makes that much-needed sleep elusive. Anxious thoughts race through your mind, and no matter what you do, they won't slow down, let alone stop. You need sleep. You want sleep. Believe it or not, it's possible to get back to sleep despite nighttime anxiety.

 

Nighttime Anxiety and An Active Mind

As many of us are painfully aware, anxiety can be present any time of day or night (Anxiety Disorder Symptoms, Anxiety Disorder Signs). One would hope that we could at least experience peaceful rest once we fall asleep. To the frustration of a great many people, though, once something wakes us up, anxiety thinks it's playtime.

One of the major issues in being unable to get back to sleep because of nighttime anxiety is that we have few distractions when we're lying in bed in the dark. We don't have tasks on which to focus, and there aren't people and things around to occupy our thoughts. Sure, the mind frequently races with anxiety in the daytime, but having distractions does help divert our attention. At night, with fewer distractions, anxiety often runs more rampant.

In the middle of the night, anxiety mushrooms. Our minds race faster and our problems seem bigger, worse than they are during the day. Therefore, it's hard to get back to sleep because of nighttime anxiety.

Why Nighttime Anxiety Makes It Hard to Get Back to Sleep

Especially at night, anxiety has free reign. It controls our thoughts and our emotions. It also penetrates the body, creating muscle tension, stomachaches, headaches, and so much more. Yes, anxiety symptoms can occur intensely during the daytime, too, but again, because there is not much to distract us, they feel somehow more noticeable during the nighttime.

Sometimes nighttime anxiety can be so disruptive that it affects sleep on a regular basis. Further, sometimes sleep is so elusive that it increases anxiety; there is often a relationship between anxiety and sleep disorders.

How to Get Back to Sleep Despite Nighttime Anxiety

Anxiety can be hard to deal with; however, it's not impossible to beat anxiety. There are multiple strategies, such as solution-focused strategies, to beat anxiety. So many of these, though, are designed to be used when we're actually supposed to be awake, during the daytime. How are we supposed to get back to sleep despite nighttime anxiety?

There are, indeed, ways to fall back asleep despite anxiety at night. Some involve using the body, others involve using the sense of smell. All involve disengaging the mind rather than fighting with the anxious thoughts.

In the below video, I share three specific techniques to use to get back to sleep despite nighttime anxiety.

Three Tips to Get Back to Sleep Despite Nighttime Anxiety Video

You can also connect with Tanya J. Peterson on her website,Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest.

APA Reference
NCC, T. (2015, September 24). Nighttime Anxiety and Getting Back to Sleep, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 16 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/09/get-back-to-sleep-despite-nighttime-anxiety



Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps, and five critically-acclaimed, award-winning novels about mental health challenges. She speaks nationally about mental health, and she has a curriculum for middle and high schools. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Laurie
says:
July, 25 2018 at 10:33 am
Thank you for this. I find it incredibly helpful to count back from 100. It's easy enough that it doesn't take a lot of brain energy, but distracting enough from my thoughts that I can fall back to sleep. I also use aromatherapy by taking a small spray bottle, filling it with witch hazel, and several drops of lavender or chamomile. Hope these ideas help someone too!
Elliot
says:
April, 30 2018 at 1:20 pm
Why the video for kids- what happened to the adults?

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