Why is my nighttime anxiety worse?

Team Health Cages

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why is anxiety worse at night


The significant impact of nighttime anxiety on both mental health and sleep quality. We explored various factors contributing to anxiety at night, including environmental triggers, stressors, and biological rhythms. Understanding these factors is crucial for developing effective coping strategies.

We also discussed common symptoms of nighttime anxiety, such as panic attacks and insomnia, which can significantly disrupt daily functioning and overall well-being. Additionally, we’ve explored practical tips for managing nighttime anxiety, including establishing bedtime routines, journaling, and seeking professional support when needed. By prioritizing self-care and implementing tailored strategies, individuals can work towards reducing nighttime anxiety and improving sleep quality, ultimately enhancing their overall quality of life.

There are lots of reasons why you might feel more anxious at night. Things like stress during the day, not sleeping well, or having other health problems can make you feel more anxious or have panic attacks at night. But there are ways to help you feel less anxious and sleep better.

This blog will talk about these topics:

Reasons for Anxiety at Night? 

Anxiety can mess up your daily life and even your sleep. Research shows that not getting enough sleep can make anxiety worse, especially for people dealing with mental health issues like anxiety. To feel better, it’s important to deal with both nighttime anxiety and any sleep problems you have.

Anxiety happens when your body reacts to feeling threatened. Lots of things can trigger anxiety

  • Lack of sleep Not getting enough sleep can make you feel more stressed and anxious.
  • Life stress Tough things like problems at work, being sick, or losing someone close to you can make you feel anxious, at least for a while.
  • Traumatic events After something really bad happens, like a natural disaster or a car crash, it’s normal to feel anxious for a while. And if you went through tough stuff when you were a kid, you might have more anxiety as an adult.
  • Genetics Some people are more likely to develop anxiety disorders because of their genes. Going through a hard time can make it more likely for these genes to cause problems.
  • Medicine side effects Certain medicines can make you feel anxious. For example, some steroids, amphetamines, or antihistamines can do this. And stuff like caffeine or nicotine can make anxiety worse too.

Symptoms of Anxiety at Night 

Experiencing anxiety at night can be tough for many people. One big problem is having panic attacks while you’re asleep. These are just like the ones you get during the day, with really intense feelings, but they happen at night. Research says that a lot of people with panic disorder—like around 20% to 45%—have these nighttime panic attacks. When they happen, it’s hard to calm down and go back to sleep, so you end up not getting enough rest and feeling tired the next day.

Also, nighttime anxiety can cause insomnia, where you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Insomnia isn’t just a small problem—it can make you sick. Having insomnia for a long time makes you more likely to have health issues like high blood pressure, makes your immune system weaker, and even increases the chances of accidents because you’re so tired during the day. On top of that, anxiety at night can make you feel all sorts of physical and emotional things, like worrying about what’s going to happen, feeling restless, getting headaches or stomachaches, having tense muscles, having your heart race, and even remembering bad things that happened to you. These things can mess up your ability to relax and sleep well, making the cycle of nighttime anxiety and sleep problems even worse.

Why Is Anxiety Worse at Night?

At night, anxiety can feel worse for a few reasons. First, it’s quieter and lonelier, so anxious thoughts can become stronger without distractions. When there’s less going on around you, these thoughts can take over more easily. Plus, when there’s not much else to focus on, worries can loop in your mind and get more intense.

Also, if you’re tired from the day, it’s harder to deal with anxious thoughts. Nighttime can feel less safe or predictable because there are fewer people around and less happening. Our body’s natural rhythms, like when we naturally feel tired, can also make anxiety worse at night for some people.

During the day, you might be busy and not have time to think about your feelings. But at night, when things calm down, these feelings can come up. And the worry about not being able to sleep can make it even harder to relax and fall asleep.

To feel better, you can try calming activities before bed and make a routine to help you relax. It’s also helpful to talk to someone about your anxiety and find ways to manage it.

How to Calm Anxiety at Night 

If nighttime anxiety is keeping you awake, Tanya J. Peterson suggests several strategies to help manage it:

Establish a Pre-Bedtime Routine

Creating a consistent bedtime routine with good sleep habits can help relax your mind and prepare you for sleep. Avoid screens and engage in relaxation exercises like gentle yoga about 2 hours before bed to balance your nervous system.

Journaling Before Bed

Writing down your thoughts before bed can prevent you from dwelling on them throughout the night. You can jot down your worries or focus on gratitude to ease your mind.

Consider a Light Snack

A light snack before bed can help stabilize blood sugar levels. Avoiding caffeine is crucial, as it can increase anxiety and disrupt sleep. Be mindful of drinking too much liquid before bed, opting for calming beverages like chamomile tea if necessary.

Get Up if You Can’t Sleep

Staying in bed while your mind races can be counterproductive. If you’re unable to fall asleep due to anxious thoughts, get up and engage in a relaxing activity with low light. This helps distract your mind and allows your body to settle down.

While these coping strategies can be helpful, Peterson emphasizes the importance of seeking therapy or medication if needed. Working with a therapist or considering anxiety medication can provide additional support tailored to your individual needs. Treatment for anxiety varies from person to person, so it’s essential to explore options that work best for you.


In conclusion, nighttime anxiety can be a challenging experience, impacting both mental well-being and sleep quality. Understanding the reasons behind nighttime anxiety, such as environmental factors, stressors, and biological rhythms, is crucial in finding effective coping strategies. From establishing calming bedtime routines to seeking professional help, there are various approaches to managing nighttime anxiety and improving sleep.

It’s essential to prioritize self-care and develop a personalized plan for addressing anxiety at night. This may involve practicing relaxation techniques, journaling, and making lifestyle adjustments to promote better sleep hygiene. Additionally, seeking support from therapists or considering medication options can provide valuable assistance in managing anxiety symptoms.

By implementing these strategies and seeking appropriate support, individuals can work towards reducing nighttime anxiety and enhancing overall well-being. Remember that managing anxiety is a journey, and it’s okay to seek help along the way. With patience, self-compassion, and proactive steps, it’s possible to find relief and enjoy restful nights once again.


Q1. Why do I feel more worried at night?

A1. At night, our minds are like a big empty room. When we’re tired and our minds are wide open, we’re more likely to think anxious thoughts that bother us. If feeling anxious at night makes it hard for you to do things during the day, you might want to talk to a mental health expert for help.

Q2. What is the 3-3-3 rule for anxiety?

A2. This is a simple trick you can use anytime when you’re feeling anxious. It’s easy to remember, and you can do it almost anywhere. It helps you to focus and calm down when you’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety. You just look around and name three things you see, listen and name three things you hear, and then move three different parts of your body.

Q3. What’s the best way to treat feeling anxious at night?

A3. Doing mindfulness and deep breathing exercises can make you feel less anxious before you go to bed. If you keep feeling anxious at night all the time, it’s a good idea to talk to a professional to help you figure out why and to help you sleep better.

Q4. Does feeling anxious at night ever stop?

A4. Many people can deal with their anxiety about sleep with the right help. But it’s important to know that some treatments, like medication or therapy, might take a while to start working. Don’t give up on treatment too soon if you don’t see immediate changes.

Q5. When do people feel more anxious?

A5. Similarly, for people who have panic attacks, they usually feel most anxious in the afternoon. But they might feel like there’s more danger in the morning.

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