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Bad anxiety at night

Does anyone else find that their anxiety peaks more at certain times of day or night than others? As per the title, my anxiety is always worse at night. I find I dwell on unhelpful thoughts so much more at night and they are much harder to manage than during the day. I think it has something to do with the darkness maybe? Who knows. Anyway, lately it's becoming really hard for me to manage (to the point that I am having full on panic attacks, crying and can't sleep) so I was wondering if anyone has any ideas on how to manage it. At the moment I'm just trying to go to bed as a early as possible and wake up as early as possible so that I don't have as much time available at night to worry about things or read until really late at night or early morning as a distraction but neither of these are working all that well, so I'd love to hear any coping strats that other people use.

Re: Bad anxiety at night

Hi delicatedreamer

You know it's pretty common for many issues to crop up at night. Often it's because we're not moving around as much, it's quieter and there are fewer distractions because everyone else is at home or asleep.

How do you manage it during the day? Can you step that up a bit?

If it's the quiet… what about listening to music?

As you probably already know, there's an article about managing stress on the site here:
It's not quite the same as anxiety, I know, but maybe some of those strategies could be applied to what you're experiencing?

What do others do to manage their anxiety at night?

Re: Bad anxiety at night

iam new to this site and this is my first comment or whatever u call it  but i find that audio books are really helpfull

Re: Bad anxiety at night

My depression is always worse at night and thats usually when i end up self-harming.


I think it has something to do with being along at night. Like during the day, i can go and talk to my friends or see someone or go and do something fun like shopping etc to help take my mind off things. Where as at night i cant do any of that and i am left to deal with it on my own.


My phsycologist has suggested to not use your bed for anything but sleeping. Dont use your laptop on your bed, dont read on your bed dont do anything but sleep. that way, your mind thinks "ok, im in bed. its time to sleep now" and it isnt used to doing all those other things (if that even makes sense)

Re: Bad anxiety at night

@Horseygirl1001: That'a good point about being alone, I hadn't really thought about that. I definitely feel a bit more isolated at night (in that there's less to do and I can't access help as easily). Yeah that makes sense what your psychologist said, I've heard that before. I only really use it for reading and writing before bed other than sleeping, but cutting those out might help me to relax more when I go to bed so I'll give it a go.

@meandhelp: I hadn't thought about listening to audiobooks. That might be worth a try. Where do you get them? Also, welcome to RO! Smiley Very Happy

@Lex: Thanks for your reply. All of those possible reasons for my increased anxiety you mentioned make a lot of sense to me. I do mindfulness in the mornings but I can't do it at night unfortunately because my mind wanders too much for me to focus. I also like to do creative things like play music and paint, but that's a bit harder to do at night when everyone is home. I do like writing though and that does seem to help a bit. I might try and make a list of potential coping strats I can use. Thanks for posting the link to the factsheet. I'll go and check it out.

Re: Bad anxiety at night

Just an idea if you think it might be the darkness, what about keeping a light on like from a lamp or a wall plug-in one to see if that calms you. Or like one of the battery run candles.

Re: Bad anxiety at night

Guided meditation helps me stay more focused that just quiet meditation as you have something to listen to - other than your thoughts.


Audio books is also a great suggestion. You can get them on your iphone - there are some free apps with classics. I'm assuming you don't have a kindle but the newer kindles have audio.. and have a good range. 

Re: Bad anxiety at night

@FTP: I already have my lamp on a timer to turn off automatically after 30 minutes so that I can go to sleep with it on if I'm feeling really worried. Thank you for the suggestion though Smiley Happy. Those smaller lights (like the battery operated candle) are a good idea.
@AllyEm: I use guided mindfulness podcasts but I still find I lose my focus on them if I'm really anxious unfortunately. Listening to music seems to keep me a bit more focused though so maybe I can do that instead... I don't have an iPhone unfortunately but my mum is looking into getting a kindle so maybe I can borrow Smiley Tongue

Re: Bad anxiety at night

Hey DD,

I've been suffering from serious anxiety just before I go to bed for years...but it's intensity comes in stages.
A few weeks ago it was really bad and I my psych suggested I did progressive muscle relaxtion.

I don't know about you but when I get anxious in the evening I get a surge of adrenalin and it doesn't matter if i've just spent the last 2 hours exercising, I will feel like I need to get out of bed and start all over again.  Sometimes I do!!  So basically this progressive muscle relaxation is another form of guided meditation.  You tense particular parts of your body and then release them.  I've needed to use really long and intense ones.  I found a couple online which were nice.  You could give it a good try for a few nights and see how it works.  At the moment I don't need to do it, but I know what to do when I get to that point.

Click the progressive muscle one and follow the prompts.

Also I've just started using this new website.  IT'S AMAZING!  I write in a diary pretty much everyday, I have blogs, I twitter etc etc...but what this site allows you to do is JUST WRITE AND WRITE AND WRITE...just write about anything.  It doesn't need to be methodical at all.  That's the reason I like it so much, also I don't tend to handwrite in my diary all me fears and worries cos it takes so long. But because I can type really fast this is good for me. 

So give it a go...try the 750 words before you go to bed.  Do the progressive muscle relaxation.  Then if you start having the thoughts try to talk self talk.  'yes I know I'm having these thoughts, that's okay they can stay there etc etc.'  Or you could even focus your attention to, 'i'm in bed, it's warm, I can feel the sheets lightly pressing against my skin.  They're smooth and I feel safe...etc etc.'  It's another form of mindfulness.

Good luck though!

Re: Bad anxiety at night

@_sagira_: Thanks for all of your suggestions! Yeah, I get a surge of adrenalin too. I just want to pace constantly. I sometimes do some star jumps to try and get it out of my system, lol, but the progressive muscle relaxation might be good too. I did try it as a way to control my anxiety a few years ago and I didn't really like it, however I might like those podcasts that you suggested better, so I'll check them out and give them a go.


750 looks really good Smiley Happy. I really like writing too. I normally do a little bit of writing in a notebook before bed (only about a paragraph or so) and I find that really useful, so the 750 words thing might be good way to build on that and just get things out of my head without limiting what I can say, or having worry that someone will see it. Using self talk to as a mindfulness type of thing is a good idea too! I hadn't thought about that.