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Tips for When Anxiety Keeps You Awake

by BetterSleep
May 10 • 4 min read
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Few things are more frustrating than being unable to fall asleep at night. A common cause of this is anxiety. Without other distractions, it’s easy to let your mind wander, and let the worries creep in. The next time you find anxiety building as you lie in bed wide awake, use these tips to calm your mind, relax, and fall asleep.

Why You Get Anxious at Night

Most people have more anxiety at night than during the day. Even if you’re tired at bedtime, anxious thoughts can take over. If you have an anxiety disorder, nighttime worry and insomnia are even more likely.

Bedtime anxiety is so common because the mind goes from being busy and active all day to quiet. With nothing else to occupy your mind, intrusive thoughts have a better chance of taking hold. The more you worry about what happened that day or what’s to come tomorrow, the harder it is to sleep, and then you feel more anxious. It’s a cycle you need to break.

Unwinding, Anxiety, and Getting More Sleep

Anxiety is inevitable to some degree, but it shouldn’t keep you up at night. Try these tips to relax, unwind, and soothe the anxious voices in your head.

  • Make bedtime a routine to make it easier to fall asleep in general. When you go to bed at the same time every night, it becomes a habit. Your mind will start to wind down naturally as you get close to that time.
  • Be active during the day, as regular exercise improves sleep in general. If possible, get outside too, or work near a window during the day to get natural light. Light is an essential part of the sleep-wake cycle. Without adequate daytime exposure, you will find it harder to sleep at night.
  • Get up and do something else if your worries keep you awake for more than 20 minutes. Break the cycle by getting up and resetting your bedtime routine.
  • Write down your worries. A worry journal gives you a chance to acknowledge and then let go of anxious thoughts.
  • Listen to relaxing music to calm your mind, lower your blood pressure, and lower your heart rate.
  • Try a weighted blanket. Some people find it soothing. The comforting weight of the blanket helps you feel grounded and reduces cortisol, the stress hormone.
  • Read or listen to a bedtime story to occupy your mind and distract yourself from anxious thoughts.
  • Do a quick breathing exercise or other stress-relief technique that you like. Just a minute of focused breathing can significantly lower your stress and help you stop worrying.
  • Meditate for a few minutes or until you stop worrying and feel sleepy. Meditation reduces stress and anxiety by focusing your mind on the present moment and providing perspective. Guided meditations for sleep and anxiety are designed to prepare you for bed.

If anxiety consistently troubles you at night and keeps you awake, try the tools available on the BetterSleep app. Make the guided meditation, music for anxiety, gentle exercises, and bedtime stories part of your soothing, pre-sleep routine.

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