19 Tips for When Anxiety Keeps You Up at Night


Having anxiety is difficult, but it can often become more difficult when anxious thoughts keep you up at night. It’s as if anxiety waits until our heads hit the pillow to start in on the things we still need to do, ruminate on worst-case scenarios and replay things from the day we wish we could do over.

So to help put these anxious thoughts to bed, we asked our mental health community to share what helps them cope with anxiety at night.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. “I have to sleep with the TV on. For some reason, by focusing on what’s on the TV, I can block out what I’m dwelling on.” — Ashleigh T.

2.I try and recite the alphabet backwards in my head.” — Be B.

3. “Starting from my toes to the top of my head, relaxing each muscle possible in sections. Also, tightening my whole body for 10 seconds, then releasing.” — Amy P.

4. “I cannot sleep without my white noise machine. I have it on the ocean waves setting because the ocean is my happy place.” — Katie C.

5. “Making unimportant lists!” — Karen J.

6. “I diffuse essential oils with calming scents. My favorite [is] lavender mixed with some peppermint. It helps my breathing and the calming scent of lavender can help me unwind and fall asleep.” — Danielle M.

7. “Yoga stretching, really hot shower, petting my kitten, eating a handful of nuts and a breakfast bar, switching pajamas several times, adjusting ceiling fan, repeating military alphabet.” — Rachel S.

8. “Prayer. It calms me, relaxes me and helps me get to sleep.” — Erin M.

9. “Music often comes with too many emotions, but silence is awful. I listen to comedy TV on low. It helps to drown out the thoughts in my head without potential negative emotions.” –Danielle E.

10. “Listening to Sarah McLachlan. I used to listen to her with my psychotherapist and now, when she comes on, there is a calm that just automatically comes over me. I carry my headphones and iPod wherever I go and if I start to feel overwhelmed or anxious, I’ll go sit by myself and listen to Sarah.” — Shannon S.

11. “For me, it’s normally a long cry and a bath. If I’m not too exhausted then I get up and find something to do that will make me sleepy, like a household chore.” — Katie J.

12. “That text from that special one who somehow has the ability to know when I’m falling all the way down and naturally cheers me up.” — Dang H.

13. “Counting my blessings. Visualization of a happy place.” — Marney R.

14.I lie on my back and tell myself I’m entitled to a good night’s sleep and it’s my time to relax.” — Julie B.

15. “I watch baby animal videos. I can’t help but smile when I see a puppy!” –Hailie H.

16. “Audiobooks set to a timer and soft fairy lights and my dogs asleep at the bottom of the bed. Soft bedding helps and something nicely scented on [the] bedside table. Starting a nighttime routine was important too.” — Edel W.

17. “Listen to my husband snore. It’s actually really soothing to me.” — Bonnie E.

18. “Taking deep breaths and [using a] grounding method. I look around the room and once I’ve gained some control, I walk around and touch five things. It somehow brings me back to the present.” — Anna C.

19. “Hugging my stuffed lion.” — Anita F.

What would you add?


19 Tips for When Anxiety Keeps You Up at Night
TOPICS
, Contributor list
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Anxiety

family at wedding

The Time I Had a Panic Attack at a Wedding (Without Anyone Realizing)

I was running late. I don’t remember the exact details of why I was late, and they remain an ever elusive blur, but I remember checking my watch while getting my hair done. I had 10 minutes to finish getting ready, and I wasn’t even halfway there. My dress lay un-ironed on my bed, makeup [...]
Floating Balloon In The Air

When Anxiety Tells Me Everyone I Love Will Leave Me

Living with anxiety for me means living every day with the constant worry that everyone in my life who means something to me will one day up and leave me. It means needing to insistently talk to and interact with everyone in my life. I feel like I am holding a bundle of helium-filled air [...]
Teenage girl stands thinking with mobile phone in street

To My Parents, Whose Daughter Struggles With 'High-Functioning' Anxiety

Dear Mum and Dad, I know it is difficult for you. No parent wants to see their child in pain – whether that be emotional or physical. As parents, you taught me how to walk and to talk, you taught me the importance of love and kindness, you taught me values in life that are important [...]
woman blocks her face with her hands

When Anxiety Convinces Me Everyone Is Judging My Appearance

My anxiety has dictated my schedule for a long time. Almost everything I need to do outside the house — school, work, grocery shopping, the occasional haircut, etc. —is within 10 minutes of my house. Because of this, normally I wouldn’t need to wake up until maybe 20 minutes beforehand — get up, dress in five [...]