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21 Nighttime Anxiety Thoughts You're Not the Only One Having

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For those who have anxiety, nighttime can be tough. Anxious thoughts you had during the day can also come out at night, and those anxious thoughts can keep you awake when all you want is rest. It’s easy to feel isolated when anxiety keeps you up at night.

Sometimes your anxiety makes you concerned about your safety. (Did I lock the door? Are the windows shut? Are all the lights off?) Other times, it focuses on your work or school life. (Did I do enough at work today? I need to do more to prove to my supervisor that I’m a good employee.) Nighttime anxiety thoughts can even make you dwell on the past or the future. (I’m so overwhelmed with tomorrow. I made too many mistakes that led to this.)

You may feel alone in these thoughts, but others face similar nighttime anxiety thoughts, too.  

We wanted to know what anxious thoughts keep people up at night, so we reached out to our mental health community. If you struggle with these anxious thoughts at night, know you are not alone.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

  1. “’I didn’t get even close to as much done as I should have, and everyone is going to think I’m lazy because of it.’”– Sam M.
  2. “‘What if I sleep through my alarm? I can’t be late. What if I forget to set my alarm?’” — Katie S.
  3. “‘Is the door locked? Is the baby breathing? Is the dishwasher going to set the house on fire while we’re sleeping? Did I take my pill? Is the baby breathing? What day of the week is it? Did I wash my uniform? Did I take my pill? I really should drink more water.’” –Nicky P.
  4. “I always worry about waking up late for work or not being able to get enough sleep in to feel good in the morning for work.” –Lisa K.
  5. “The night before an appointment that I don’t want to go to (or any appointment), I just think about it and just worry about it because I hate appointments.” — Vicki C.
  6. “Reoccurring panic that some one is breaking in, or the house will catch fire while I sleep. Nighttime is awful.” — Jessica B.
  7. “‘I need to get some more sleep or I’ll be exhausted today. If I’m too exhausted, I’m just going to feel worse.’” — Lulu B.
  8. “Cue a whole reel of embarrassing memories that make me ashamed of myself that keep me up for an hour or more, and then cue me getting so emotionally fatigued that I fall asleep.” — Jacob B.
  9. “‘I’m so overwhelmed with tomorrow. I made too many mistakes that led to this. I have had to ask for help. I want to be independent, but I am unable.’” — Douglas T.
  10. “Any banging sound outside or animal sound sends the anxiety back up and the loop starts again. It’s usually just foxes making the noise, but anxiety says it is my cats in trouble.” — Alysia M.
  11. “I worry that I didn’t do enough that day and end up feeling bad for resting and recuperating. It makes me so anxious because I know I can’t get that time back. It’s frustrating, especially when I needed that rest.” — Julia F.
  12. “‘Geez, I shouldn’t have napped. It threw me off. Now I’m not sleeping.’” — Maria G.
  13. “Every night I have a reoccurring thought that spirals out of control and keeps me up for hours before I can finally fall asleep. That thought is about waking up in the morning. I always fear waking up in the morning and getting through yet another day. I think of all the things that can go wrong when I wake up that morning and that triggers a panic attack.” — Emelie P.
  14. “‘It’s going to happen again. I’m going to dream of him cheating on me, and it will happen.’”– Alejandra S.
  15. “‘Will I be able to graduate college? Will the professor of the class I need understand my anxiety disorder?’” — Alex L.
  16. “‘Sunday nights are the worst. Tomorrow is Monday. I have to go back to work. What if my boss yells at me? What if I get fired?’” — Anne S.
  17. “‘Is tomorrow going to be a good day? A bad day? Am I going to make it through the day without a panic attack?’” — Manda J.
  18. “Right when I’m about to sleep, every single night since I was little, I always feared someone came into the house and was waiting around somewhere. So every night I get up, check every room, even the laundry room and go back to bed feeling reassured and can fully go to sleep.” — Monica S.
  19. “At night when I’m already in bed, I start to think about all the things I did during the day, and I find myself constantly hating the lack of activities I have (especially on Friday nights), and I start to question everything, from why I didn’t go out to why I didn’t tell my friends that I wanted to go out.” — Rocio I.
  20. “‘What nightmare will I have tonight? Am I ever going to be OK? Will I ever not be lonely and unloved?’ In my waking daytime life, I know that I’m loved by my kids, but lately nighttime means severe anxiety.” — Amanda E.
  21. “‘Did I lock the door? Are the windows shut? Are all the lights off? Is that footsteps? Is someone in here?’” — Emi S.

Although nighttime anxiety thoughts can make you feel exhausted and isolated, you’re not alone.

If you’re looking to ease your anxiety at night, check out some of these helpful posts below that may give you some good ideas of where to start:

Unsplash via Gregory Pappas

Originally published: October 17, 2018
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