Why Does Anxiety Seem To Get Worse At Night?


Being all cozied up at home in flannel jammies with a cup of pumpkin spice latte in hand should be the ultimate safe space from anxiety.

You’re far away from your boss. You’re no longer dealing with impatient commuters. You don’t have anyone to answer to but yourself (i.e. your email is finally out of service for the night).

Why do you feel more anxious now than you did all day long?

It seems like the complete opposite of how anxiety should work.

That’s kinda the hallmark of dealing with it, right?

You never know when the deathly grip of anxiety is going to strike. As it turns out, anxiety being minimal during the day then coming in like a ton of bricks once you’re winding down is a super-common experience.

It’s the first time of the day when no one is asking you any questions or you’re trying to meet a deadline. It’s when you’re first alone with your thoughts.  The entire day’s worth of thoughts come into your mind.

That causes a high level of anxiety.

So sure, it’s totally normal—just not much fun! To lay in bed sweating about any and every worry you held off during the day.

But how are you actually supposed to wind down and get some shut-eye with all those thoughts hovering over you? To combat the anxiety—and even any physical symptoms that arise, like heavy breathing, a rapid heart rate, and chills—it helps to start preparing hours before you hit the sheets, then focus on calming your body down once you do.

This is what happens.

It’s when you’re first alone with your thoughts, and the entire day’s worth of thoughts come into your mind, which causes a high level of anxiety.  At night.

Here’s the truth.

It takes all day to create a sleep problem at night.

If you ignore your stress and anxiety all day long, you can’t expect it to magically disappear at bedtime, allowing you to sleep soundly until morning,

Relaxation exercises, mindfulness meditation, coloring, and mind-body exercise can all help reduce your stress throughout the day, as well as in the evenings before bedtime. Many of the natural supplements that help sleep are also beneficial for stress and anxiety, including magnolia bark or lavender. By giving yourself a little TLC throughout the day and after you get home at night, you’ll be primed to getting a great night of sleep. Of course, if symptoms persist, seek the opinion of a doctor so you can find a solution that works for you.

Make sense?

Loretta Holmes, MA CMHWC is an ADHD Coach and NLP Practitioner at Bella Coaching Services.  Before pursuing a career in coaching, she worked as a special education teacher. Today, she combines her skills in teaching, psychology, and coaching to help humans feel like superheroes.

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