What is anxiety, and why is it worse at night?

Anxiety is a natural stress response. Having anxiety that comes and goes based on particular situations is entirely normal. Individuals are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder when their anxiety is prolonged or causes disruptions in daily life. The causes, symptoms, and patterns can change from person to person. A common similarity with those who experience anxiety seems to be that they experience it especially at nighttime.

What are the causes for anxiety at night?

While the reasons for anxiety may widely vary, some common reasons may be:

  • Stress building during the day
  • Avoiding problems during the day
  • Poor sleep hygiene
  • Insufficient diet or exercise habits
  • Various health conditions (IBS, diabetes, chronic pain, depression, mood disorders, etc.)
  • Links to natural circadian rhythm

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

Even though the symptoms may not be the same from one person to the next, common symptoms include:

  • Excessive worrying
  • Changes in mood or behavior (such as increased agitation or depression)
  • Physiological changes that are often associated with fight or flight responses (i.e.: rapid heartbeat and shallow breathing)
  • New or worsening insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in social behavior
  • Changes in appetite

This list can also change depending on the type of anxiety an individual is diagnosed with. Mental symptoms are often the most common, but physiological symptoms may also occur in some patients. Most people can identify some anxiety symptoms in their daily lives because of a rapidly changing world and high demands from work and personal lives. However, those who suffer from an anxiety disorder will experience these symptoms more profoundly and for extended amounts of time. Talking with mental health providers or therapists is a great place to start for anyone worried that they may be suffering from chronic anxiety.

What can you do to combat anxiety?

What can you do to combat anxiety?

Seeking professional counseling is a great place to start. Mental health experts are invaluable when looking to lower anxiety and any other associated mental health issues. Over the last year, teletherapy has helped countless people and can contribute to positive mental health. Seeking professional help is the first step in treating anxiety disorders, and they can provide many solutions that work in our day-to-day lives.

Three ways to address nighttime anxiety:

Some solutions that have been proven effective in combating anxiety include:

Write in a journal and set a time for reflection

Journaling is a fantastic way for the brain to work through thoughts and concerns and help with excessive worrying. One idea would be to write a worry list and dedicate an hour to solving each day's list.

Have a nightly routine

In a world of multitasking and technology, routines are critical for our natural circadian rhythms. Create a relaxing regimen for bedtime. Meditate, use aromatherapy, have a warm bath, or limit technology use around bedtime to help the mind wind down from the stresses of the day.

Treat underlying health conditions

In some cases, underlying health conditions can contribute to an anxiety disorder. Talk with your primary care physician to see what steps can be taken to help underlying health conditions.

Our Therapists Can Help with Anxiety

BCB Therapy is a group of caring, compassionate counselors and therapists that can help those in the Oregon area both in person and virtually through telehealth. Our clinic in Bend, Oregon provides in-person services to those in or around the Bend area. Contact us to learn more about our therapists and frequently asked questions about therapy and counseling. If you live in Oregon and suffer from chronic anxiety, please reach out to our staff to schedule an appointment. With BCB Therapy, you don't have to deal with anxiety alone.


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