Anxiety is a human emotion that is characterized by feelings of worry and nervousness. Millions of people all over the world feel anxious for different reasons and at different times. Nighttime anxiety has been known to worsen the condition. Why is that so? Continue reading to find out more about why anxiety is worse at night.
Symptoms of anxiety
Before we go ahead to discuss why nighttime anxiety is worse you should be able to first tell whether or not you are suffering from anxiety.
There are many symptoms of anxiety and different people experience anxiety differently. For some, it’s frequent in the daytime and for others at night. Even though the symptoms differ between persons, there are some common symptoms to be on the lookout for and they are:
- Feelings of restlessness, worry, and nervousness.
- Gastrointestinal problems.
- Difficulty in staying or falling asleep.
- Difficulty in concentration.
People suffering from anxiety can experience a panic attack. A panic attack is a moment of intense and extreme fear, that is usually accompanied by physical manifestations.
Why anxiety is worse at night
Anxiety at night is worse because it prevents you from sleeping and while you lack sleep, it also increases your anxiety. To this moment, there is no clear reason as to why anxiety increases for people at night rather it could as a result of a variety of factors.
One way to look at it is when the lights in your room go off, and everywhere becomes quiet, at this time you are less distracted and it gives you more room to ponder or worry about things that bother you like your relationship, finances, job, career, etc. Normally, sleep is supposed to be a haven to protect us from such thoughts but when you now experience difficulty in falling asleep it may prompt you to keep worrying about several other things.
Other reasons why anxiety increases at night time include:
- You recently had a traumatic experience or you are having a pre-existing PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
- You may have a certain medical condition. A typical example is a study that was able to link nighttime anxiety to menopause.
- You drank too much caffeine close to bedtime or during the day which makes you jittery and anxious.
- Worry or fear of the next day or your future.
Anxiety treatment includes self-help strategies and scheduling an appointment with your doctor or a healthcare professional. Help care professionals can help with anxiety problems that are related to medical conditions or difficulties in sleeping. Self-help strategies like maintaining good sleep habits can also go a long way in helping you with your anxiety problem. Other treatment methods include medications, psychotherapy, or a mixture of both.
Studies have shown that psychotherapy treatments like exposure therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy can help treat anxiety.
This therapy is used to reduce the fear of having anxiety at night and also trouble sleeping as a result of your anxiety.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
A study showed that CBT can improve both sleep latency (i.e., how long it’ll someone to fall asleep) and sleep quality of people with anxiety.
There are a lot of medications that can be used for the treatment of anxiety, some of them are:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor.