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Night Time Anxiety, What To Do When You Can’t Sleep

Is worry wrecking your sleep? Night time anxiety is not a new phenomenon. In fact, according to a study made by Anxiety UK, 80% of people claim their anxiety whirlwinds...

Is worry wrecking your sleep?

Night time anxiety is not a new phenomenon. In fact, according to a study made by Anxiety UK, 80% of people claim their anxiety whirlwinds at night, which can be detrimental to sleep.  

So next time you find yourself suffering from racing thoughts try these tips for managing your anxiety and get a more restful nights sleep. 


Put your phone down, switch off the tech

It seems like the most obvious thing to do, but we still find it hard to beat temptation. Your body secretes the hormone melatonin, (sleep hormone) prior to bed, but did you know what can counter this? Blue light, the kind illuminating from your smartphone screens. Light from devices suppresses melatonin production, making it harder for the body to naturally ready itself for bed. There is also the active stimulation your brain gets when you're engaging on your devices. The longer you stay on your phone before bed, the longer it takes for the brain to tune off and relax and not only does the screen brightness make you more alert, but it can also create body anxiety which, in turn, negatively impacts sleep. 

‘Brain dump’ your worries on a notepad

Often in the midst of nighttime anxiety it can seem like there are a million worries and fears about all the things you should be doing. Journaling before bed can be an excellent outlet to unload all the mounting fears swirling in your mind, making it a great stress reliever. Try having a notebook and pen on your bedside table, and don’t think too hard on what you need to write. This isn’t about you being the next Shakespeare, it’s about you giving your head some breathing room.


Meditation allows you to create mental safe spaces through countering the stress response brought on by racing thoughts. For someone whose mind goes into overdrive as soon as the lights go out, it can be a grounding way to ease the body’s fear reactions back to normal. Apps such as Calm and Headspace provide excellent guided meditations which allow you to calmly follow instructions set by experts, so you’re not alone whilst in the process of calming down. Try meditating upright before bed for ten minutes, to settle yourself into a clearer mental frame of mind. Meditation has a symbiotic relationship with yoga and guided practices to quiet your mind may finally help you get the rest you require.

Take a Hot Shower

Just like light affects melatonin production, so does body temperature. Hot showers naturally loosen the muscles, putting you in a state of relaxation, however, when timed an hour and a half before bed, the shift from a warmer to a cooler body temperature can have you sleeping faster. This isn’t only limited to showers. Hot baths are just as effective, and can be paired with other relaxants such as burning essential oils or using Epsom salts to unwind.

Listen to Ambient Sound

Anxious thoughts are notorious for creating suffocating internal white noise, so how about drowning the internal noise with external sounds? Sounds like ocean waves or white noise, for example, trigger the brain to relax as it synthesises the stimulant as non-threatening and therefore calming. The same can be said for ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response) sounds, which stimulate the brain and body to the point of blissful relaxation. Creating an experienced characterised by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin...

If these tips do not help, it may be best to also consider looking into the root of your anxiety. Consider talking to a counsellor regarding how you approach your issues or talk to your GP for further help in how to quell night time panic. Remember not to put yourself in too much pressure, don’t force the process, take it one step at a time, and hopefully you’ll be drifting off soon.


Written by Julie-Ann Robertson, TV producer


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