Who else struggles with how to calm anxiety at night?
You’re lying in bed, exhausted from the day, desperate to rest but your mind won’t let you. Sound familiar?
I often struggle with an anxious mind. And, there have been many nights where my anxious thoughts have prevented me from a good night’s sleep. Throughout the years, I have learned that there are certain things that I can do, as part of my nighttime routine, to help reduce my anxiety.
In today’s post, I’m sharing ten ways to calm anxiety at night. These are tips that I use and have helped me control my racing thoughts.
I’m hoping these tips will also help you. And remember, you are more than your anxiety. You are a powerful and resilient individual who deserves joy and wellness. Keep making your well-being a priority. You will get through this. We’re in this together. <3
Read more: 6 Types of Self-Care & Ways to Practice Them
# 1 – Unplug From Social Media
Turning off your cell phone and disconnecting from social media is a helpful way to de-stress. Doing this hours before you go to bed will help get you into a calmer, less anxious, state of mind, which is the goal when you’re prone to anxious thoughts at this time of day.
For me, disconnecting from social media, and turning my cell phone off as soon as I’ve finished work for the day, not only helps calm the day’s stress but also helps put things in perspective. When I’m alone with my thoughts, not comparing myself to others, I’m able to think more clearly about everything. I’m also most efficient at problem-solving once I’ve unplugged and refreshed my energy and mind.
Some studies have shown that social media negatively impacts our mental health. So, this is an obvious choice to include in your calming nighttime routine.
2. Complete a Relaxation Exercise
Breathing deeply, doing yoga, completing a body scan or a repetitive prayer – these are all examples of exercises that can help relax your mind.
It’s beneficial to practice relaxation throughout your entire day. These exercises are effective ways of bringing your thoughts back to the present moment, calming your mind, and de-stressing. Even practicing one of these exercises for a couple of minutes each day can be helpful. The key though is consistency – you want to be checking in with yourself regularly, noticing when you’re becoming overwhelmed, and implementing self-care continuously.
Before bed, a relaxation exercise provides the calmness your mind is craving.
Read more: Guided Imagery For Stress + 6 Free Exercises
# 3 – Write in Your Gratitude Journal
Keeping a gratitude journal, and jotting down a few things you are grateful for each night before bed, helps put you in a more positive frame of mind. Choosing to focus on what you have, rather than what you don’t, will provide you with a sense of greater life satisfaction.
When you’re feeling more satisfied with life, you tend to be happier and more optimistic. All these positive thoughts and feelings will help combat any anxious thoughts and feelings, leaving you calmer, more hopeful, and with a grateful heart.
I love keeping a gratitude journal and have found it helpful in many ways throughout my life. Not only has it helped me become more grateful, but it has also helped challenge and overcome my negative thinking and self-talk.
# 4 – Distract The Anxious Mind
There are nights where my anxiety tends to remain, despite my other calming efforts. When this happens, I have found a distraction to be just the right remedy.
Reading a book or watching a movie helps distract me from my anxious thoughts. When my mind focuses on something else, I’m no longer stewing in my negative thoughts, and that helps me.
For this reason, I make it a point to find time to do something I enjoy, and that distracts my mind, before bed. This “Me Time” is part of the crucial self-care we owe to ourselves.
# 5 – Consume a Warm Drink
Drinking warm tea before bed is incredibly soothing.
I enjoy chamomile tea – which is known to have a calming effect, decreasing anxiety and inducing sleep. Some other teas that are best for sleep include lavender, passionflower, valerian, and decaf green tea.
A word of caution, always speak with a health care professional before consuming such teas. These may interfere with your current medications or other aspects of your health.
But any warm drink, as long as it’s caffeine-free, could have a similar soothing effect – much like taking a warm bath, which leads me to…
# 6 – Enjoy a Warm Bath or Shower
Taking a warm bath or shower before bed can help you sleep.
According to an article on Greatist.com, when you leave a warm bath or shower and enter a cooler bedroom, there is a slight drop in your body temperature. This drop leads to your metabolic functions slowing down, like your heart rate, breathing, and digestion. All this helps to induce drowsiness and feelings of sleep.
Adding a lavender-scented bath bomb, for instance, can intensify this benefit since the scent of lavender can help put you in a more relaxed state. Speaking of scents…
# 7 – Burn a Scented Candle
As simple as it may seem, burning a scented candle can serve as a sensory type of self-care.
Burning any scent that you enjoy can help create a calmer environment. But, certain scents are known for inducing relaxation, such as lavender, as I’ve already mentioned above, but also vanilla and jasmine may be worth a try.
If candles are not your thing, try some aromatherapy. Add a few drops of essential oils into a diffuser and have this set in your bedroom for a relaxing and soothing environment, perfect for catching some Zzzs.
A word of caution – essential oils can be harmful to pets, so please research the essential oil you use first. We must protect our fur babies!
# 8 – Get to Bed Early
The healthy number of hours you should sleep a night varies by age, but for adults, it is about 7-9 hours. I know many of us strive to get this many hours of sleep. But, also for many of us, this can be pretty impossible due to a variety of factors.
Getting to bed early (or as early as is possible, for that particular day), gives me more time to calm my mind before actually falling asleep. And, when I’m calmer right before bed, I’m able to sleep better.
Even if I’m not sleeping, when I’m physically in bed, my mind is preparing to slow down and relax. Often, this means I’m having to read for hours before falling asleep, but that’s okay. It still proves to be an effective way of creating a less anxious night.
Going to bed at the same time each night, when possible of course, also helps prepare and ease me into this relaxing bedtime routine. I’ll touch on this bit more in point number 10.
Read more: How Embracing My Anxiety Changed My Life
# 9 – Use a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets are heavier than regular blankets, and help reduce anxiety and allow for better sleep.
These blankets, with their weight, push your body down, causing a calming “grounding” effect on your body, which helps to reduce high levels of stress and anxiety.
I have found that heavier blankets provide me with greater comfort, and create a sense of safety, which all naturally helps reduce my anxiety levels.
Weighted blankets, however, may not be best for everyone, so it is encouraged for you to consult with a health care professional before use.
# 10 – Choose Routine Over Randomness
I have found that having a nighttime routine – a process you become accustomed to, can in itself, reduce your anxiety. Having a plan for de-stressing, rather than thinking of de-stress techniques on the whim, has proven, to me, to be an integral part of relaxing before bed.
The best nighttime routine is one that most suits you. It could be as simple as knowing you will have a warm bath, read one chapter of your favourite book, and do a breathing exercise. It all comes down to consistency, as I’ve already referred to above.
We know consistency and practice helps us stick to something – and sticking to relaxing your anxious mind before bed is of great importance to your overall wellness.
The next time you need to calm anxiety at night, I hope you consider:
- unplugging from social media
- completing a relaxation exercise
- writing in your gratitude journal
- distracting your mind
- consuming a warm drink
- enjoying a warm bath or shower
- burning a scented candle
- getting to bed early
- using a weighted blanket
- choosing routine over randomness.
You owe it to yourself to make your well-being a priority. Here’s to your continued health and happiness.
Until next time <3
What are some ways you calm anxiety at night? Let me know below!
DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this blog is written from personal and lived experience. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional mental health services, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health or mental health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.