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5 surprising ways to calm anxiety at night

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Has this ever happened to you? It’s 3 am and you find yourself lying in bed. You’re wide awake, as anxiety takes hold of your thoughts, robbing you of the peaceful night’s sleep you so desperately crave. I don’t know about you but my anxiety gets worse as evening approaches. Fortunately, we’re not alone since nearly 40 million Americans said that they have a hard time unwinding at night. Fed up with this situation, I’ve decided to uncover the secret of how to calm my anxiety at night and reclaim my blissful evenings.

Why is anxiety worse at night?

Although my anxiety vacillates throughout the day depending on the situation and my stress level, I have noticed that it’s worse at night.

Is that true for you?

Anxiety can feel different for everyone. For me it typically includes racing thoughts and my breathing becomes shallow.

Sometimes I even feel my muscles tensing and my mouth getting dry.

The reason anxiety is typically worse at night is that when you lie down in bed, your mind is free to roam. You may find your mind racing from one thought to the next, unable to relax or calm down.

When this happens, your worries get louder.

Bedtime anxiety can make it feel impossible to fall asleep.

Then you wake up the next morning feeling drained and stressed.

Trust me, I’ve gone through this vicious cycle several times and have finally figured out five proven techniques that will help calm your mind and promote deep relaxation.

With these powerful strategies in our arsenal, we can bid farewell to sleepless nights and embrace the tranquility we deserve!

How to calm anxiety

If you struggle with anxiety on a regular basis, I recommend that you see a physician.

There are some medical conditions that can exacerbate your anxiety and getting it treated will help alleviate it.

If you’ve seen a physician and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions, then I recommend that you do the following.

1. Identify the triggers

To effectively calm anxiety, it’s essential to identify the triggers that ignite those feelings of unease and restlessness.

Pinpointing what sets off your anxiety will help you be in the driver’s seat and take proactive steps to manage it.

Identifying triggers is a crucial part of understanding your anxiety and developing personalized coping tools to regain control.

This is not easy to do since it’ll require you to self-reflect and evaluate what is causing your anxiety to peak in the first place.

However, once you have a better understanding of your anxiety you know what tools to use to reduce the impact it has on you.

One activity that has helped me immensely is journaling especially at night.

art journal therapy ideas

When you take a few minutes to write down your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, you feel better and can look at a situation through a different lens.

New to journaling? Here’s the perfect beginner’s guide to journaling.

Don’t like writing, you can also try art journaling.

Or try another technique fellow blogger Katherine Beard suggests called “brain dumping.” I absolutely love this method and the free worksheet that you can use.

What I love about journaling and the brain-dumping method is that I write down everything running through my head. It’s kind of like my stream of consciousness. It may not make sense to anyone but it’s all the incessant voices trying to bid for attention in my mind.

Once I write everything down, the voices quiet down and I feel a lot more relaxed.

Taking the time to self-reflect will help you identify patterns and identify common triggers.

Most importantly, writing will quiet the worries in your mind.

2. Talk to a mental health professional

As someone who suffers from anxiety, I can attest to the value of talking to a mental health professional.

However, I am also biased since I am a licensed mental health professional. I know that helping someone figure out how to calm anxiety at night will help them feel better overall.

Therapy offers a supportive environment to explore your anxiety triggers and develop coping strategies tailored to your specific needs.

In some cases, triggers may be more deeply rooted and require more thorough examination.

Some of the techniques that I use with clients such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help reframe negative thought patterns and responses to triggers.

What is remarkable about CBT is that you will understand the underlying beliefs and fears associated with your anxiety, and can better manage its impact on your overall well-being.

It’s hard to find a good therapist but my helpful guide will help you start therapy the right way.

Remember, the journey to identifying triggers and managing anxiety is a continuous process.

As you gain more self-awareness, you’ll become better equipped to handle anxiety-inducing situations with confidence and resilience.

With each trigger identified and addressed, you take one step closer to a more peaceful night’s sleep and a calmer state of mind.

3. Practice deep breathing

Do you want to know my 60-second secret to calm anxiety at night?

It’s easy….start taking some deep breaths!

Deep breathing exercises have been shown to activate the body’s relaxation response, helping to calm both the mind and body.

By focusing on your breath and slowing down your breathing, you can create a sense of calm and mindfulness amidst anxious thoughts and feelings.

Pantea Rahimian

Take control. Feel better.

Start your Self-care Journey.

Take control.
Feel better.

Start your
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Deep breathing can be done anywhere, anytime, making it an accessible and convenient tool for managing anxiety.

It’s especially helpful if you share a room or bed with someone and do not want to disturb them because you’re restless.

Deep breathing exercises to calm anxiety

  • Lie down comfortably and close your eyes
  • Take a deep breath in through your nose
  • Allowing your belly to expand as you fill your lungs with air
  • Hold your breath for a few seconds
  • Then slowly exhale through your mouth emptying your lungs completely
  • Repeat 10 times

As you continue this deep breathing pattern, you might notice your heart rate slowing down and your muscles beginning to relax.

The act of focusing on your breath can divert your attention away from anxious thoughts, helping to bring a sense of grounding and serenity.

Pantea Rahimian practicing yoga at Sol Seek

Practice deep breathing exercises regularly, and gradually increase the duration of each inhale and exhale to deepen the relaxation response.

4. Engage in relaxation exercises

One of the best little secrets I’ve uncovered about calming anxiety at night is engaging in relaxation exercises.

There are several to choose from, varying from just a few minutes to an hour of practice.

My favorite relaxation exercise is restorative yoga.

Typically on Sunday nights, I spend an hour participating in a restorative yoga class at my favorite yoga studio. I’ve noticed that I sleep soundly and do not have any anxiety.

You can also try this short 15-minute restorative yoga video which I love.

Another effective technique is called progressive muscle relaxation.

This technique involves systematically tensing and then releasing each muscle group in your body, creating deep relaxation and a sense of physical calm.

I use the Calm app nightly and follow the progress muscle relaxation technique which helps ease the stress from my body.

In addition, giving my mind something to do rather than think helps me immensely.

Progressive muscle exercises help release built-up tension.

It also encourages a heightened sense of bodily awareness and relaxation.

The key is to find a practice that resonates with you and fits into your routine.

By regularly engaging in relaxation exercises, you can cultivate a sense of inner calm and pave the way for a peaceful night’s sleep.

5. Make your own bedtime routine

One active step that I highly recommend is that you create a bedtime routine and stick to it.

The benefit of having a bedtime routine is that it signals to your mind and body that it’s time to relax, unwind and prepare for sleep.

A bedtime routine is not just for children; it can be a game-changer for adults too.

An asian woman lying on her back with her eyes closed sleeping in a dark room o learn how to wake up feeling refreshed

You can read a book, take a bath, or listen to soothing music.

Need some more ideas? Check out the ultimate bedtime routine that will pave the way for a peaceful night’s sleep.

Ultimately, the goal of a bedtime routine is to create rituals that signal to your body and mind that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

Consistency is key here, so try to establish a predictable routine that you can stick to every night.

Doing so will help regulate your body’s internal clock and enhance your chances of falling asleep quickly and peacefully.


Facing my anxiety and worries at night has not been easy but after incorporating these five effective techniques, I’ve noticed that the anxiety is quieter.

Although conquering nighttime anxiety initially takes a lot of work, it is well worth it because you feel better.

By first identifying triggers, you will understand what is behind the anxiety in the first place.

Engaging in self-care activities like deep breathing and relaxation exercises is essential as part of your daily routine.

More importantly, you can consider a bedtime routine, or talking to a therapist to help you get control of your anxiety.

Remember, a good night’s sleep is not only possible but within your reach. So why wait? Start implementing these techniques tonight and experience the profound impact they can have on your well-being.

Do you know how to calm anxiety at night? What techniques have been helpful in helping you calm anxiety at night? What has worked well and what did you find less helpful? Please share your stories and comments below.

Now, it's up to you to take action!

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  2. Get started now and include what you’ve learned throughout this article in your daily routine
Pantea Rahimian

Take control. Feel better.

Start your Self-care Journey.

Take control.
Feel better.

Start your
Self-care Journey.


14 Responses

  1. All great ideas for trying to overcome anxiety at night. Aside from the tips you have listed in the post, I also listen to some Binaural Singing bowls for about 15 minutes before I go to bed. I find this helps too. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great tips! Any time I find my brain going at night I focus on my breathing, literally thinking “in” every time I breathe in and “out” every time I breathe out. It helps a lot to clear my mind.

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Pantea Rahimian

Take control.
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Start your
Self-care Journey.

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