5 Ways to Control Anxiety Attacks Before Bedtime

Too Anxious to Sleep!?

Anxiety Attacks can keep you up at night.

This video shares 5 ways you can control anxiety attacks before bedtime:

If you watched my video about how to control anxiety attacks in the morning, then you already know Cortisol, the main hormone responsible for making us feel anxious, help us to wake up in the morning. Which means it’s probably also what’s keeping you awake at night if you experience anxiety attacks before bed.

Here are 5 Ways You Can Control Anxiety Attacks Before Bed:

Create a relaxing, nighttime routine and stick to it

Just like in the mornings, creating and sticking to this is key. An ideal nighttime routine would include making sure you eat dinner, getting things ready for the next day, getting ready for bed, and dong something soothing or relaxing to get you primed for your brainy, beauty sleep.

Review your day

Taking a moment to pause and review everything you did today can help your brain relax.

We often feel anxious when we feel like we didn’t do “enough.”

Celebrate the things you did do today by acknowledging your successes- even if it was as simple as brushing your teeth that morning.

Brain Dump

Part of the reason we have trouble getting to sleep when we have anxiety attacks is because nighttime is a natural, quiet time to reflect. If we are worried about something, our mind will keep reminding us about it so we don’t forget. Sometimes this is helpful, like remembering to bring your project to school the next day, sometimes it’s not, like wondering why owls are nocturnal.

Taking some time to write out your to-do/to-remember list the night before lets your mind physically see these tasks are being remembered elsewhere so it can relax and have the night off.

You can do this with journaling, too. Own caution about journaling- if you’re using your phone or computer to journal, make sure that document, video or voice recording isn’t connected to your family’s cloud if you don’t want them seeing your private thoughts.

Turn Off Notifications

Make sure your notifications on your devices and phone are turned off before bed, so you get a restful sleep. I get push back on this from some of the teens I work with because they worry their friends will be mad at them if they don’t respond until the next morning. If you haven’t done this before, and you’re going to start now, just make sure your friends know.

Tell them, “Hey- I know in the past I’ve always responded to your middle of the night texts. I’m working on a new nighttime routine where I turn off my notifications at 10pm, so if I don’t respond right away that’s probably why. I’m not ignoring you and I’ll definitely get back to you as soon as I can the next morning.”

Telling them clearly about this change BEFORE you do it can help you avoid a LOT of friend drama. Plus if there’s actually a crisis, they can always text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741

Get up and do something

You may be like “wait- what? I thought this was supposed to help me go to sleep, not stay up later!” However, if you still can’t sleep after about an hour laying in bed, you may need to physically move that energy and reset. You can do some stretches or jumping jacks. Maybe taking a few moments to fold and put away the clothes on your floor. Just choose one thing to do, then try to go to bed again. Sometimes taking action can relieve just enough anxiety to get you back in the zone for a good night’s sleep.

How do you relax before bed? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are concerned that you, or someone you know, may be considering killing themselves, please connect them with help.

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Mallory Grimste, LCSW - Teen Therapist

Mental Health Counseling for Anxious Tweens, Teens, and Young Adults | Woodbridge, CT