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Reducing Anxiety at Night Time and Mornings

Anxiety can be particularly hard to manage for various reasons during night time and mornings.

These reasons can be due to the quietness, darkness of night, feeling of being alone and of isolation, natural changes within the body such as relaxing, tiredness or anticipation and feelings about what may lie ahead in the future.

We can feel incredibly alone and vulnerable especially at night and when experiencing any of the above also we can feel that there is no help available due to services being closed and support such as family members being asleep with us not being able to wake them.

 The feelings we can experience can be extremely debilitating and worrying however there are many things that we can do to help reduce them if not stop them completely over time and to gain a more peaceful mind.

So how can we support ourselves?

Establish and maintain a healthy bedtime routine:

Create a relaxing routine before bedtime to encourage calmness and the winding down process. Changing our sleeping area is often a good start, removing any clutter from our bedroom, moving furniture to create a feeling of more space, changing lighting, re-decorating and changing curtains to black out curtains to reduce the effect of sunlight or artificial light entering the room.

Other things that can help are to include less TV, PC or phone screen time an hour or two before bedtime, reading a calming book, meditation, stretching exercises, a short walk and perhaps taking a warm bath.

Breathing exercises: 

Deep breaths can greatly help our nervous system. There are many techniques listed and described on Google which provides a good way of finding one that you find most helpful.

One method is colourful breathing , slowly imagining yourself breathing out dark shades or colours such as Black , dark blues , grey etc and then imagining yourself breathing in pastel bright colours such as Light blues , oranges, Yellows.

Imagining yourself breathing the dark colours out and thinking of them as negativity and then breathing in the bright colours, imagining the brightness, energy and positivity filling your body can provide us a positive motivational boost, comforting warmth and relaxation.

Or taking a slow breath in through your nose , holding it for a few seconds and then exhaling slowly through your mouth. This technique can be particularly helpful when anxiety strikes at night or in the small hours of the morning.

Box breathing is also very useful for many and is very simple to do

  • Step 1: Breathe in, counting to four slowly. Feel the air enter your lungs.

  • Step 2: Hold your breath for 4 seconds. Try to avoid inhaling or exhaling for 4 seconds.

  • Step 3: Slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.

  • Step 4: Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you feel re-centred

Relaxation techniques:

There are many different relaxation techniques such as meditation, focused breathing, muscle relaxation and guided imagery. All help with releasing stress and tension, calm thoughts and to encourage peacefulness that can help both at night and within the evening. As an individual it can be interesting to explore and find what helps you and works for your situation and needs with many groups available to engage with and meet. Many offer taster sessions and can be found by searching locally to yourself on such things as Google or social media groups.

Keeping a diary or journal: 

Keeping a diary or journal is becoming an increasingly popular way of individual’s helping themselves to reduce anxiety and concerns. By spending a few moments each day or night writing down any worries  or fears that may be troubling them it can greatly help to clear the mind. I always encourage people to also make a note of any solutions they can think of to any problems which helps to put a plan in place that we can visually see. This also means that we know we are doing something positive and have done as much as we can at that time to resolved any issues.

It is also useful to write positive notes about what we want to achieve the next day and comments about what we have achieved and how we have done it.  

 Engage in light exercise:

As mentioned already briefly exercise can help us to reduce anxiety levels, it is always good to start with some gentle light exercise that helps us to release endorphins which are known to boost mood and motivation and to reduce stress and tension. Activities such as walking, swimming, yoga are all good examples to try. It is important to avoid intense exercise close to bedtime at this may increase alertness making it more difficult to relax and get to sleep.

 Hopefully some of these tips and ideas will help you to put a few things in place to help reduce your anxiety however, remember, reducing anxiety takes time and effort. Experiment with these strategies and choose what works best for you. Be patient with yourself, and don't hesitate to seek professional help if anxiety persists and affects your daily life.

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