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Avatar universal

Anxiety is worse at night, why?

I have depression and anxiety.  I've noticed that at nighttime, almost every evening about 7 p.m., these bad feelings come over me, and I can't shake them.  I've had mental illness for many, many years, I'm on several medications which I take about every six hours, and I'm female age 58.  This nighttime routine has just recently started up a few months ago.  I've had some pretty rough emotional upsets this past year, so could be anxiety is just building up, I simply don't know what has set this off.

So, my questions are:  Could it just be that I get tired and that's what lets these bad feelings jump in?  Or does anyone else have this problem or knows what this is?  Or is it something that happens with medication perhaps?  Or, even though I am familiar as can be about depression and anxiety, is there a form of this, anxiety or any other mental illness, that happens to people mainly in the evenings?  Is it poor eating habits, lack of exercise?  My fear of the dark?  

See, I have actually gotten worse with my mental problems in the last couple years.  Two years ago, went through a huge financial problem where we had to move, so could be that's all it is.  But I have trouble with language and communicating, it's like a glitch in my mind.  My neurologist said I do not have Alzheimers (he sees me for other stuff), and I myself know I don't have that, it's just different than what those folks have.  I also see a psychiatrist regularly and saw a specialist, too, and it's not Alzheimers.  It's like I am totally confusing what people are saying to me, and I have to be careful when I'm talking with others, and it takes me longer to think through things.  This post is taking me forever to make.  So, spontaneous talking is difficult for me, and I sometimes get into arguments because of it.  But I'm just saying, this talking glitch in my mind, I wonder if it's connected with this nightfall thing.

Of course, it could just be since I'm naturally afraid of the dark, that my anxieties over my problems for the last year, have come to the forefront and are making themselves known through that particular fear, or perhaps I just get so tired that those anxieties come out then. If anyone else has had their anxiety increase at night and has some thoughts, or if anybody has heard of nighttime anxiety meaning something, I would really like to hear about it.  It's starting to scare me a lot, and I need to be reassured.  Thanks a lot.

23 Responses
Avatar universal
I am sorry that you are having problems with anxiety right now.  First off, in my experience anxiety can really cause us to lose our self identity and can also be a huge hinderance to mental focus.  So what you are experiencing in my opiniion is part of the anxiety/panic cycle.

Anxiety can really come hard at night sometimes because that is when our minds are not preoccupied with daily tasks.  I often found that it can 'bubble' up at night when we are at 'rest.'  

Have you been talking with a therapist through all of this?  Please keep us posted!!
Avatar universal
Dear CJ,
Thanks for your response.  I'm glad you told me that you have found that anxiety can get worse at night, it makes me feel a little better about my situation.

As for a therapist, unfortunately the psychiatrist I see only works with my meds, altho she does spend some time listening to me tell her about big stuff, as relates to any meds changes, but I only see her about twice a year.  The psychologist I want to go back to seeing, I cannot afford her right now, altho at the beginning of next year, I will be able to afford see her again.  I've been needing very much to talk to her.  So, perhaps that lack of professional help for this past year has made my anxiety less easy to deal with!  

I shall think about how some people do indeed get wrose in the evenings, and also I shall think about how not getting to see my psychologist, both have made all this stuff that has happened in the past year harder to deal with, and that might be why anxiety is bubbling out at night.

A lot of things happened recently and a couple years ago, too, that sort of took away my hope.  Hope is such an important feeling to have.  A friend passed away this summer, and I had a lot of dreams all wrapped up with him, and so I guess I've gotten a little lost.  Your point about self-identity was also interesting to me, that anxiety is based in that.  I shall think about that more.  My self-confidence is very low right now, I just can't seem to get up the motivation to do stuff.  Perhaps I'm losing my grip because I am indeed losing my sense of identity.  Wow.  Very perceptive, CJ.  

Any others who have thoughts about increased anxiety in the evenings, I think I could stand up to a little more feedback, just in case.
Avatar universal
Hi GG, first of all I am sorry that you are having such a rough time right now. I think that your fear of the dark would definitly play some part in this... But I know that once you have an anxiety attack at a certain time or in a certain place you will get anxious about possibly getting one the next time you are in that same time or place. And you having anxiety about anxiety makes you have an anxiety attack. It is a very vicious cycle. I think what you need to do is break that cycle. Schedule something for yourself to do for the next few nights at that specific time. Make it something you enjoy and will look forward to (a positive thing). For example, call a friend or bake cookies, do yoga or take a bath... something completely stress free...
Just another thought, are you sure that your meds are doing all that they can? Do you feel they are working for you or could be better?
Avatar universal
Hi, I can relate with you about your anxiety/panic being worse at nighttime! Sometimes I can all day without my anxiety playing up, but as soon as I sit down to relax it hits me with horrible thoughts or I feel like I'm going to have a panic attack. I've also notice I'm going to bed alot earlier then I did before I had Anxiety because I just think that if I go to sleep then I can't have horrible thoughts!
My thoughts are with you :)
Avatar universal
Thanks for the confirmation of my fear of the dark thing.  On my meds, I take four, and I've gotten two increased, with the other two planned for when I see my other doc next week.  I noticed I was having a hard time, so that was my first reaction, too, to increase my meds, which will probably help.

Gosh, you sound just like me.  I also want to go to bed early, just so the day will finally end.  Just hate those uncomfortable thoughts at night.  Maybe I'm just wore out from recent stresses, losing my self-confidence, and a bunch of other stuff.  Thanks for your feedback, it helps so much.
Avatar universal
I experience increased anxiety at night also. In fact it is the only time I have an issue with it. It gets so bad that I have insomnia as a result. One thing that does help is relaxation and meditation. These must be done daily. You may not think they are working at first but they have a cumulative effect. When I do them consistently my problem with anxiety greatly improves. Do a search for Emmet Miller's web site. His stuff has helped me.

Exercise also helps a lot but done early in the day only. Of course no caffeine if you have this problem or heavy eating at night. That will just increase your addrenalin which doesn't help.

Another little trick with anxiety that has helped me is to give yourself permission to worry but make an appointment with yourself to do so. For ex. when negative thoughts flood your mind say I will not think about this now. I am going to think about it tomorrow at 10 am. for ex. When the time comes allow yourself to worry or think about it. Usually the fear or worry losses its power over you because it does not seem as big as you thought previously. Keep thoughts at night focused on the positive... you ARE safe... how comfortable your bed is, etc.

Hope this helps.
647120 tn?1256601651
Just chiming in as another voice saying yes, the anxiety hits me when I am finally relaxing at home in the evening after a full day of work. My psychiatrist suggested that I anticipate this and take my Xanax (now switched to Klonopin) just before then to control the symptoms, and that has worked a little better for me. It's a real puzzle, isn't it? Like cj29 said, it's when I'm not distracted that it comes on strong. I also tend to get it in the morning, so I take my calm-down meds first thing in the morning and again in the evening.

I like the suggestions about doing meditation and yoga, but it's hard to calm down enough to focus when your generalized anxiety is flaring.

ggreg, it sounds like you have a lot of worries in your external world. I hope you get the help you need soon and know that you are doing the best that you can. Keep reading these posts and you will begin to see yourself and feel part of a caring group that is a safe place to share your concerns.
Avatar universal
Yes I can relate to how difficult it is to do meditation when your anxiety is severe. Believe me, when I started, my anxiety was so bad I could hardly breathe and I couldn't stay focused for more than 2 seconds. That is why using a cd is easier. All you have to do is lay there and listen. You can't help but want to try to do what the speaker is guiding you to do. You will see results if you keep at it. It was much more effective than medication for me. I found the xanax type drugs made my anxiety worse over time. I quickly needed more and more to be effective and they are addictive... so be careful. Actually I found antidepressants increased my anxiety also. maybe it's just me.

I would look at it this way... exercise and meditation can't hurt, right? Hope you're feeling better soon.
Avatar universal
GG and group...I have had generalized anxiety off and on since I was 13. I'm now 37 and wondering if this will be a part of my life forever?

I logged onto the computer now in the middle of the night b/c I'm having an anxiety attack that the meds are not helping and I can't sleep. Just can't shake it. I wanted to know if other people are worse at night. Unless I'm in the middle of a huge jag of anxiety, I'm okay the rest of the day...if it intensifies it starts happening in the mornings too, etc.

Thank you all for your posts, it is comforting just to know that other people are experiencing it too, and with similar symptoms (although I'm sorry for you all about it...I hate anxiety...it is hell). Anyway, I agree that meditation can help...for me, it can help me to avoid it if I stay regular with it, but once I'm in a flare-up sometimes it makes me worse trying to "be still". More room for my mind to play, I guess.

Avatar universal
ok, so i tried this exercise and it works. The more you believe it, the more it works. My anxiety gets worse at night too...i think it's a lonely thing.

So here is what i do: I find a comfortable warm place in my house (bathroom mat) and i sit Indian style and take deep breaths. With each breath I intake, i think of one of the things that cause issues in my life and when i blow the air out, i imagine the negative every escapes from my body regarding that feeling and situation.

One that's accomplished, I start taking deep breaths again, and I imagine all the places i ever been to that was beautiful and healing. Breath one: the golden gate bridge , San francisco. I breath in and can smell the ocean. I breath in the good energy from that. Second breath: Hawaii, and so on. It's amazing but it does work. Not sure why.
Avatar universal
my son is 15 and we have been dealing with anxiety for a little over a month he doesnt want to take the neds so i took him off them but it seems night time is a night mare for him he says he can feel his heart beating tru his whole body, he thinks he will die in his sleep.he believes and thinks he blood will clot and he will have an anerism were do they get all this stuff from any ideas is this normal anxiety
Avatar universal
Yes anxiety for me seems to be worse at night as well. I know how your son feels imreal. That is my problem. I am beginning to think i am a hypochondriac. Every time i get pains or anything i dwell on them til i have a panic attack. I use .5 mg xanax prn for it. Thank God its fast acting because sometimes i just very overwhelmed with it and it drives me insane. I really would like to go talk to a psychiatrist but i currently do not have any health insurance. I was on Paxil for a year and it helped tremendously, but im not a medicine person. I even have anxiety over some of my medicines.. mixing them, and so on.. as far as up to ibuprofen. Sounds silly i know but its just how i am. My anxiety started in 2004 when my cousin passed away. It went away for 4 years and just returned about 5 months ago. Maybe since i have been laid off for almost 2 years and going to school for my RN's. I dont know what brung it on this time, but i pray for each and every one of you that have GAD because it is terrible to deal with at times. May God Bless each and every one of you.
Avatar universal
Oh my gosh.  I'm reading these posts and this is the same with me too.  Anxiety is worse at night and I start wanting to go to bed earlier.  Then my muscles twitch in my legs and arms and I have trouble staying asleep all night.  I think the immune system lowers at night and that is part of it plus not having as much on the mind.  It's frustrating.
Do you have a lot colds
Avatar universal
Me too. My anxiety is worse at night and worse in the mornings. My nausea is the worst part though, it has me thinking I'm pregnant when I'm in all likelihood not, anxiety is the most frustrating thing I've ever dealt with.
Avatar universal
I think anxiety tends to get worse at night time cause everything around you is slowing down and going to sleep and the stuff you encounter during the day catches up with you and you are just tired.

it also depends on how you are with sleep. i guess if you have insomnia or touble falling asleep or laying down and relaxing, you body could know that the time is coming and subconciously the fear is starting to poke through.
Avatar universal
I guess it is anxiety that i feel at night,or evening...i have always just thought of it as everything is more intense and worse for me in the evening or at night...I can blow things way out of proportion if they happen late evening or night,but the morning light seems to take my worries away.I talked to my dr and she says possibly Dementia? I dont know.I was diagnosed with PTSD about 8 years ago and was on Paxil (which did help) for 5 years,then i took myself off of it.I was like this before though.I remember kind of it always being this way,as far back as i can remember at least.I have had a lot of trauma in my life,and memory loss.I know i have generalized anxiety disorder and take xanax for that,but i refuse to take it 3 times a day and only take it prn.I take it during the day prn and 1/2 tablet every night.Thats the only way i can sleep now.I have been taking it for couple years and valium before that for a little while.I just wanted to ad my input and see if anyone has any ideas on why i worry more in the evening,but the morning light lifts my spirits so much...also have a 20 year old daughter who is having severe anxiety and she is on klonopin prn,but last time it made her feel worse? She has medical problems that cause alot of her anxiety.Her thyroid is underactive and this can cause anxiety along with other physical symptoms.I agree though that it is a vicous cycle! Your anxious cause you are sick,and sick cause u r anxious...its just so hard to deal with! Any input would be appreciated! Thanks for reading..
Avatar universal
I'm sorry to hear that you're going through this. Regarding the evening increase in anxiety--I've suffered from anxiety and depression my whole life and find night time to be especially difficult. I think it is because you are no longer distracted by the activities of the day and are left to your own thoughts. What I have found combats this is to exercise, and to distract yourself during the evening with phone conversations, movies, television, a very good book or magazine, and essentially any activity to occupy you. Additionally, I have two cats who are my constant companions when I am at home--they have a tremendous calming and comforting effect on me. I would be much much worse without them...if you don't have a pet but can financially support one, get one; this will enhance the quality of your life.  
Avatar universal
I also have worse anxiety at night and right when I wake up in the morning. One thing that helps me somewhat is that I will start doing strenuous exercise. I will do push ups, crunches and lift something heavy around the house. For me, anxiety is about a lack of control. I have to be in control at all times and when I feel that I'm not under control, I get bad anxiety.
Avatar universal
Get on magnesium supplementation immediately.  It is inexpensive and could very well be your cure.  85% of all people have a magnesium disorder and supplementing will lesson the symptoms measurably.  I just had a panic attack 2 weeks ago and in the interim had some bad news regarding a friend so it has taken some time to get over this anxiety.  I have been doing magnesium and it has helped a lot.  Next, I will work in mental exercises to put this behind me.  Good luck, don't give up, don't do narcotics...do magnesium and Kava Kava for extra relaxation.

1958538 tn?1326198928
I so can relate to night anxiety. I can have it during the day but every single night it sneaks up on me. Just watching TV or hanging out in the home. Whatever but I wonder if if maybe its sundowners, I don't know. I do know I hate it. I can't stand night time myself. I have to take something to sleep every single night or I'm up late like 3 or 4 in morning. I have had alot of stress lately my mom died just after Thanksgiving and now my dad is on the way however even before I had it so I can't blame stress. Everything can be in order just fine in life and I still get that anxiety. Its very scary feeling. This all began when I was 28 and I am 44 now so I have tried everything under the sun. Every kill, counselor you name it. If I get it I just take lorazapam and that helps me. I try not to take so much cause it won't work body gets to used to it. Sparingly ..... it ***** cause I remanded when I used to have such a full feeling of life. When you find out about the night anxiety pass the info on. I would love to know what it is why night time and how to stop it.
Avatar universal
just tell him and comfort him that anxiety attacks cant kill a person I ended up in the hospitol with an anxiety attack with a pulse of 150 my face and arms went numb he probably doesnt want to take meds because they can be rather addictive if hes not going to take them teach him deep breathing
10439128 tn?1410138536
I am 30 years old. I am suffering from severe anxiety at time. I want to say I've suffered with this as long as I can remember. I know I was like 8 or 9 when I had a panic attack from waking up with mucus in my eyes. I just lost a friend and several classmates within this year. I have these constant thoughts of death. I think how it feels to die. will I know if I'm dead. What happens to me. I have these thoughts overwhelming me at night time. Then I have this surge of fear. I can't sleep. I sleep mostly during the day now to replace sleep lost at night. Please help me me get over this. I just want to feel normal and stop over thinking the inevitable.
Avatar universal
Hello, I have very bad anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. It is a very difficult existence. Most of the time I feel very bad and now I like to just be alone with my three cats. I relive my past in nightmares and it's often that I wake up screaming or sobbing. It is very difficult for me to fall asleep but when I do my mind seems like it's attacking me. I have talked about it and that seems to make it even worse. I notice that about 7 pm I start to feel very intense feelings of panic. I have to say it is paralyzing and sometimes I really feel hopeless. I take many medications and it doesn't help very much but without them I would have killed myself already. My husband really can't understand it and I feel alone. My childhood was very bad and I experienced trauma again and again. Anyway it's unbearable at night and all I end up doing is crying uncontrollably. Just thought I'd mention it, if anyone cares.
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