How Do I Deal With Nighttime Anxiety?


Illustration by Luca Depardon

Dear VICE: How can I deal with anxiety that surfaces at night? The kind that keeps me up worrying, “what if, what if, what if”?

Michelle Lozano, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and Anxiety and Depression Association of America member

“You’re not alone, and there’s so much you can do to try to get the sleep you deserve.”

Create a Routine

“Limit your external stimuli before bedtime (phone, tv, the works), and set an eating cut-off time.”

Bedroom Boundaries

“Reserve your bed ONLY for sleeping. When you wake up in the middle of the night, give yourself a few minutes to try to fall back to sleep. If you can’t, get up for a bit, as your brain will begin to associate being awake with your bed.”

Get Your Worry On

“Pull out your phone and put a time to worry in your reminders. When a worry or ‘what if’ pops up while you’re busy, tell yourself to save it for worry time.”

Jot It Down

“If you do wake up, get out of bed and scribble in a journal. Write down what’s on your mind and one potential resolution.”

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If there’s no change for two weeks even with these suggestions, I would recommend picking up a manual I use with clients: Overcoming Insomnia, a CBT approach to tackling sleepless nights. Wishing you many Zzz’s

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