Night Anxiety: Why Do Certain Thoughts Get in the Way of Bedtime?


While some people are most anxious in the morning, others are faced with the displeasures of nighttime anxiety. To give you an idea, the Sleep Foundation in America estimates that 30% of adults suffer from chronic insomnia or trouble sleeping. But how to deal with this situation?

According to a study by the University of Oxford published in the scientific journal National Center for Biotechnology Information, The difference between a person who sleeps easily and a person with nocturnal anxiety problems is in the content of their thoughts at bedtime: those who take longer to fall asleep are usually submerged in worries.

And the ironic thing is that, as experts explain, trying to combat these intrusive and disturbing thoughts only makes them last longer. The recommendation is to acknowledge and accept the thoughts, then let them pass.

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Some thoughts get in the way of bedtime

Have you ever felt sleepy watching television, decided to lie down and suddenly sleep disappeared? Experts have an answer for this: it’s just about the lack of distraction. It is that during the day, the brain is kept busy with some activity, whether work, study or even leisure. Even in that television moment before sleep, the brain is still busy, distracted.

It is when you lay your head on the pillow that the mind starts to reflect. According to studies, the past and the future are the two main sources of anxious thoughts. With that in mind, the Oxford team found that writing about worries before bed can be a good technique for getting rid of nighttime anxiety, because it’s like getting anxious thoughts out of your head and onto paper.

In turn, researchers at Baylor University and Emory University School of Medicine put this same idea into practice: they asked some people to spend five minutes writing their to-do list before bed. The study suggests that doing this activity makes it easier to sleep without that endless cycle of thoughts about unfinished tasks.

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