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Four Unknown Reasons You Wake Up With Dread

Ever wake up in the morning and ask yourself “why do I feel so anxious?” Usually we think about what’s coming up that might be freaking us out. But sometimes the answer is behind us. Here are some things that we do at night that make us more anxious in the morning that we don’t even notice affecting us:

Checking your face in the mirror for acne

By focusing or scrutinizing any part of your body you are sending yourself a message that you are not enough or right the way you are. You are sending implicit messages that if you had a smaller nose, less acne, fewer wrinkles, then things would work out for you for the better. You are going to bed hating on yourself so guess how you will wake up?  Also hating on yourself.  Try instead when you look at yourself in the mirror to say “hello gorgeous. You look radiant.” Notice how much more at ease and possibly in love with yourself you will feel the next day.

Watching scary or suspenseful shows

We are so used to thinking that watching shows, or bingeing on Netflix, is relaxing or “vegging” but we often lose sight of how our nervous systems are taking in what we watch. The other night I realized I was in the fetal position while watching a TV show. If you asked me if I liked it I would have said yes but my body clearly said something different. I was terrified.  If you go to bed with a wound-up nervous system you wake up with one too. Sleeping doesn’t turn off your body’s fight or flight response, so turn the shows off so you don’t wake up in a panic. Those of you catching up on Game of Thrones episodes should consider watching them in the morning. Not before bed. That way your body will have a chance to move the fight-flight energy through you as you move during the day.

Drinking wine

We all think a glass of wine at night relaxes us. It does in the moment, but we also know that alcohol is a depressant. Even having one glass of wine before bed can make you feel more down on yourself the next day. Save wine for weekends when you can sleep in longer and enjoy some chamomile tea before bed. This adds a soothing habit to your nighttime ritual.

Talking about hard topics with your partner before bed 

We have all been there: You finally have a minute with your partner before bed and you talk to them about your worries about your finances, kids, work or your relationship. In the moment it makes perfect sense to bring it up. It’s quiet and you have their full attention. But nothing was ever solved when two people were tired. It’s highly unlikely that a resolution will be made and this will leave you feeling unresolved, worried and anxious when you wake up. You won’t have time to process all the feelings, so you’ll head off to work in knots. So instead of bringing issues up before bed try to ask your partner when they might be available to have a conversation about something important. It might not sound very sexy, but put it on the calendar. This way you and they (and your respective nervous systems) can prepare for the important conversation.

Which of these have you done? Which do you think might make you more nervous the next day? Can’t wait to hear about your experience in the comments.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels


What Should I Do Next?

When you’re ready to begin therapy, we hope you’ll consider contacting The Center for CBT in New York City. We offer a safe space where you are free to be who you really are and express yourself and your values authentically. We embrace, value, and welcome people of all sexual orientations, genders, and racial identities. The Center for CBT in New York City makes beginning your therapy journey simple. You can get started any time by completing our online consultation request form. One of our team members will be in touch within 24 business hours to answer your questions.

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