Fear and Anxiety at Night Time

Hi all - this is my first post but I'm certain there will be more to come in the future ! My Mum (81) suffered a big stroke at the beginning of April...spent 10 days in hospital and was then quickly discharged because of the Virus. She has left sided weakness and needs assistance with pretty much everything. We have had no rehab, therapy or physio and it is just myself and my Sister doing the best we can to care for, encourage and motivate her to keep going. She also has a number of pre-exisiting issues which are combining to make things more difficult for her (Arthritis..COPD...Osteoporosis and a torn rotator cuff in her 'good' arm).

She has always been quite an anxious person (we all are) but just recently she becomes very aggitated, fearful and scared as night time approaches. As soon as evening comes and it starts to get dark, she worries about everything...medication, having another stroke...being ill overnight...feeling alone and unable to cope.

We tell her that this is all natural and a result of the stroke, and that in time, as she recovers - it will pass, but she finds it very hard to accept and cope with. Has anyone else experienced these feelings at night, or have any advice that we can use to try and make her fears easier for her to manage ?

Thanks all




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Hi, just to say that anxiety, especially fear of another stroke, seems to be extremely common.  Some stroke survivors have problems because of the location of the event, e.g. if it happened in the kitchen, a fear of going into the kitchen, or maybe a fear of the nighttime if their stroke happened at night.  When you think about it, it's not an unreasonable way to feel, after something so traumatic.  From reading the accounts from stroke survivors on this site, it seems that those feelings will improve with time, but it's different for everybody. Would having a light left on help her to feel more relaxed, or music playing gently through the night?

After-care for stroke, is very patchy across the country.  In some areas the support is fabulous, and in others the support is virtually non-existant.  I think you have to battle for everything, otherwise you may be over-looked, especially in the current Covid situaiton.  

I'm sorry to sound a bit negative, but I've read so many stories from people on this site, I know that sometimes you have to stand up and fight for things!!  ?.  It's still very early days for your Mum, so you are quite right in trying to reassure her about the affects of the stroke improving in time.  Your care and support will be very important.  Try to read the posts on this site, because you will learn so much, far more than you might learn from some medical professionals strangely enough!!  


Take good care, keep posting, and you will receive a lot of support.  xxx

Hello Craftchick,

I was much younger than your mother at 43 with my stroke but I was also left-side affected (caused by a right brain stroke) - aside from the paralysis, incontinence, partial blindness, fatigue and inability to swallow - anxiety and depression were my biggest challenges. Anti-depressant medication put me on the right track to get on top of things and try to make sense of the situation. Ten years later, I am on a low antideppressant dosage and generally feel in control of my life with all of its usual ups and downs.

It is still very much early days for your mother. As you can hopefully appreciate, she is still coming to terms with having a stroke. I found I was often exagerating or catatrophisizing how things would play out until the penny finally dropped that worrying about the future was affecting how I was enjoying life at the time.

Worrying and losing sleep causes a downward spiral - when we are tired, we become more anxious, which makes us lose more sleep, becoming more tired, more anxious and so on. Beginning antidepressant medication started to turn things around, coupled with talking fully and openly with my family and therapists, who would help me to see that my thinking was overly negative.

I wasn't able to  resolve the fatigue and anxieties until I was discharged from hospital four months after my stroke and could begin regular exercise, which is absolutely the best way of having a good sleep cycle.

Talk with your Mother's Multidisciplinary Team  (MDT) about this. Given her age, they should have significant experience of this. In the immediate aftermath survivors have a double whammy of post-traumatic stress from having the stroke and the impact of the brain damage upon them. This improves significantly with time but do consider whether medication is an appropriate first step.

Things can and will get better.

Take care,





I was unhappy when I went to bed and it got dark. So slept with the light on. After a while it was the hall light, but anything that meant I could see a bit. Then it was ok without the light. I had a stroke at night and awoke to being paralysed, so the fear was especially poignant when I went to bed.

Our brains dont want another stroke, so it causes us to run away as best it can. It cant actually run so it makes us afraid. Both the fear and the light thing eases over a couple of months. 

Stroke recovery is very much down to the patient. If you can manipulate Mum into believing she is in charge then it will pay massive didvidends. She will recover quicker. She will fret far less about things that are not happening fast enough and a big point is that she will stop thinking her daughters will deal with everything. No one can make Mum better. Support is great, but its only Mum who can effect the improvements, eg make her better.

Us SS need to be positive. We need to smile. And its great to know we are not alone. So please mum, do the smiling, think positive things and be thankful for family just being there.


These fears are very common and they do ease. My main stroke was over four years ago and on my first night home I told my partner I was going to die that night. I didn't but my first nights at home were marred by the fact I tended to wake up every hour or so (probably wanting to check I was alive).

i now sleep well and find a nightcap helps (not every night) and I always play Classic FM for a few minutes before turning the light out. I also keep a glass of water by the bed and have my windows slightly open. Mum is still in the early days of recovery so her fears are understandable.

Thank you all, I've relayed your posts and advice to Mum and she says she feels better...knowing that she's not the only one to feel like this, which will really help her.

And it really helps my Sister and I to know there is somewhere we can ask for advice and guidance...and seek support when we need it. Because up until now, it has seemed a very lonely and sometimes overwhelming couple of months.

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Hello my name is steve

i had a stroke 19 months ago which has left me weak on the left hand side I spent three months in hospital I rely on my wife for help with most things this makes me feel quite useless and down at times, I have also been quite nasty to her sometimes accusing her of ridiculous things ,luckily for me she knows it is the stroketalking and not the real me who thinks I was the luckiest man to meet her anyway 

try to keep your days busy so when it comes to bed time you can get off to sleep quickly I think we tend to be quite hard on ourselves so set someeasy achievable targets each day

Hi, I had my stroke in 2007 at Christmas, left side completely paralysed ... was in hospital for several weeks and then in rehab... then sent home to cope on my own.  I had to manage with help from my daughter but very little therapy apart from someone coming to see how well I could balance and walk, and put on my socks !  I had always been strong for other people but now feared who could be strong for me....   a number of factors helped... I have always had a mantra *I can and I will* and this helped get me through so that I could join groups and become active again.  I joined a church group who were very supportive and did community embroideries to help my left hand to improve, also went to the gym... I had to sell my cottage and rented a retirement flat in a complex... I am 91 now and that has slowed me down a bit ! Just have published a series of Rag Doll books about my experiences with the medical fraternity and coping with disability... my pen name is Ange Hilstron.. @hilstrona. 

Hi craft chick. Just thought I'd share this with you. I had a stroke in March this year 2 months before my 52nd birthday. I woke at 6.30am paralysed. Loss of sight and speech at first but about 10 minutes later I could speak enough to alert my boyfriend. I'm out of hospital and doing OK but I am still afraid at bed time that it's going to happen again. So I can understand your mum's worry. I have to tell myself each night that worrying gets me stressed +makes me more anxious, which gets me no where so I'm slowly starting to feel a little calmer at night. I give myself a pep talk.read a little with the bedside lamp on. Seems to be helping a butGive it a try it might help. Good luck. Xx

Yes, I have had these feelings at night.  Although it will be 2 yrs since my stroke I still often get anxiety as night time approaches, and i get afraid I won't be able to sleep.   I keep a container of cheerios by my bed and some good books and a reading light.   I remind myself when I feel this way, "so what, I'll just have a good time, a small, healthy snack and read a good book until my eyes get heavy and I feel like sleeping."   Also, I keep CBD oil by my bedside that I take if I feel really antsy.  I take about 20 mg in an eyedropper under my tongue.  It calms me down, and CBD is not hallucinagenic or habit forming.  It is, however, expensive.  It's too bad there's no rehab.  It is so important.  Keep your mom moving every day, walking, lifting 1-lb weights, leg lifts, etc.  The physical and the mental do get progressively better over time.  But as the doctor told me, "It's not a race, it's a marathon."  It takes a lot longer than you feel it should,  but you do get better-- a little bit every day.  It's so slow it seems like nothing's happening.  But then after a while, you look back and realize how far you come.  Hang in there.  I'm sending prayers and well wishes your way.

On the day before my stroke a had a TIA whilst in bed at about just past midnight before calling the paramedics. Actual stroke then occured in the early hours of the morning while in hospital.

After getting back home I struggled initially with going to bed and for a few weeks my wife and myself slept in the spare room. We then went back to our old bedroom and everything settled down until end of January when I woke up with a start at roughly the same time as original TIA. Spent all night downstairs with palpitations and erratic heartbeat feeling awful. This has carried on over the months and the trigger seems to be if I have worked to hard/long during the day results in waking around midnight with the heart issues. I was supposed to have had cardio dept at hospital exam me etc but kept having all apointments delayed until now being completely cancelled.

So I fully understand how stressful it can be and wish your mother and yourselves all the best.

Hello again Angela did you get my earlier posts saying how much I loved your two books. I am 78 and had four strokes ten months ago. Hope you are settled in your new home. Love judyx

I always get anxious at night as soon as it gets dark my anxiety is bad early in the morning when the mornings are dark until 7.30 ish . I always wake at 4.00 am and cant get back to sleep. The trouble is I get palpatations which frighten me a lot and do get worse when I get anxious so it is a vicious circle. I used to go to yoga so I do try to relax which helps me sometimes.  I hope it will go away for your mom I am sure it will get better in time  Best wishes Norma 

Hello bernadette. Just seen your post. How are doing now. I hope that you are improving daily. Don't worry if you have down days. That is the way of stroke. I had four strokes 11months ago. I have lost a lot of balance and walking is hard. Also lost some sight from left eye. I am 78 now live on my own with pets and wildlife. Keep drinking water and rest when your body wants to. Love judyxx

Hello Steve you are not alone I rely soley on my husband to do most things my stroke 3 yrs ago affected my head it feels as though I nhave a block behind my eyes also I have got double vision I do thi gs but cant wait to sit down again. Sorry about my spelling I am a novice at computers so forgive me  All the best to you and try to keep positive. Norma 

Hi all - thanks for your further responses. Mum is a little less anxious at night time now...but the anxiety can pop up again in the morning..especially if she has had a restless night, or a funny dream. We usually find it gets a bit better after a cup of tea, and as the day progresses.

Still early days for us all, but we take it one step at a time.

Thanks for all your thoughts and good wishes, they are very much appreciated.

Take care, Karen

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Hi Steve,  I'm  3 years post stroke, which resulted  in paralysis  on my left side. Despite  a daily  exercise  regime I still have very  little  movement  in my left  arm and hand. I walk with a stick and an fes machine, I potter about at home without  a stick. Like  you I still rely on my husband to help with personal  care, cooking, cleaning  etc and as you say makes you feel useless and very down at times, having always  been a very independent  person, who never asked for help from anyone. 

I try to stay positive  but it's  so difficult  at times.



Thank you, I have only just seen that I have so many notifications !  I am glad you liked my books.. there is another one out now called Rag Doll Moving On that you might like too.  I had to move from the retirement flat because the owner was selling up, and my guardian angel found me another place ... which might be the subject of my next book on the adventures of Rag Doll !  Hope you are coping well.. best wishes  Ange ! 

Hi Judy. Just found your reply. Sorry I'm a total technophobe so have only just worked out how to access the messages. I'm doing OK thanks. Learning to take the rough with the smooth and know now that for every down day there will be a lot more up days. Hope you are doing OK too. ?x

Hello Craftchick

Sorry to hear of your mother's situation.She does sound to have a lot to contend with in light of her pre-existing conditions, as have you and your sister as her carers. I had my stroke on 25th January when I was 74 years old, leaving me with a dense paralysis on the left.  I left hospital on 23rd March which was the beginning of 'lockdown'. I was unable to walk at all and had to live downstairs. I hated bedtime; I was terrified of being alone and scared of having another stroke, mine happened during the night. I wasn't sleeping well, suffering low backache and, of course, unable to move into a more comfortable position in bed. I was fortunate to eventually receive community physiotherapy, so that probably tired me and sleeping did become a little easier. So we got through that phase but I later experienced another period of insomnia, bad enough to affect my physio sessions and at that time my GP agreed to give me a short course of a mild sleeping tablet. Just a fortnights supply but they did the trick of breaking the cycle. I stopped taking them when I still had a few left but I've never needed to take them. The anxiety of having another stroke does diminish with time and all the feelings and fears you mother's experiencing are very typical following a stroke. I wonder if her GP might be able to help in some way. Things are so difficult at the moment with Covid. Since my stroke I've not even had my blood pressure checked, my surgery haven't been in touch at all.

I do hope things improve for you all soon.

Take care,

Anne. xxx