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Why Is Anxiety Worse In The Morning

Reasons You’re More Anxious In The Morning


Youre reading First Thing, a weekly series on HuffPost UK helping to make your mornings happier and healthier.

If the start of your day is also the most anxiety-provoking, listen up.

Its normal to have morning anxiety once in a while, said Reena B. Patel, a licensed educational psychologist, board-certified behaviour analyst and author of Winnie & Her Worries. Presentations for work, new job interviews, tests for school, or even meeting a new date for breakfast can all lead to morning anxiety.

But if its more than a once in a while thing, it may be time to investigate. Whether youre managing general anxiety disorder or just feeling a bit frazzled, experts weigh in on why you might be on edge and what you can do about it.

Why Anxiety Can Feel Worse At Night

“Sleep promotes rest and relaxation, and gives us a chance to recuperate and let go of the stresses of the day,” says Dr Natasha Bijlani, a consultant psychiatrist who provides treatment for anxiety at Priory Hospital Roehampton. “However, this isn’t the case for the many individuals who struggle with anxiety and panic attacks at night.”

There is no single reason why people experience anxiety or panic attacks at night, she explains, but several factors may be involved.

“We do know that the brain doesn’t ‘switch off’ during sleep, so it’s possible for any pent-up worries or anxieties to manifest in our unconscious brains, leading to nocturnal panic attacks,” Bijlani says.

Simply being aware that others are sleeping soundly can lead to a sense of isolation and worsen anxiety, too. Small problems, such as forgetting to post a letter, can suddenly seem much worse than they actually are.

“Those who struggle with daytime anxiety and panic attacks are more likely to experience such symptoms at night because there are fewer distractions to prevent them from worrying excessively and further, their heightened anxiety is likely to affect their quality of sleep,” Bijlani explains.

When people are anxious during the day, they can avoid thinking about the thoughts that cause them distress by doing activities, says Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK. At night that is harder, and everything is quiet, she says.

Some also worry their night-time anxiety may impact others in a negative way.

Why You Feel More Anxious In The Morning

There are several proposed explanations that point to why anxiety levels are higher in the morning.

The stress hormone cortisol is at its peak for the first 3045 minutes youre awake. This is known as the cortisol awakening response , where the adrenal glands release cortisol in response to fear or stress.

Higher levels of cortisol can increase adrenaline, blood flow, and heart rate, which keeps your body on high alert and contributes to excessive worry.

Another possible culprit? Your sleep patterns.

Sleep is essential for recharging your body for the next day, yet many of us have trouble with it. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of U.S. adults report that they get less than the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.

Lack of sleep can also lead to elevated levels of cortisol, which can affect . This can lead to brain fog, lower energy, irritability, and poor concentration all of which provoke anxiety.

Research suggests that anxiety levels are significantly higher in people with insomnia.

Because anxiety starts in the amygdala , any perceived threat whether real or imaginary can activate the fight, flight, or freeze response and jumpstart your anxiety.

Try not to get discouraged when you wake up with anxiety. There are a few self-care strategies you can use to ease your symptoms in the morning.

Recommended Reading: How To Deal With Postpartum Anxiety

Gratitude And Hope For The Future

After months of therapy and ups and downs, I finally started taking antidepressants, and my parents now understand the depth of the pain I was feeling.

And now, here I stand. Still anxious, still depressed. But feeling slightly more hopeful. The journey to reaching this point was arduous, but Im just glad to be here.

Today, I just want to express my deepest gratitude to my parents, friends, and anyone who has been there for me.

To my parents: I cant thank you enough for accepting even the darkest parts of me and loving me so unconditionally.

To my friends: Thank you for holding me while I cry, forcing me to breathe when it felt physically impossible, and for always holding my hand through these impossible few months. Thank you to all the people in my life that have been there for me to vent to and never let me feel bad about it once.

For anyone who has ever experienced anything similar to this, I cant stress enough that you are truly not alone. You may look around and think that no one else in the world understands what youre going through, but there are people who do. Never be scared or feel ashamed of what you are going through.

Whatever youre feeling or suffering from will get better. In the process, you will discover more about yourself than you ever thought you could. Most importantly, youll discover that you are a warrior and when youve hit rock bottom, theres nowhere to go but up.

Allow Yourself To Feel It

Why do i have such bad anxiety in the morning ...

This might sound counterintuitive, but its not healthy to push away and ignore your feelings of anxiety. Instead, take a few minutes to acknowledge and feel what youre really feeling. But you cant allow yourself to wallow in it either set a timer for 5-10 minutes, and once the time is up, go on to the next thing you have to do.

Also Check: When Is Anxiety A Problem

Take A Good Look At Your Sleeping Habits

Quality sleep is essential for optimum physical as well as mental health. We are much better able to manage our daily responsibilities as well as any curveballs life throws at us when we are well rested as opposed to exhausted and lacking energy replenishment.

When considering your sleeping habits, it is a good idea to consider:

-doing something relaxing before bed

-emptying your mind of any worries onto paper before bed

-whether your bedroom is cool and free of any light or noise sources that may keep you awake

-going to bed and getting up at the same times each day , and ensuring you are getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night

Reducing feelings of morning anxiety can take time, just as it takes time to recover from anxiety. As you can see, there are a number of tools you can consider implementing in order for you to better manage morning anxiety. These tools alone are not enough on their own and we strongly encourage you seek professional help and support in order to fully recover from anxiety. We welcome you to contact us at Brain Wellness Spa for friendly and professional help with your anxiety, so you can get back to living a calmer, happier and more enjoyable life as soon as possible.

Anxiety In The Morning Why It Happens And What To Do About It According To A Mental Health Pro

Have you ever woken up feeling low, anxious, heart racing, dreading the day thats about to come? Most of us have at least once or twice.

Its totally normal to wake up anxious or panicked sometimes, says Natalie Wallace, a behavioural therapy clinician at Behavioral Associates in New York. Occasional morning anxiety may stem from a nightmare you just had, or could be related to nerves about a big event coming up at work or in life.

Heck, if you dont wake up anxious in the days, say, before your wedding or a career-changing project, then congrats! Youre one of the few extremely well-adjusted people on Earth. So dont get too worked up about a one-off nerve-ridden morning. Generally, the anxious feelings in those very particular types of circumstances will pass, and you probably wont feel that way for long.

But for some people, morning anxiety is more than occasional. And if its becoming a regular occurrence in your A.M. routine, then its time to face it head-on and come up with coping and prevention methods that work for you like the techniques ahead.

Why do I feel anxiety in the morning in the first place?

FYI, morning anxiety is not a formal medical diagnosis. But its common to feel anxious at particular times of the day occasionally, or when you have something big to deal with in the day ahead.

READ MORE:Is There A Difference Between Panic Attacks And Anxiety Attacks?

Okay, but what if I feel anxious, like, *every* morning?

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Tense muscles

Recommended Reading: How Do I Know If I Have Anxiety Issues

Coffee And Sugary Morning Foods

Coffee has developed an unfair reputation in the anxiety world. While coffee can increase your risk of anxiety symptoms and panic attacks, many people are able to drink coffee without too many problems and some even find the clarity that coffee brings to be calming.

But coffee can still contribute to feelings of morning anxiety. Studies have shown that coffee increases cortisol levels, which may trigger a physiological anxiety response. This might also involve an elevated heart rate, and for those that are sensitive to how their heart feels, that increased heart rate may trigger further anxiousness.

But coffee is not the only culprit. Many people eat foods high in sugars, from donuts to cereal to juice, and high sugar foods can also contribute to nervousness and jitters. All of these scenarios may indicate that your diet could be affecting morning anxiety.

Do You Find Yourself Wide

Why is anxiety worse at night or in the morning?

Early morning anxiety is an extremely common form of anxiety that leaves most of us wide awake in the early hours of the morning, struggling to switch off and get back to sleep. In this blog, I discuss why this phenomenon occurs and what you can do to combat this unwanted wake-up call.

Why me? Why you?What to do and not do?Early morning anxiety seems to be a sadly common phenomenon, given the questions I receive, personal experience of family and friends and the amount of internet searches with this title.It is not easy to explain why it happens since there seem to be many contributing factors but listed below are some possible reasons and tips which may help:Generally when people wake with early morning panic, they have already been experiencing stress and anxiety throughout the day.

On waking, the body tenses and jumps into fight or flight at the memory and thought of another stress filled day ahead. Thus a bout of negative thinking ensues before the day has even begun and a repeating cycle of early morning dread is created.Added to this, the latter part of the night and early part of the morning generally sees an increase in blood pressure and cortisol levels as the body prepares to start another day. This can give rise to the buzzy feeling that can course through the body.If we are already stressed then we are likely to be experiencing poor and often interrupted sleep which exacerbates this issue.

Don’t Miss: What Is The Treatment For Anxiety

Anxiety Much Worse In The Morning


My anxiety levels are much worse in the morning, i wake up with heart palpitations, fidgety, restless, shaky hands and general worry about the day ahead. Once i’m up, my heart races, and i gag, but nothing comes out because my stomachs empty, where i’m not eating. I also suffer depression.

Is this a normal feeling?

2 likes, 42 replies

  • Posted 7 years ago

    I have some of those symptoms and morning is always worse, I think it’s because we wake up and scan ourselves almost looking for anxiety. I am shaky and gagging and not eating are my worst symptoms, it’s scare but does get better. Speak to your doctor, because of my history I get supplement drinks when needed and they provide me with a multi vitamin when eating is difficult, I’m actually going through a bout now. It’s dire but will get better. Stay positive!

  • Posted 5 years ago

    i think that’s definitely part of it. it’s one of those things where you just lay there and try to figure out why you feel like that. when i wake up in the morning if i have no commitments that day my anxiety isn’t that bad, but if i have to get up for work or need to make an early phonecall lm a lot more anxious but it does improve when im more awake. so i think when i wake and remember i need to do something i scan my feelings and for some reason they feel worse when youre not quite awake yet. do you guys think it’s a learnt behavoir that we get anxiety worse in the morning.

Why Is My Anxiety Worse In The Morning

Do you wake up feeling anxious or worried in the morning? Do you feel as if youre going to lose control as your mind is racing with negative thoughts and your heart seems to flutter in your chest? If this happens with you and you wonder why then youve reached the best place to find your answers.

In this blog, Why is my anxiety worse in the morning? I will discuss why this phenomenon happens and what could be the potential causes behind it. Trust me, you dont want to miss all the details.

Morning anxiety is like an uninvited guest, which robs your peace of mind and leaves you with worried thoughts. It is a common affliction and can wake you up during the night, leave you struggling to go back to sleep.

Also check: Long Term Benzodiazepine Use for Anxiety

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< p style="clear:both margin-bottom:20px "> < a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank"> < img src="" alt="How to recognize and reduce the onslaught of morning anxiety." style="max-width:100% " /> < /a> < /p> < p style="clear:both margin-bottom:20px "> < a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank"> Wake Forest University < /a> < /p> 

Start The Day With Positive Affirmations

Why do i have such bad anxiety in the morning ...

Some of your anxiety is likely to be psychological and caused by anxious thoughts. If you find yourself stressing consciously about the day ahead then you need to find ways to reign in this habit. A way to do this is with positive affirmations which are things like I am a powerful and successful individual and today is going to be a great day. This then replaces the negative thoughts you might have had that were perpetuating and stimulating anxiety, and over time if you repeat them to yourself enough they will start to dominate the way you think. If you think you will struggle to repeat the affirmations to yourself, then you can try just sticking them on post-its in places youll look on your drawers, on the bathroom window, on the front door etc and then just take a moment to read them as you go around your morning routine.

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