Anxiety is a common mental health issue that can affect anyone. But why anxiety is worse in the morning for some people? Find out the reasons and how to cope with them in this article.
Anxiety is a natural and healthy response to stressful situations. But when it gets too intense, too long, or irrational, it can mess with our day-to-day life and make us feel worse. Anxiety disorders are one of the most significant mental health issues, affecting around 18% of all adults in the US.
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably noticed that your anxiety gets worse in the morning. You might wake up feeling anxious, restless, or scared, and it’s hard to get out of bed or start your day. It can have a significant impact on your mood, how productive you are, and your quality of life.
So, why anxiety is worse in the morning? What causes it? And how can you get rid of it and start your day on the right foot? Let’s find out!
Table of Contents
What is Morning Anxiety?
Morning anxiety is when you start to feel anxious right after you wake up or in the early morning hours. It can show up in physical symptoms like a racing heart, sweating, shaking, feeling sick, or having a headache.
But it can also affect how you feel, think, and act. You might be irritable, anxious, worried, or avoid certain things.
It can mess with your day-to-day life and make it hard to get up, get ready, or do your job. It can mess with your relationships, self-confidence, and mental health.
Causes of Anxiety
Anxiety can be caused by various factors, such as:
Symptoms of anxiety
Anxiety can cause various physical, psychological, and behavioural symptoms, such as:
- Nervousness, restlessness, or fear
- Rapid heart rate, sweating, trembling, or shortness of breath
- Chest pain, nausea, dizziness, or headaches
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Irritability, mood swings, or anger
- Insomnia, nightmares, or fatigue
- Avoidance, isolation, or withdrawal from social situations
- Changes in appetite, weight, or habits
6 Reasons why your anxiety is worse in the morning
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to why you might feel anxious in the morning. It can come from various things, like your body, mind, and environment.
Here are some of the reasons why your anxiety is worse in the morning:
Low blood sugar levels
When you fall asleep, your body releases glucose, which powers your brain and the rest. If you eat too little or too much before or during sleep, your blood glucose levels may fall too low when you wake up the following day.
When your blood sugar drops too low, your body triggers a stress response, which increases cortisol levels, a stress hormone, and adrenaline, a stress hormone. Both of these hormones can cause you to feel anxious, nervous, or jittery.
Hormones make up your body’s natural circadian rhythm, which helps your body stay on track with sleep and wakefulness.
Some of your hormones, like cortisol, melatonin, and serotonin, make you feel good in the morning.
But other hormones, like dopamine and serotonin, can make you feel down or up in the middle of the day. It can mess with your mood and cause anxiety.
If you don’t drink enough water before or during your sleep, you can become dehydrated when you wake up.
When you sleep, your body loses water through breathing, sweat, and peeing. If you’re thirsty, it can lead to headaches, tiredness, dizziness, and even confusion. It can mess with your brain and make you more anxious.
Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality
If you’re not getting enough sleep or it’s hard to fall asleep or stay asleep, it can significantly impact your health.
Not getting enough sleep can affect your hormones, your immune system, your memory, how well you concentrate, your mood, and how anxious you are.
You might wake up groggy, cranky, or tired.
Negative thoughts or worries
When you wake up, your anxiety can be even higher due to what you’re thinking or worrying about. You might have negative ideas about yourself, life, or the future.
You might be concerned about what will happen in the day or what problems you will face. You might be thinking about past mistakes, regrets, or what you think will happen in the future.
All of these things can make your anxiety worse.
Stressful events or situations
It could be due to stress if you’re feeling anxious in the morning. It’s a natural response to any changes or demands that come your way. But if you’re dealing with a lot of stress, it can get to you and make you feel overwhelmed.
Here are some things that can make you anxious in the morning:
- A personal crisis, such as a breakup, divorce, illness, injury, death of a loved one, financial trouble, legal issue, or trauma.
- A work-related issue is a deadline, presentation, meeting, conflict, criticism, pressure, or uncertainty.
- A family-related problem is a disagreement, argument, expectation, responsibility, or challenge.
- A social-related concern includes a date, party, outing, interaction, rejection, judgment, or isolation.
How To Cope with Morning Anxiety?
Are you struggling with morning anxiety? If so, you’re not alone. Most people experience some level of morning anxiety, and there are steps you can take to manage it and lower your stress levels.
Here are a few tips to help you create a morning anxiety-reducing routine:
Wake up gradually and gently
Don’t use loud or harsh alarm sounds that can scare you and make you anxious. Use a soft or calming alarm sound that gradually gets louder and more intense.
You can also use natural light alarm clocks that mimic the sunrise and wake you with soft light. It will help you wake up naturally and
- The first thing you should do when you wake up is drink water.
- Not only will it help you stay hydrated, but it will also help you get rid of toxins in your body.
- If you’re unsure what to add to your water, you can always add lemon juice, honey, or even apple cider vinegar.
- Drinking plenty of water can make you feel more energized and alert.
Eat a healthy breakfast
After a good night’s sleep, ensure you’re ready to start your day with a nutritious breakfast packed with healthy fats, proteins, fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Ensure you don’t skip breakfast or overindulge in sugar, caffeine or processed foods, which can raise blood sugar levels and make you anxious.
Here are some healthy breakfast options:
- Oatmeal with nuts, seeds, fruits, and milk or yoghurt.
- Eggs with whole-wheat toast, avocado, and cheese.
- Smoothie with banana, berries, spinach, almond butter, and milk or yoghurt.
- Greek yoghurt with granola, fruits, and honey.
Do some physical activity
Doing some exercise in the morning can be a great way to help reduce stress and anxiety. It can help you relax, get your blood flowing better, your brain oxygenated, and your mood.
Plus, it can burn off any extra energy you have. You don’t need to exercise much – a few minutes daily can make a big difference.
Here are some examples of what you can do:
- Walking, jogging, biking, or hiking.
- Yoga, pilates, stretching, or tai chi.
- Dancing, jumping rope, skipping, or hula hooping.
- Strength training, resistance bands, kettlebells, or bodyweight exercises.
Practice some relaxation techniques
Try some relaxation techniques if you’re looking for a way to reduce stress and anxiety. These can help you relax your nervous system and lower your heart rate, blood pressure, muscles, breathing, and mind. You can try whatever works best for you when you wake up.
Here are some examples of relaxation techniques:
- Deep breathing, inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth.
- Progressive muscle relaxation, where you tense and relax different muscle groups.
- Meditation is where you focus on your breath, a word, a mantra, or an object and let go of distracting thoughts.
- Visualization, where you imagine a peaceful place or situation that makes you feel calm and happy.
- Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment without judging or reacting.
Set your intentions for the day
If you want to stay on track, setting some goals for yourself each day is a good idea. Writing them down in a diary or saying them out loud can help you stay focused on what’s important to you. Your goals could be anything that motivates you or enables you to get through the day.
Here are some examples of what you could set for yourself:
- I intend to be kind to myself and others today.
- I plan to do my best at work today.
- I plan to enjoy the simple pleasures of life today.
- I am preparing to face my challenges with courage today.
- I am expressing my gratitude for what I have today.
Schedule Your Day
- Schedule your day with a planner, calendar, notebook, or app.
- Schedule your day by writing down what you need to do, when you need to do it, and what you need to remember.
- Schedule your tasks by breaking them into smaller steps and assigning each task a time frame and priority level.
- Schedule your day to feel prepared, confident, in control, and less stressed.
Avoid negative news or social media
When you start your day with anxiety and stress, it’s easy to fall into one of two traps: negative news or social media.
First, negative news can make you feel anxious and stressed. Second, negative social media can make you feel like you’re comparing yourself to others, that you’re not good enough or don’t feel good about yourself.
Don’t check the news or social media in the morning when you’re already feeling anxious and stressed.
When you feel more emotionally stable in the evening, you’re more likely to check the news and social media when you’ve calmed down and are ready to face the day.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can make you feel anxious in the morning?
Well, a few things can make you anxious in the morning. You might be hormonal or have low blood sugar from fasting overnight. Plus, you might be nervous about the day ahead and need more sleep.
Can lack of sleep cause morning anxiety?
If you’re not getting enough sleep or not getting enough sleep, it can make your anxiety worse and make you more anxious in the morning.
Can caffeine make my morning anxiety worse?
Caffeine can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, which can worsen your anxiety. If you tend to get anxious in the morning, cutting back on or stopping drinking caffeine might be a good idea.
Should I see a doctor for my morning anxiety?
If your anxiety is getting in the way of your day or causing you a lot of stress, it might be a good idea to talk to a doctor or a mental health professional.
If you’re feeling anxious in the morning, a few things can make it worse. Your hormones might be off, your blood sugar might be low, you might be nervous about what’s coming up, and you might not get enough sleep.
But don’t worry – there are ways to help manage your anxiety, like getting a good night’s sleep, eating a nutritious breakfast, using relaxation techniques, and getting help from a professional if needed.