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Morning Anxiety 101: Symptoms and Causes

I am not a morning person. If you are reading this, chances are, you aren’t one either. Sometimes, I have been woken up in the early hours to instant panic. There isn’t a reason for the fear but as soon as my eyelids open I am absolutely terrified. Its a horrible feeling. When my day begins this way one of two things are bound to happen.

Either I accept the anxiety and try to ignore it, or I feel sorry for myself, pout, and sometimes cry, and it consumes and ruins my entire day.

My anxiety is always worse in the mornings. Always. Sometimes I find myself dreading to go to sleep at night for fear of what the morning will bring. I have learned not to plan important events or parties until the afternoon or evenings because I know I will be in a better mood at that time.

Symptoms of Morning Anxiety

My anxiety is always worse in the mornings. Learn how cortisol, low blood sugar, and your environment can cause mornings to be filled with anxiety.Most people experience several of the following symptoms when feeling anxious:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Feeling weak, faint, or dizzy
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers
  • Nervousness, sense of terror, of impending doom or death
  • Feeling sweaty or having chills
  • Chest pains
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Feeling a loss of control
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Trembling
  • Mental confusion

Causes for Morning Anxiety

Cortisol- the Stress Hormone

When we are feeling stressed, our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol levels are naturally at their highest in the morning and lowest at night.  Our bodies will also produce cortisol when we are feeling anxious to help with the “fight or flight” response.

It becomes a vicious cycle. We wake up feeling anxious because of the stored up cortisol throughout the night, which makes us feel anxious, so our bodies continue to pump out cortisol, which creates more anxiety, which produces more cortisol, which causes us to feel more anxious, etc.

Low Blood Sugar

Deanne Repich, founder of the National Institute of Anxiety and Stress, Inc. says,

“Another reason why symptoms can be worse in the morning is because your blood sugar is low when you first wake up. You have gone all night without food. It’s important to maintain a constant blood sugar level because the brain uses sugar, also known as glucose, as its fuel. If blood sugar levels are too low or drop too fast, then the brain starts running out of fuel.”

Running out of fuel causes the brain to trigger the “fight or flight” response which we just learned will send cortisol through our bodies to help fight or flee the perceived threat (which in this case is low fuel).

Environmental Aggravations

Although these may not be the root of your morning anxiety, your bedroom surroundings can aggravate an already bad situation. Imagine sleeping in a dark room, in an uncomfortable bed and then suddenly a noisy, loud alarm clock scares you into reality. Soon harsh bright lights and the chill of getting out of bed welcome you to your worst day ever (Infuse Positive Energy into Your Home).

There are simple things we can do to help eliminate morning anxiety. Read on for Morning Anxiety 101: 5 Useful Tips.

38 thoughts on “Morning Anxiety 101: Symptoms and Causes”

  1. What can I take for morning anxiety? Breathing, trying to concentrate on positive thoughts are not working. I am desperate. All I want to do is stay in bed and isolate myself.

  2. How is everyone doing? My anxiety / depression turned on like a switch. First it was a few instances and then for the last 45 days it’s been very frequent. I wonder how much the stress or memories from the first instances kick it on full time. It’s consuming because you know there is a problem and you are always thinking about it and how to fix it. I was prescribed xanax from my Gp and I take .5mg in the morning and .5 before bed. It seems to really help, but it is for short term use. Being tired seems to make things worse, I have also cut all caffeine out and added a bunch of vitamins. It seems a lot of people here had relationship or stress triggers. Anxiety and depression go hand in hand.

  3. Hello: I have been suffering for about a year now. I have been reading a lot about anxiety and the stomach. I’m very controlled by my stomach. My anxiety lies within my stomach. I wake up without any anxious thoughts, just the stomach filled anxiety. Which then turns into mind anxiety. My GI doc put me on some probiotics on Wednesday and it is now worse than ever. I’m being told it is a side affect that will happen for a few weeks. After struggling with issues for over a year and visiting every doctor possible, I am not sure I can last 2 weeks. I’ve given up sugar, corn, gluten, a lot of dairy, alcohol. all grains. I get relief for a while and then i get a flair. I just was diagnosed with IBS, but wonder if there is still something else. For people who aren’t aware of this, IBS can cause anxiety, depression and a whole host of other problems. So can sibo. I just want to feel better. I stopped taking supplements because they can aggravate iBS because they are hard on the stomach.

    1. Mind and body are one, specially stomach which is filled with nerves similar to those in the brain. I too suffer from stomach knot/anxiety in the mornings. I wake up and after a couple minutes it starts to creep in, it’s very uncomfortable. After dealing with it for a couple years I can tell you two things. First, it’s an oportunuity to train your mind. When anxiety strikes is the best momento to overcome it by breathing and reafirming positive toughts, sending love to your emotional “scar” which is just that; a scar. Second try to integrate to yourself, this feeling is a part of you, itçs being generated by your mind and it wants to be listened. This does not mean it has to win control over all of your other parts. But try to be kind with it and see it as an old war wound. When your mind doesn’t need it anymore it will go away. And believe me, recently I’ve had mornings when it’s not there at all. Just be patient and when it comes work with it, since otherwise, you’re working against yourself. Morning anxiety is just the same as any other day/night anxiety. Good Vibes, You’re OK.

      1. You are experiencing worsened symptoms since starting probiotics because it is helping to detox and regulate your gut. Gut health and mind are absolutely connected. I am glad to see all tge bad foods you have eliminated so far you are definitely on the right track! Try drinking some bone broth twice a day to help heal your gut. I have hope your anxiety will subside. Also maybe try yoga or exercise to burn off some of that stress.

      2. Good Vibes? You’re ok? Be patient? I’ve suffered with this anxiety and depression for 20 years now. Panic attacks, derealization and so very many other feelings that go right along with it. I have PTSD. Before you go advising ppl to do stupid things like “BE PATIENT” maybe you should consider that all levels of anxiety ARE NOT the same and not everyone just has “OLD WAR WOUNDS.” Are you aware some of us have it so debilitating that we don’t want to leave the house? Get informed before you go telling ppl Awww it’s ok.

      3. Good advice. I’m doing the same thing and although training your mind can be a challenge, it is worth it. Rocky is right, we are OK.

  4. I woke up about half an hour ago from a short dreamless sleep with a feeling hard to describe, I was extremely confused and was panicking for no apparent reason, but it felt different than my normal panic attacks, I still can’t quite put my finger on it. This feeling shifted to increasing fear and nausea, which I am still experiencing, I’m currently hiding beneath my covers and I have no idea why, I am terrified and can hardly move for once again, no reason, every sound startles me, it feels like something nightmarish is going to rear its ugly head to me, even though I don’t believe in such matter. I’m so bloody confused! I’m sweating like a madman and hearing noises that aren’t there, what am I experiencing? I tried google it but couldn’t find anyone experiencing this particular feeling! My apologies for my rubbish grammar, I still feel sick and numb

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