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
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
- 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).
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.
White, A. (2010, January 25). Morning Anxiety 101: Symptoms and Causes, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-panic/morning-anxiety-anxiety-panic/2010/01/morning-anxiety-101-symptoms-and-causes
Author: Aimee White
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to what you are experiencing. Likely you will need both a psychiatrist and a psychologist to help you. Seek these people out through your family doctor.
You can get better.
- Natasha Tracy
Just say to yourself:
I know it's scary what I'm going through right now but I must remember that this is only temporary, it WILL pass and I AM going to be alright. I am going to breathe in and out...in and out. I AM going to be alright. X
Did anyone read the article?? This is a physiological issue, not a psychological one!
You may have an adrenal/cortisol/endocrine problem or metabolic/blood sugar issue, or many other medical /med issues that manifest in this way. Yes, stress makes it much worse, but psych meds do not address the underlying or root cause and may make it worse. This is a common symptom of medication changes and withdrawal in people who never had anxiety before. Once the fight-flight-freeze goes into overdrive, the underlying cause must be addressed.
A psychologist or counselor may help to deal with the symptoms or cause of stress.
I wish you and everyone the best.
I've had severe anxiety for 33 yes,
I've had extreme anxiety for 33 yrs. I've recently been diagnosed by my dentist with some issues.ba scalloped tongue and some gum erosion above 2
2 upper 2 lower. He said it's from grinding my teeth and asked if I snored or ever stopped n
Breathing at night.v
Y husband told me he heard me grinding my teeth and I've had dreams in which I can't breathe and gasp for air. Had a home sleep study which revealed I stop n
Breathing 14 time a
Several times a minute. My tongue is scalloped from pushing it against my teeth. My morning anxiety is so bad I can't breathe or move. Because I have sleep apnea the body fights to breathe and adrenalin increases. Many people wear a CPAP device to help with this. The dentist is having a special appliance made to wearcat night. Expensive. He feels the grinding and sleep apnea contribute to morning anxiety and so do I. It makes sense. Feel out there all day with unending anxiety. Zoloft is not helping. I'm a nurse and can't wait to get the appliance which will open my airway and keep me from grinding. Please make sure you don't grinding or have sleep apnea. The morning anxiety makes you feel as though you're dying. I also have burning mouth/tongue syndrome. Good grief it's all a torture test with a hip replacement gone wrong and back pain. Just shoot me. Praying this oral appliance will help. I thank the Lord my dentist discovered this. This causes increased cortisol and anxiety. Be blessed. God is good. Make sure you don't grinding your teeth or have sleep apnea. Be blessed. Jesus is Lord!!!!!
I work out late evening and also watch/read something in bed before I fall asleep. Usually am feeling like a million bucks when I fall asleep.
However, despite all this I wake up with that same sinking feeling every morning the moment my eyes open. It's a horrible sense of foreboding that just seems to come from nowhere.
So I spend my entire day overcoming fighting this feeling (through work, workouts etc.) only to find that the whole thing gets reset again every morning.
It's been going on for 3-4 years now and am wondering what I could be doing wrong to have invited this upon me.
I don't do any substance abuse. Neither do I smoke/drink or take caffeine/energy drinks.
Maybe God has a plan....
Breathing, meditation hasn't really worked since I give up too soon because of the restlessness.
I'm saying this for others. It sounds like it's working for you.