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 2021, January 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-panic/morning-anxiety-anxiety-panic/2010/01/morning-anxiety-101-symptoms-and-causes
Author: Aimee White
Am waking in the morning with rapid beating
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Being negative doesn't help here or anywhere. When ppl leave comments here, it's bc they want to help or relate. No one knows what the other has experienced in their life or how much they know. It has been proven that a good attitude can help cure any illness.
Ditto that Jan!! Couldn't agree more.
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.
Joan are you OK now? I am jus deperate for an answer. I cannot take this anymore.
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
Sounds like night terror B. Google it. I hope you are better today. :(
I feel you 100%. I am currently at my cousins house, it's 6:14 am, and I'm hiding in their bathroom. I went to bed at about 3:00, and didn't experience and dreams or anything. When I woke though, I was completely terrified to the point that I was bawling my eyes out. My entire body was sticky with sweat considering I was hiding under the covers and I had on a hoodie along with sleeping pants. And I honestly don't know what to do now, there's no way I'm going to be able to go to sleep at this point. I laid there for a good hour before I got the courage to move from my position of layijg flat on my back with both hands covering my entire face- then I had to dig for my phone under the piles of covers. I don't know what to do.
I can really sympathize with both of you! I cannot figure out WHY I feel SO horrible after a refreshing 7 to 8 hours a night of sleep!! As soon as I MOVE my body to any degree, a rush of sickening symptoms flood my body...stiff all over, buzzing all over, shortness of breath, BURNING SKIN, burning inside my body, and a general sense of being sick!! Every day now is like this. Ithe lasts for HOURS!! I cannot physically go anywhere, talk to anyone. I suffer so bad I just cry my eyes out!!! I'm going to see a doctor just to have myself checked out. But, if they find "nothing" (again), then the answer is anxiety. But, why? I have NOTHING happening around me!! Cause is just simply UNKNOWN!! Hope you are all doing better!! I'll post again after I'm checked out by doctor! ♡♡♡♡
My wife has bad dreams and so much fear every night and mornings are a living hell for her.EVERY DAY ANXIETY AND PANIC ATTACKS.SHE NEEDS HELP I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO.
I have the same, every morning I wake up in the worst panic, it's made me loose my job as I was unable to go in. I want to sleep it off, seems the only thing that works. I cry uncontrollably and fear the worst(even if I don't know what it is) it's the worst feeling to have.
My partner is understanding but I see how he struggles with me. Just please be there for her. Calm her the best you can, fresh air and let her talk to you about it, even if it makes no sense. I have to cry so much, then when I'm done crying... I feel a sense of relief
Help me. I wake up scared everyday
Just try to be very understanding and gentle with her. I find that my anxiety is often eased with a tight squeeze hug (sympathetic nervous system speed reduction). She might benefit from some as-needed anxiolytics. Don’t let the doctors tell you she needs antipsychotics or the like. It’ll change her drastically, and they’re dangerous long term and shouldn’t be used unless there is serious psychosis present.
Agree completely. SSRIs are also very similar to antipsychotics in that they increase serotonin and dysregulate dopamine, cortisol and the sleep cycle, particularly REM. Also, any abrupt changes in these can cause this.
I've found that Niacin helps to dampen the adrenaline. It does cause a flush which bothers some. For me, it is a good distraction.
I might consider low dose beta blockers before benzos. Everyone is different.
Sex in the morning is great for morning anxiety
I take 3 mg of Klonopin and I wake up with bad anxiety every morning. Nothing I tried has seemed to help but I have had some minor success with a few things. It's not a cure but I personally have noticed an improvement in my morning anxiety if - I eat an early dinner about 4 to 6 hours before bed and then don't eat or drink anything after that, also noticed if I eat 2 meals a day with the first meal being around 10am and second meal being around 6pm. Also going to bed a little hungry I sleep better. It seems when I sleep I can't have anything in my stomach or I'll pay the next morning. Last night I ate at a restaurant at 9pm and I was jolted out of bed at 6am and I'm typing this too you now. Besides that, the only other thing that has worked is too elimate as all stress. And if I'm not up to going somewhere or doing something, I just don't go. Oh and on a final note, someone mentioned vitamins. Yes, I take multivitamin, fish oil, potassium, magnesium, and I use pink Himalayan sea salt. Getting everything you need in there even if you have to take 15 pills a day - do it. Cause I definitely notice a difference when I don't. At this point I'm getting off my klonopin cause I realize I doesn't do anything anymore. Building up tolerance and all. Best of luck to everyone. I hope we all beat this. We have to try. Don't give up.
After me and my boyfriend broke up and after more things have happened between me and him I wake up in a panic. It use to be every other day but now it's everyday that i wake up with this. I wake up feeling drained and sick and of course the feeling of being in a panic. Sometimes I cry because im too scared or angry of this feeling but that makes it worse so I'm kinda stuck. It feels like I'm empty but that could also be my slight depression that's going on
I HAVE EXACTLY THE SAME SYMPTOMS WITH TREMBLING OF THE STOMAC THAT WAKES ME UP AROUND 3AM AND NOT WANTING TO FACE THE DAY AND AN EMPTY HOUSE I WAS TOLD BY MY GO THAT ITS ACID IN THE STOMAC AND ADVISED TO TAKE NEXIUM BUT ITS NOT HELPING MUCH LOVW TO HEAR SOME ADVICE THAT HAS WORKED FOR YOUYOU
YES I UNDERSTAND SO MUCH HOW YOU ARE FEELING HAVING EXACTLY THE SAME SIMPTOMS ESPECIALLY WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT WAKING UP TO AN EMPTY HOUSE I WILL TRY FOR A BETTER DIET AND TAKE EXTRA VITAMINS IN THE HOPE IT WILL HELP FÈEL FREE TO KEEP IN TOUCH SHOULD YOU COME ACROSS SOME HELP THANK YOU
I just had morning anxiety I have sleep apnea and use a sleep apliance people complaining feel like lack of are feeling death you could need to get tested for sleep apnea.
I still suffer from a touch of morning anxiety. It's 7am, so here I am lol. Fortunately, it seems to be the last symptom from an anxiety-filled life. I used to be a virtual shut-in. I was the Queen of canceling appointments. I even canceled my own birthday party.
Then I did something that changed my life. I got my nutritional deficiencies tested. I'd been told by people for 10 plus years to look into it, but I kept thinking *I have genuine anxiety- genuine problems. Not just some silly nutritional deficiency*. I would get really defensive. But eventually, I felt that I couldn't handle the suffering anymore, so I looked into it. I was willing to try ANYTHING.
I was low in everything. Vitamin C. B12. If you could name it, I didn't have it. So I started a regime of vitamins and minerals. I take 15 plus vitamins everyday with the guidance of my GP. Within five days, I knew I had found my cure. I used to be on lorezapam, seroquel, and adderrall (diagnosed with ADHD, insomnia, anxiety). There were days when I would be eying the clock... waiting for my next tranquilizer.
It's seven months later, and now I take half of my 5mg of adderall (down from 25mg), and only on weekdays. Again, with the guidance of my GP, I slowly came off everything else. I sleep at night. I don't use an alarm clock. Many days, I will look up and realize- oh my goodness- it's 7pm and I've left work to go to the pub with friends. I didn't even think about going- I just went. If you have anxiety, you know how thrilling that realization is.
I cried in my doctor's office the day she apologized to me. The day she told me that the last 27 years of hell were seemingly caused by *nothing more* than malabsorption of vitamins.
This may not be the answer for you. But I feel like a 'born again' lol. And I have become utterly obnoxious in my desire to tell other people about my story. The beautiful part about suffering with anxiety for SO long, is that you truly appreciate each and everyday that you are able (With ease), to participate in the world.
Oh my goodness!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SAYING THIS. As a sufferer of multiple anxieties.. and also a recovering anorexic, I think you might be on something there!! I'm going to try getting my vitamins in me and see if that doesn't help!
My morning anxiety symptoms are intense stomach knots/cramps, as well as anxious thoughts, which start when I'm in still in that half-awake/half-asleep stage.
I was on Paxil for a few years, and while that helped a little, it did not address the underlying anxiety, and in fact, I decided to come off of it a few months ago, because for the first time in my life I developed clinical depression along with the anxiety. That's when I knew meds alone weren't the answer.
I started seeing a therapist more regularly and going to DBT groups (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) which are helping *tremendously*. I only wished I had known about DBT years ago. But better late than never...
I am hoping to not have to go back on any more meds, as the 2-3 kinds I was put on over the years had side-effects that were not worth it for me, and coming off the drugs was a process too. I know for many people, medication is absolutely necessary and a life-saver even, but I'm not sure my own bouts of anxiety and depression are severe and/or uncommon enough for serious brain-altering drugs with a long list of side-effects. I wished it were as simple as that, but after a few years of trying to find the answer in a pill, I've realized it's not-- at least not in my case.
I will still take the ocassional tranquilizer in special situations, but need to stay away from the SSRI's & other regular meds for now and learn to instead rely on DBT skills, breathing techniques, meditation, and healthy habits and supplements like Omega-3 fatty acids (which is great for dealing with stress, anxiety & depression.)
Thank you all for posting here. This is a great topic...
I am a morning person and never have an problems like that. However, for at least the last 20 years, periodically, if I have been having a nap during the day, perhaps because I am ill (cold, stomach upset) or just plain tired, I have woken up in an absolute state of panic - rapid heart beats. I can't imagine how you go through this everyday, but at least I am not going mad. Thank you for sharing this.
I also have that. I was diagnosed eight months ago after a wonderful healthy life. Anyway, if I drift off and wake up I'm in a complete panic, feel so low no words to describe. I don't understand this Anxiety Disorder at all
I know how you feel. My anxiety started with a vengeance out of nowhere about six months ago and I have been on medication ever since. I am unable to sleep without Zopiclone and the worst feeling is waking up in an empty house. The loneliness is terrble.
I so can relate, I get panic when my husband leaves for work in the morning. The panic I feel is terrible
Hoping we all get better soon. God bless.
I agree that loneliness and isolation or a stressful, unsupportive environment are my worst triggers.
I too suffer from anxiety especially the moment I open my eyes in the morning. I am presently taking celexa and that seems to alleviate some of it. I find I'm okay as long as I have a goal for that day but I dread those days when I know I have no actual plans. I believe I suffer from anxiety because of my separation and living on my own again. I wish I knew what I could do to work with the anxiety. I'm not good at sitting back and thinking peaceful thoughts. All I can think of is "why me" and how I hate having to deal with it. Does anxiety ever go away forever, or is it something that is part of you for lifetime and is just dormant till the next crisis in your life?
I have the exact same problem.. very scary!!
I do too, it's awful
Well, i guess i can tell my parents I wasn't faking all these years to get out of school. I feel extreme anxiety (which hasn't been diagnosed, i'm afraid of doctors/psychologists) constantly but it's horrible in the morning. I never want to close my eyes in fear of what the next day will bring!! I just saw this and now i know I'm not crazy! and that what i'm feeling is real, not just all in my head. My heart pounds, i sweat, i dread getting out of bed so much that i get horrible nausea and pains - so much so that i can't get out of bed and eventually get sick. I almost failed two classes this year. I've never missed so much school in my life. for me, the only way to avoid felling like this is to not sleep. It summer now, so i'll have to try it next year!
When I only sleep lightly, the morning anxiety is not there. I'm thinking this is some sort of sleep disorder.
The only way to understand how miserable the morning anxiety can make you is to experiance it yourself. Most people who have never experienced it, simply don't comprehend the gravity of it because it cannot be compared to a visible ailment like broken arm or a cut in the skin. The author of this article and the respondents have accurately described this problem here.
In 2008 I was suffering from the same symptoms. My doctor checked my EKG report and sent me directly through the emergency doors of a nearest hospital. Within 2 days I had triple bypass heart surgery. A year later, I started having similar symptoms. My cardiologist rushed me to the same hospital for angioplasty to insert a stent in my artery.
If you continue to feel the above symptoms, please have an EKG done just to be sure your heart and arteries are OK.
Hi. Both myself and my son suffer with anxiety and the mornings can be the hardest to get through. Sometimes it is helpful to play a relaxing CD with affirmations upon waking. Also, it is probably better to get up and find some distraction like reading, painting (not walls)!
I think this site is so beneficial as the more people know that they are not alone suffering from Anxiety, the less frightening it becomes.
Thank you for all advice. When it's bad you try anything!
Hi. I really didn't know there was a such thing as morning anxiety, until I googled it. I just knew how uncontrollably helpless I felt in the morning. I feel confused, dizzy, my heart pounds, my chest hurts, my hands tingle and the first thought in my mind is "I am terrified because I'm alone". It's not so bad if someone is home and I talk to them when I get up. But if I am home alone, my mind starts racing and I get scared. I don't know why!?? I have trouble falling asleep at night. I usually would not go to bed until 2 am or sometimes later. I've just always been a night person. Well I will take all of your advice and see how it helps! Thanks.....
What a wonderful service you provide by creating a safe space for those with anxiety can talk freely about it. Anxiety is something that is so painful, and becomes even more painful when we push it under the rug like we do in our society and pretend it isn't happening.
People vary and what works for one person often doesn't work for others. I believe in trial and error, a day (or a second as the case may be) at a time, and letting experience guide your way through this.
When people want professional help for it. it is really helpful to go in prepared to talk clearly about your situation. you can go to www.the-first-step.com and download a free appointment preparation worksheet to help you articulate clearly what's going on with you. i have developed a series of worksheets (and don't want to sound hype-y or sales-y here) and yet want to offer my services to readers who want to make informed healthcare choices with dedicated providers. you can find out more at www.the-first-step.com as well.
i have suffered with depression, anxiety and a host of other things- my worksheets are a result of many years of screwed up communications with healthcare providers where my needs weren't being appropriately addressed - in part because i didn't speak the same language as my healthcare providers.
i hope in some way this may help you and your readers find more tools to improve their well being.
I have episodes that when my alarm clock goes off in the morning I reach to turn if off and immediately my whole body is trembling as if I have been startled and I'm weak and when I get out of bed I stumble and almost feel as if I'm drunk and so sleepy as if I have been given a drug and I stay sleepy and drug out all day. But the trembling usually only lasts a few minutes. Also, what is weird is it seems that if I wake up on my own (like on the weekends) without the alarm I seem to be ok. Does anyone have this or have you ever heard of this?
YES! This is why I am googling this topic right now. I have had anxiety and panic attacks but mine were more at night and not so much in the morning and have subsided the last couple of months thank goodness. But I am often startled awake by my alarm clock and even mentioned it to my doctor. I'm doing Keto now and checking my blood glucose with a glucometer upon waking (while still in bed) and just this week noticed that my glucose is higher (by just a few mmol) when I wake up than when I went to bed! I was like WTF!?! Usually after daytime fasting for 12 hours, my glucose is around 72-75 but I'm waking up with it at 95! I know that adrenaline/cortisol spikes your glucose so I really think it's because of the damn alarm clock scaring the crap out of me and my adrenals are shooting out adrenaline. When that alarm goes off sometimes the feeling is like when you narrowly avoid having a traffic accident and your heart is pounding. I'll usually try to lay there for a few minutes and calm my heart rate down using deep slow breathing and reminding myself it's just the clock. I am going to test my glucose in the morning (Saturday) when I can sleep in with no alarm and see if my glucose is lower/normal fasting levels. Then I'll know it's from the clock. In that case, I'm going to try to find a different alarm that sounds more soothing and gradual.
I really think it's important that we get enough sleep (at least 5 or 6 1.5 hour sleep cycles) and/or go to bed early enough so that we can be awake without that alarm clock. I'm a hard-core night owl so this will not be easy for me but I've just been trying to take it one day at a time. I'm now getting to the point of being able to get in bed by about half past midnight which is way better than my typical 1-2am. It was getting to be closer to 3 am when I was having anxiety because I was afraid to get in bed for fear of triggering an attack. But anyway, yes, we need to get more sleep, meditate, breathe with diaphram throughout the day to lower cortisol, and no caffeine or spicy or high-fiber foods in the evening.
I have anxiety. It got so bad that I would panic when my husband went to work. I had to stay with my in-laws at night. I tried to go to work but it seemed to worsen and started having more stress and anxiety. I finally was told my job was suffering; that I should go off and take care of my health. I was hesitant because insurance company gave me a hard time last time for being off. I agreed to 6 months off because work was paying for it first before it went to long term.
I had other issues as well. I was very, very sick and nobody knew why. I am still not at work. I am much better, but still have panic issues when I think or see my work. My doctor thinks I need more time and I agreed. My depression is much better but still not my same old self.
Yoga definitely helped me. The insurance company denied my claim for long term. They feel that since I can do yoga, go for walks, I can go to work and work on my problems. I have talked to a psychiatrist and counselors who say otherwise. I am glad I found this website so I don't feel like I am not alone. I am on a high dosage of effexor 300mg. It made quite a difference, but I thought I would be back to normal self by now. I just learn to take it one step at a time.
I have suffered from panic attacks for over 20 years. The best drug I have found with the least side effects has been amitriptyline. This works to prevent the panic attack from occuring. I also take alprazolam for panic breakthroughs. This tactic leaves me feeling a little more in control. Yoga is also good for hormonal balance, and works best for me at around 6pm as I am a night owl. I feel able to go to bed around 3 or 4 am, and a Tigger clock the goes off with a "hoo, hoo, hoo, are you ready for some bouncin'" instead of the heart jarring ring. I still have some bad days, but they are getting fewer and farther between. If you need some one to talk to, I am available at 719-924-5557. Hope this helps.
Thanks for all of your tips. You are such a sweetheart to open yourself up so much to strangers. Thanks for being so supportive. You rock!
I've read all your posts and its interesting. I panic and have anxiety when I wake up in the morning. After a nasty divorce of 5 years ago I have been living alone and waking up in an empty house was frightening. I would stay in bed for weeks at a time. I don't know if getting this off my chest will help or make matters worse. I am phobic about taking a shower so it doesn't comfort me. I feel like I need a medication that will suppress the anxiety and panic. I am in really bad shape and need help desparately. Wish there was a magic wand to wave but there isn't and I don't know how I can stand to keep going like this. The stress is taking its toll. My beautiful hair is falling out like crazy.