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 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-panic/morning-anxiety-anxiety-panic/2010/01/morning-anxiety-101-symptoms-and-causes
Author: Aimee White
and while i was wondering what happen i searched this online blog. now i know im not alone in this situation. but this time im trying to forget what happen this morning and i keep trusting God for my rest of my days. that his will be done to me. whatever it is...
There's something going on where I'm half awake in a semi dream state, but all of the dreams are steeped in terror even if they're not scary at their core.
Take care everyone.
You probably have read it already if you’ve been researching.
Also be sure you aren't dehydrated, dehydration will set off anxiety!
My other inputs. Talk it out. See a counselor or someone who is a good listener. Going through a break up or something stressful- it's so important to talk it out. Your a human being and you can't always carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. Allow your body to grieve and give yourself some grace. I would beat myself up so much and what a horrible person I was for having panic attacks and missing hang outs with people because of how stressed and sick I was. But it only made it worse.
Another thing, deep breathing and mindfulness. Be present focused and nothing else. Your brain will want to take you on a Rollercoaster ride when you first wake up but give it something else to think on. Like the softness of a blanket or the texture of something or some music. (What my counselor suggested) And don't fight the panic attacks. That's what made it worse for me. Once I started to accept them and understand why my body was responding the way it was. The less panic attacks and throwing up I had. Another thing. Everything inside of you will say no but I highly recommend doing a workout right when you wake up. Get rid of the stress hormones and get some happy ones. When you run or workout it creates serotonin which helps so much. Your body needs a way to get rid of the stress and if you don't find a place for it- it can go to your stomach. My dad (who also is a counselor) always says the stomach is like the second brain.
Also totally random but a huge thing that made a world of a difference for me. Diet. My whole GI track was inflamed and it made anxiety and depression a nightmare. If you have gut problems I highly recommend a diet without wheat or dairy or an anti inflammatory diet. 80-95% of your happy hormones (serotonin) are made in your gut. If that's not doing well, youre probably not doing well.
Anyways I hope this helps someone. And I encourage you all. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and easier seasons. But I pray you all find relief. On a personally note meditating and reading my bible is another thing that has been one of the biggest helps for me. Of course I am not forcing this on anyone. I am just sharing what personally has helped me and have nothing but a heart to want to help. It's been a blessing to know I don't have to have all my crap together- and to stop being such a people pleaser. It wore me out. So give yourself some grace <3
I'm sorry to read of what you're going through right now. Because this started after surgery, there is very likely a direct correlation that is worth talking to a doctor about. Is your current doctor responsive and willing to discuss your new anxiety and symptoms give your surgery? If not, it's okay to seek treatment from a different doctor. While you're straightening out the medical aspects, you might consider seeing a therapist to talk about your experience, the way your family is acting with you, and things you can do to overcome this. It is possible to overcome this new anxiety, and it will be much easier with the right support and medical care.
I suffered with this for a year or two when I was in my 30's. It only lasted a few minutes each morning and went away when I got busy with the day.
Now I'm in my 50's and it's starting again. This morning I went for a brisk 15 minute walk as soon as I work up. My mind was still trying to go to dark/negative thoughts but I prayed through it. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! I feel much better. ...it's a start :)