Anxiety when waking up: 200 shocking truths

Does this happen with you- the moment your mind wake up in the morning (you haven’t even opened your eyes); you start worrying about what will happen during the day; the events to occur during the day and probably what had happened the previous day and so on.

Basically, your day start with fear/anxiety.

What you are facing is known as morning anxiety. You wake up with feelings of stress and worry.  This anxiety is so powerful and dreading that you might not want to face the day; rather feels like getting inside the covers again.

What are the symptoms of morning anxiety disorder?

Sometimes, it does happen to everybody that they are worried about the day ahead which is a normal part of life. However, if it is occurring with you regularly over the past six months, you might be suffering from morning anxiety disorder.

You might be experiencing some of these symptoms while waking up in the morning:

  • restlessness or feeling of on an edge continuously
  • irritability
  • Fatigue: Though you have woken up with a good sleep; however you may still feel tiredness.
  • Difficulty in concentration or loss of concentration. Sometimes, your mind may even go blank.
  • Signs of a panic attack, such as chest pain, tense muscles, higher than normal heart rate, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, dry mouth etc.
  • Difficult for you to control worrying excessively.

What causes morning anxiety?

Morning anxiety is a reaction to worries and stresses which are caused due to a lot of factors singly or combined together.

  • Lack of enough quality sleep: Sleep is considered to be the best remedy to rejuvenate both our physical and physiological health. Studies have suggested that giving good sleep to your body helps in boosting your mental health since it is during good sleep only that brain chemicals related to mental health are replenished.

So, if you are not getting good quality sleep; it is natural for you to wake up anxious, worried and irritated because your biological clock has not completed its cycle.

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  • Blame it on your stress hormone- Cortisol: The “stress hormone” cortisol is released by the adrenal glands in response to fear or stress.

Research has found that the level of cortisol is highest in the first hour of waking for people with an increased level of stress in their lives. This helps explain why you may experience an increase in anxiety in the morning.

  • Eating unhealthy food in the morning: It is always said that you should start your day with eating healthy. This is true not only for your physical health; but also your physiological health.

Caffeine and sugar are known to increase anxiety symptoms. So you never know; starting your day with that morning cup of coffee might be adding to your anxiety level.

Also, remember that if you are skipping your breakfast, you are probably worsening the anxiety symptoms since a low blood sugar due to lack of food also contribute towards it.

How is morning anxiety treated?

Waking up with an anxiety in the morning is not a great thing to look forward to. Try not to get discouraged, though, as there are lots of ways to minimize morning anxiety and wake up excited to start the new day.

With the right support, treatment and self help; you will be able to manage the symptoms of this disorder better.

Psychotherapy

A type of psychotherapy (sometimes called as talk therapy) known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is especially useful for treating morning anxiety disorder. This therapy helps you in learning different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations which in turn will lessen your anxiety level.

Your therapist will try to give you an understanding of how anxiety is affecting your life and give a perspective of how it can be made better by reducing your anxiety level.

Your therapist will try to understand the severity of your symptoms and work out ways to reduce them.

Medication

Medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs can help relieve the symptoms of morning anxiety disorders. However, since these medications are powerful; they are generally not advised for a longer period of time.

Some people may even become dependent on them.

In order to avoid these situations, generally healthcare professionals advise these anti-anxiety medications for short periods.

Lifestyle changes

Bringing change to your lifestyle and knowing and managing the stressors are advised in the long run. Reducing the stress in your life and brining an overall positive attitude will really help in coping with this disorder.

Self help strategies to cope with Morning Anxiety Disorder

You may try with the following strategies for reducing and coping with this disorder:

Good sleep habits: Sleep is considered to be the best remedy to rejuvenate both our physical and physiological health. Studies have suggested that giving good sleep to your body helps in boosting your mental health.

If you are not giving yourself a good quality sleep, you may be having a host of complaints like headaches, decreased energy, poor concentration, short-term memory problems, irritability, and anxiety.

Some healthy sleep habits to consider adopting include:

  • Try to fix a sleep schedule and follow it every day, including weekends. Going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every day helps in proper biological functioning of your body which decreases the stress hormones.
  • Try to keep your sleeping place cool, calm and dark. It is a soothing environment to induce sleep.
  • Turn off or put your electronic gadgets on silent mode. Notification alerts and blue light from the screen keep your brain buzzing, and make it harder for it to reach a state of relaxation.  Watching TV and working on computer keeps your mind in active mode and doesn’t let relaxation take over your body.
  • Engage in a relaxing activity before bedtime like curling up with a good book or getting a back rub from your partner. Relaxation reduces cortisol, the stress hormone that can increase your blood pressure and heart rate.
  • You should avoid stimulating activities two to three hours before bedtime like exercising vigorously, and drinking caffeine.
  • Research has proved that music has a soothing effect on the body. It sometimes lets you drift from the present and you flow with the tune of the music. Press that play button on your tape recorder. You may try listening to songs which calms your mind and help you enter a state of relaxation.

Remember that a good sleep is a precursor to a good start of the day. So, let your natural body clock decide how much hours of sleep your body requires and maintain a good sleep cycle.

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Decide and take out clothes for tomorrow from your closet.

This may sound easy; however for people with morning anxiety disorder; deciding on which clothes to wear in the morning at the start of the day may seem like a daunting task. There are so many clothes in the wardrobe and the matching accessories that matching everything and deciding may let you feel exhausted.

On the top of that, there remains pressure of everyday morning chores of the home. Combined everything causes anxiety.

This simple step will give you extra time for yourself in the morning and help in combating some of the morning stress.

Exercise and deep breathing

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself in the morning; especially if you are dealing with an excessive amount of worry when you wake up.

Exercise releases hormones in your body which improves your body’s ability to handle stress and help you relax. It also gives a positive feeling that you are doing something for yourself and taking care of yourself. Any physical activity lifts your mood and reduces anxiety symptoms.

Aim to exercise at least five days per week for 30–45 minutes each session.

You may also practice yoga in your room in the morning which can help you feel calmer. Taking some time to meditate and relax will help you stay present and face the day with a calmer disposition.

Breathing is a power tool in reducing anxiety because it calls upon your body’s relaxation response. Breathing properly can help ensure that your blood is being properly oxygenated and thus, the body doesn’t produce stress hormone.

You should focus the attention on your breathing and try to inhale and exhale slowly and at a steady rate. This will help you in calming down.

When you are involved in some kind of physical activity like exercise, yoga, meditation or breathing; it also takes off your mind from what lies ahead in the day since your mind is not blank and you are concentrating on these activities. These activities train you to focus on the present instead of the past or future.

Change your dietary habits

What you eat and drink definitely plays a role with the stress level and anxiety in your body.  Some research have suggested that people who suffer from anxiety disorders generally tend to have poor dietary habits like meals which are low in fruits, vegetables, and protein, and high in saturated fat and refined carbohydrates.

Talk to your dietician and try changing your diet to one that’s balanced in protein, omega-3 fatty acid and foods high in fiber and roughage. Choosing low-glycemic index carbohydrates at each meal will help avoid glucose spikes and dips that may contribute to symptoms of anxiety.

Caffeine is known to produce anxiety. Even if caffeine isn’t causing your morning anxiety, it’s a powerful stimulant that can fuel anxiety in a few people—so consider eliminating or at least cutting back on coffee and tea to see if your symptoms improve.

Positive thinking

You cannot undermine the role of positive thinking on both your mind and your body. People with positive approach towards life tends to focus on their present and do not dwell on negative thoughts.

If you have been dealing with morning anxiety for some time, it’s possible that you have developed automatic negative thought patterns that can fuel your anxiety. This means that your mind awakens, and without any conscious effort on your part, worried thoughts take center stage, leading to more anxiety.

Try replacing negative emotions with positive ones and negative statements with positive statements. You need to keep assuring yourself that you can handle the symptoms of anxiety as you have dealt with them before also.  Try and train your brain to think like that.

Though easier said than done; try to be in company of people who reinforce positive thoughts on you and make you feel happier.

Remember that it is natural to feel anxiety

Plenty of daily events can cause anxiety. The trigger can be the stress at work, relationship problems, current events, or any other emotional event, everyone.

Acknowledging the disorder is the first step towards dealing with it. Accept that you are suffering from morning anxiety disorder and you need help towards alleviating the symptoms and have to work upon it.

Practice acknowledging anxiety by saying, ‘Yes, I am feeling anxious right now.’”

A word

You may sometimes feel that morning anxiety disorder has taken over your life and anxiety has become a permanent part of your life. However, remember that it is up to you only whether you want to work towards improving the symptoms or let it remain like that only.

Even though the symptoms of morning anxiety can feel overwhelming and permanent, they are highly treatable. When you combine professional treatment along with the self-care strategies listed above, you can experience relief from the racing thoughts and worry that invade your mind.

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