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Morning Anxiety: Why Do We Feel Worried As soon as we Wake Up?

A hot coffee, bird chirps and the sunlight that warms you. If all this does not make sense to you and you wake up anxiously as soon as your alarm rings, you may be experiencing morning anxiety. Morning anxiety affects the rest of the day significantly. As soon as you wake up, it is normal to worry about daily tasks. However, if this happens every morning, your symptoms may indicate an anxiety disorder. Morning anxiety is not a medical term. But experts use this concept to describe feeling anxious and stressed in the morning. So what is morning anxiety, why do you wake up anxiously in the morning? Let’s look at the details together.


What are the symptoms of morning anxiety?

Physical and mental symptoms of anxiety can occur suddenly. Morning anxiety manifests itself immediately after waking up. It is perfectly normal to think briefly about what is going on in your life and experience a temporary anxiety. But if your anxiety occurs every morning, you may be suffering from widespread anxiety disorder. Experts explain the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder:


Difficulty sleepingExcessive worry about everyday thingsBurnoutNot being able to control anxietyUnrestDifficulty focusingEasily scaredIrritabilityHeadachesShortness of breath


Why do we wake up in the morning anxiously?


According to experts, a natural process called “cortisol waking response” may be the reason why you feel anxious in the morning. Cortisol, the stress hormone, rises in the first 30 to 45 minutes after waking up. In fact, this increase helps our brain prepare for the challenges it will face on that day. But underlying stress or anxiety can cause cortisol levels to rise too high. This can lead to morning anxiety.




Stress and anxiety are processes that are practically intertwined. Facing situations such as financial worries, illness, job dissatisfaction, and relationship problems can increase stress levels. When you are stressed, cortisol levels are higher than they should be. The sudden rise of the hormone cortisol, especially after waking up in the morning, can cause morning anxiety.


Physical health


Another reason you wake up badly in the morning may be due to health conditions. Chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart or high blood pressure, as well as injuries, premenstrual syndrome and allergies can also cause you to experience morning anxiety.


Mental health conditions


Mental health conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder have similar symptoms. These diseases can cause you to wake up in a panic. On the other hand, if you have panic disorder during the day, it is possible to wake up in the morning with a panic attack. Research shows that 44% to 71% of people with panic disorder experience attacks in the morning. If you have a psychiatric diagnosis and wake up quite badly in the morning, it is advisable to talk to your doctor about the issue.


Sleep disorders


Sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea and narcolepsy can cause you to wake up in the morning with anxiety. However, sleep paralysis can also cause you to be afraid when you wake up. Sleep paralysis occurs partly during the moments when you are awake. But during this time, your muscles cannot move or you may experience short-term hallucinations.


Consuming alcohol


Drinking alcohol immediately before sleep negatively affects sleep quality. This can make you feel tired and exhausted in the morning.


Can morning anxiety be treated?


If you wake up restless and you think the reason for this is anxiety disorder, you can get support from a specialist without wasting time. Your doctor can give you some tests by evaluating your health history. After your doctor evaluates your symptoms, he or she will begin the most appropriate treatment for you. These treatment options include cognitive behavioral therapy and medications. Apart from all these, the steps you can try to manage morning anxiety are:


Have a regular sleeping time and sleep in a dark environment.Limit alcohol and caffeine before going to bedExercise regularly to reduce your stressTry meditating to relax the mind before going to sleepReduce stress hormone levels with breathing exercises



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