Why Is My Anxiety Worse In The Morning?

Do you wake up feeling anxious or worried in the morning? Do you feel as if you’re going to lose control as your mind is racing with negative thoughts and your heart seems to flutter in your chest? If this happens with you and you wonder why then you’ve reached the best place to find your answers. 

In this blog, “Why is my anxiety worse in the morning?” I will discuss why this phenomenon happens and what could be the potential causes behind it. Trust me, you don’t want to miss all the details. 

Morning anxiety is like an uninvited guest, which robs your peace of mind and leaves you with worried thoughts. It is a common affliction and can wake you up during the night, leave you struggling to go back to sleep. 

Also check: Long Term Benzodiazepine Use for Anxiety

Why is my anxiety worse in the morning?

Anxiety can occur at any time of the day but for some people, it can be the worst in the morning. It leads them wondering “why is my anxiety worse in the morning?” Well, there is a scientific reason behind this. 

There is a hormone called Cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone” which is released in response to stress.

The level of this stress hormone is the highest in the first hour after waking up. It is a physiological rise in hormones to help up stay alert in the morning. 

However, if you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder or go to bed feeling anxious, your cortisol level can spike too early. This will lead to horrible morning anxiety symptoms.

When you experience anxious thoughts in the morning with your heart pounding out of your chest and cramps in your stomach, your whole day is ruined. 

Also check: Long Term Benzodiazepine Use for Anxiety

Why do I wake up with anxiety?

Morning anxiety can be caused by several factors that may contribute to your symptoms. Morning anxiety is basically a response to stress and worries that lead to many symptoms such as trembling, extreme terrorizing thoughts, and racing heart. 

Cortisol (Stress Hormone) – One of the main potential factors is “stress hormone” i.e. cortisol. Cortisol levels peak in the morning when you wake up. Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands in response to stress.

In various researches, researchers have studied that cortisol is highest in the first 60 minutes (first hour) of waking in the morning. This is known as Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR). 

Usually, people with an increased level of stress in their lives experience anxiety in the early morning. This leads to cortisol overreaction leading to an anxiety attack. Let’s look at the possible causes of morning anxiety.

Thoughts before bedtime – Another factor can be the anxious thoughts you might have before sleeping at night. If you are going to sleep with anxious and disturbing thoughts, you’ll feel early morning anxiety as well. 

You might even wake up in the middle of the night with anxious thoughts and have difficulty going back to sleep.

Food/ Drinks you consume – Many people don’t realize that what they eat or drink first after they wake up can also cause morning anxiety. High sugar or caffeine intake can elevate your anxiety symptoms. 

Low Blood Sugar – Eating nothing in the morning can also contribute to higher levels of anxiety in the early hours of your day. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can make your anxiety worse. This is the reason why a healthy breakfast is necessary to keep your day going more positively.

Worrying about your future – Thinking or worrying a lot about what lies ahead in your life can also lead to anxiety in the morning. Overthinking about your future and mulling it over can lead to extremely anxious thoughts which can lead to waking up with a racing mind and heart.

Anxiety Disorder – Underlying anxiety disorder can the reason why you’re waking up with anxiety attack in the morning.

Chronic Stress – Most likely, feeling stressed before sleeping is why you’re waking up with anxiety in the night.

If you’re going to bed worrying and stressed, either about your relationship or your office/ school/ college work, you are likely to feel concerned and anxious when you wake up. That’s why it’s important to go to bed with a calm and relaxed mind. 

Also check: What Kind Of Doctor Should I See For Anxiety?

Why do I wake up with a pit in my stomach?

If you are waking up with a racing mind, increased heart rate, pit in the stomach, trembling body, and sweating along with other panic symptoms, it indicates you have morning anxiety. Anxiety in the early morning could have many potential causes. 

Either it’s your office work stress that’s bothering you all day and even before bedtime, or relationship issues that making your morning terrible. Chronic stress is a possible cause of horrible morning anxiety.

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What does it mean when you wake up with anxiety?

When the beginning of your day is with anxiety, what else could probably be worse? Waking up with anxiety can be pretty much a terrible experience as your whole day is affected. 

Waking up with morning anxiety is like a repeating cycle of negative thoughts. You feel a surge of overwhelming panic and feel as if you’re going crazy.

Your heart palpitations and trembling won’t stop. You start to hyperventilate as you gasp for air, but you choke and feel like you’re going to pass out. 

All the anxiety symptoms start to kick in as you have your anxious thoughts. It may show you are suffering from an anxiety disorder or you worry too much before sleeping.

Also check: How to get a job with social anxiety

Is morning anxiety common?

If you feel anxious and out of sorts in the morning, then you are not the only one. Morning anxiety has become a very common problem nowadays especially in young people. 

According to recent studies, almost a third of young people suffer from morning anxiety and sickness. They suffer anxious thoughts about everything, from employment instability to climate crisis.  

Many people experience racing thoughts, excessive worry, racing heartbeat, and other panic symptoms as soon as they open their eyes in the morning. Waking up with anxiety attack is very common as it can strike as soon as you wake up. 

Also check: Can I Get Disability For Depression And Anxiety?

Why morning anxiety has become such a common problem?

According to recent research, stress, and anxiety are on the rise, affecting especially young people. They suffer from stress and anxiety as they reach adulthood and face the problems life throws at them.

They worry about their jobs, studies, relationships, the rising cost of housing and so much more. 

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Why do I feel worse in the morning?

It’s all because of your stress hormones!! Cortisol, a stress hormone, is secreted in high amounts in the morning. Too much cortisol can lead to many problems such as depression, anxiety, lack of concentration, and even memory issues. 

Cortisol levels usually spike after waking up in the morning. Your body may overreact to cortisol and leave you anxious or down in the morning. 

How long can anxiety last?

Anxiety attacks usually last 10-30 minutes. It rarely lasts more than 30 minutes. It usually peaks within 10-15 minutes. It usually varies from person to person and from situation to situation. 

No matter how short the duration of the anxiety attack might be, you may experience severe terror and fear as if you feel you’re about to die. The feeling of anxiety might be extreme that you feel you might lose control. 

What sleep inertia feels like?

Do you ever wake up feeling heavy and disoriented? This is sleep inertia. It is defined as a temporary state of disorientation and decreased performance after waking up from sleep. You may feel grogginess that is weighing you down. It seems like a part of your body is still in a sleep state.

Sleep inertia usually doesn’t last for a long duration. Its typical duration is 15-30 minutes but in some people, it can last up to 4 hours. It can affect anyone and make you feel tired and groggy.


Concluding my article, “Why is my anxiety worse at night?” I’ll say that stress and anxiety are a normal part of life, although they can leave you struggling in your daily routine. Morning anxiety can have a detrimental impact on your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. 

You just can “turn off” your anxiety but there are ways to manage and control it. Professional help and self-care strategies can surely bring relief from the worrying thoughts that invade your mind.

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