Morning Anxiety: Symptoms & Causes

Instructor: Millicent Kelly

Millicent has been teaching at the university level since 2004. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's degree in Human Resources.

This lesson will provide an overview of morning anxiety symptoms and causes. Some tips on how to alleviate this type of anxiety will also be discussed.

What is Morning Anxiety?

Joanne wakes up with her heart pulsating and thoughts racing. She manages to crawl out of bed, feeling slightly lightheaded, and heads straight for the coffee machine. She didn't sleep well at all and trembles slightly as she goes to pour her first cup of coffee. A general sense of dread hangs over Joanne like a cloud, and she wonders how she will get it together and face yet another day. Joanne has been waking up feeling like this for several months. She is embarrassed to tell anyone and doesn't know what exactly is going on.

Pending a comprehensive medical examination that would rule out a physiological cause for Joanne's symptoms, it could be plausible to assume that Joanne is suffering from a condition commonly referred to as morning anxiety.

Symptoms of Morning Anxiety

People who suffer from morning anxiety tend to experience a number of symptoms, including:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Feeling weak, dizzy, and out of control
  • Nervousness, and experiencing a sense of impending terror
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Increased perspiration
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling out of control
  • Trembling

Considering these symptoms, it is easy to understand why morning anxiety can have a debilitating effect on someone and could be mistaken as something more serious, such as a heart ailment.

Causes of Morning Anxiety

So, what exactly causes morning anxiety? Some identified causes of morning anxiety are:

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Stress and overproduction of cortisol (a hormone that heightens anxiety symptoms)
  • Low blood sugar upon waking which can cause dizziness
  • Your sleeping environment (comfort, noise level, how you wake up)
  • GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) - A diagnosed mental condition which makes individuals prone to anxiety-related episodes and panic attacks

Managing Morning Anxiety

There are several techniques that can be utilized to manage and minimize morning anxiety symptoms and allow individuals to continue to live normal, happy, and healthy lives. These include:

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