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What are the symptoms of morning anxiety?

Anxiety can manifest in both physical and mental symptoms that may emerge suddenly or gradually over time. For instance, morning anxiety refers to the experience of waking up with feelings of anxiety or experiencing such symptoms shortly after waking up.


Experiencing temporary morning anxiety in response to life circumstances is a common occurrence and is typically not a cause for concern. However, persistent anxiety may indicate the presence of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Beginning each day with feelings of anxiety could be a sign that you are suffering from GAD.

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As per the National Institute of Mental Health, the primary indicators of a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are:

  • Excessive concern regarding routine matters is a key symptom of a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
  • You have difficulty sleeping.
  • trouble controlling worry
  • trouble concentrating
  • Sleep disturbances are a common symptom associated with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
  • Being aware of excessive worry beyond what is necessary.
  • headaches and other unexplained pain
  • twitching or easily startled
  • irritability
  • sweating, lightheadedness, shortness of breath

What causes the experience of waking up with anxiety?

After returning from Dream Town, have you noticed that your morning anxiety has increased? This may be due to a natural phenomenon called the cortisol awakening response. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, typically increases within the first 30 to 45 minutes after waking up. Scientists believe this increase in cortisol aids in preparing the brain for daily activities.

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However, if you are experiencing underlying stress and anxiety, this may cause cortisol levels to rise excessively. Therefore, it’s important to examine potential factors that could influence your anxiety levels upon waking up.


Stress and anxiety tend to be closely intertwined. When you encounter one or more stressors in life, such as financial problems, illness, job dissatisfaction, or relationship issues, it can lead to the development of anxiety. Additionally, cortisol levels usually increase when experiencing stress, which can be especially noticeable during the morning peak soon after awakening.

Maintaining good physical well-being.

Numerous health conditions can result in anxiety and sleep disturbances. Below are some examples of health issues that can cause difficulty sleeping and lead to morning anxiety:

  • Injuries and persistent discomfort.
  • Cardiovascular illness and hypertension.
  • diabetes
  • cancer
  • asthma
  • psoriasis
  • Alterations in hormone levels resulting from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysmorphic disorder (PMDD), pregnancy, or menopause.

Mental Health or Mental Health Conditions

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) can contribute to both insomnia and experiencing anxiety upon awakening. Comparable symptoms can be found in other mental health conditions, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and bipolar disorder.

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PTSD may also generate nightmares or flashbacks to traumatic events that result in sudden panic upon waking up. If you have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and observe heightened anxiety or sleep issues, it is advisable to consult with your doctor or therapist.

Conditions that affect sleep patterns.

Sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy can contribute to the development of anxiety.

Instances of sleep paralysis can also trigger intense fear upon awakening and may involve hallucinations of an intruder in the room. This profound disruption to sleep occurs during the REM stage when you are partially conscious, but your muscles are temporarily paralyzed, which can result in feelings of anxiety in the morning.

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Individuals with anxiety disorders, a history of trauma, or those who consume alcohol are at a higher risk of experiencing sleep paralysis.

Consumption of alcohol or drugs.

Alcohol and other substance use can exacerbate anxiety, and consuming alcohol before sleeping has been linked to poor sleep quality.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) reports that approximately 20 percent of Americans with alcohol or substance use disorders also suffer from anxiety or mood disorders.

In summary, anxiety and alcohol/substance use does not mix well. If you have a history of alcohol or substance use disorder combined with anxiety, it is advisable to seek assistance from your therapist or physician. They can assist you in identifying the most appropriate treatment option for your specific needs.

What is causing me to experience panic attacks upon waking up?

It is possible to experience a panic attack during the night, even if you are managing anxiety or panic disorder during the day. Studies suggest that between 44% to 71% of individuals with panic disorder may experience nighttime panic attacks, also known as nocturnal panic attacks, typically within the first few hours of falling asleep.

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These episodes could be triggered by intense and alarming dreams or night terrors, which can cause sudden awakening with feelings of terror that may resemble a panic attack. Factors such as fever, illness, excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption, and emotional stress are commonly associated with night terrors. The Sand Man, or the process of falling asleep itself, could also be a contributing factor.

What are the treatments for anxiety upon waking up?

If you suspect that your sleeplessness and anxiety are due to Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), it is advisable to consult with a medical professional about your symptoms. They can evaluate your medical history and may perform additional tests to eliminate any underlying physical causes for your condition. Your doctor may also recommend a referral to a therapist or psychiatrist for treatment.

Typically, GAD is treated through therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, or medication.

How can I alleviate my symptoms of anxiety in the morning?

You can also take several measures to enhance your sleep quality and cope with feelings of anxiety in the morning:

  • Maximize the quality of your sleep: “Maintain a consistent sleep schedule and rest in a calm, cool, and dark atmosphere.”
  • Set aside the coffee and alcohol: Restrict your intake of caffeine and alcohol prior to going to sleep.
  • Engage in a workout” or “Fit in a workout session: Physical activity can aid in diminishing feelings of anxiety by triggering the release of endorphins, which can alleviate stress and promote better sleep.
  • Ease your mind and unwind: Incorporate techniques such as meditation, journaling, or visualization to cultivate a positive state of mind before going to bed and upon waking up.
  • Take a Deep Breeeeeethe: Consider practicing breathing exercises if you wake up feeling anxious or on edge as they can help alleviate those feelings.
So, What are the Takeaways?

Sleep is meant to provide a refuge from our daytime concerns, so it can be discouraging when anxiety and panic disrupt our rest.

Various factors such as daily stressors, health issues, or an anxiety disorder may cause one to wake up feeling anxious. Treatment options such as therapy and medication can help with managing generalized anxiety disorder. Additionally, making lifestyle modifications can aid in reducing stress and improving sleep quality.


(This content including advice provides common information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. JOLTYOURBUDS does not claim responsibility for this information.)

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