It seems that there is a lot of interest in morning anxiety. I was curious about this because when my anxiety is the worst, its always in the mornings. So I decided to do a little research on my own. Interestingly, Jerry from rxlist says,
"Yes, depression and anxiety are worse in the morning. That is when your body's cortisol level is the hightest(cortisol is stimulating) and that accounts for probably part of what you are feeling. Cortisol is the stress hormone, your body produces when you are under stress.
The paradox of stress/cortisol is that anxiety produces cortisol, which produces anxiety which produces more cortisol, which causes you to feel more anxious...etc....
Soon you find yourself in this never ending cycle of anxiety and depression.
What you must do to get well is ACCEPT your anxiety. You must ACCEPT your feelings and not try to fight them. Do this long enough and an interesting thing happens, the anxiety goes away."
Deanne Repich from her article Understanding Early Morning Anxiety says,
That makes sense to me. It couldn't just be a coincidence that so many people seem to have anxiety around the same time. Other reasons I strongly believe we have morning anxiety are because of anticipatory anxiety and Negative Self Talk."Another reason why symptoms can be worse in the morning is because your blood sugar is low when you first wake up. You have gone all night without food.
It's important to maintain a constant blood sugar level because the brain uses sugar, also known as glucose, as its fuel. If blood sugar levels are too low or drop too fast, then the brain starts running out of fuel.
This causes the brain to trigger the "fight or flight" response. The "fight or flight" response sends a rush of adrenaline, cortisol, and other neurotransmitters through your body to prepare you to fight or flee the perceived threat (low fuel).This process can trigger physical reactions ("symptoms") such as trembling, rapid heartbeat, sweating, panic attacks, fatigue, insomnia, mental confusion, nervousness, dizziness, and more."
So how can we overcome our morning anxiety? I did a post awhile back on some interesting habits you can get into that's worth checking out. Also, here are more from Deanne about making your environment more friendly,
"...get a radio alarm clock that wakes you up to your favorite music. Another alternative is a Zen Alarm Clock (R). It wakes you up gradually with pleasant chimes of increasing volume and frequency (found at http://www.now-zen.com/).Furthermore she recommends having a snack next to your bed to eat when you first wake up to help get your blood sugar going. For me what worked best was putting positive statements around my morning routine. I had one on my alarm clock that read "This may be hard today but I CAN DO IT". Then on my bathroom mirror and closet drawer I had a couple more affirmations that lifted my spirits. Also listening to my favorite music in the morning on my mp3 player helped to distract me from my loud morning thoughts.
Keep a robe and slippers next to the bed so that you can warm up quickly and minimize a drop in body temperature as you get out of bed.If the bright lights of the room bother you, install a dimmer switch near your bed. You can gradually increase the light's intensity over a period of several minutes after you awaken."
UPDATE: Because this is such a popular topic, I have revisted it the more I learn. You may be interested in reading:
If you enjoyed this post Subscribe to The Reality of Anxiety