Are You Tired of Waking up with Anxiety?

Are You Tired of Waking up with Anxiety?

You’re asleep, it’s just 4am, suddenly you wake up from sleep and are ambushed with negative thoughts clouding your mind, feeling tensed about the day. You feel like you’re stressed, stuck and there’s a weight on you. You might go blank and also experience tightening of chest, tension in muscles, a racing heart, or difficulty breathing. You feel extremely exhausted and tired because of which you want to continue staying in bed and not wake up. This is the feeling of waking up with anxiety in the morning.

Many people experience this kind of a feeling once in a while. However, if your anxiety keeps you up at night or keeps you from falling asleep, it may become so severe that you are unable to carry out everyday tasks like working and communicating in social settings.

What does it mean to wake up with anxiety?

The adrenal glands release cortisol, known as the “stress hormone,” in reaction to anxiety or stress provoking event. For those with higher levels of anxiety, cortisol levels are observed to be greatest in the first hour after waking up. The memories and anticipation of another day loaded with anxiety have the body in “fight or flight” mode already. This helps to explain why you could feel more anxious in the morning.

Causes of waking up with anxiety

Waking up with anxiety in the middle of the night is common for those who tend to experience Generalized Anxiety Disorder. You could have a generalized anxiety disorder if your morning anxiety lasts more than six months, is extreme, and appears to occur for no apparent cause.

Several other causes that could lead you to waking up with anxiety are as follows:

  • Stress and Cortisol Awakening Response: Although everyone experiences this hormonal reaction of Cortisol awakening response, those who are already anxious or have anxiety problems may experience worsening of their pre-existing symptoms as a result of the early morning cortisol increase. It may cause an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and the release of more adrenaline (which triggers the fight or flight response).


Existing financial stress, academic or work-related stress, health problems, modifications to living arrangements can elevate these levels causing an individual to feel anxious and exhausted after waking up. Not just that, but you might also wake up at night in the middle of your sleep due to these stressors.


  • Sleep deprivation or excess sleep: Multiple research projects have proven that sleep deprivation can trigger anxiety. Lack of sleep alters brain activity by activating regions that control emotions and decreasing the activity of regions that calm anxiety. When you sleep, your body goes without food and liquids for a lengthy period of time; as a result, once you start waking up, your sugar levels and hydration levels are insufficient. This can exacerbate anxiety symptoms, induce nervous tension and generate unpleasant physical feelings, which in turn worsen mood.


  • Diet: Certain patterns can be detrimental to the neurological system. Skipping meals, having a heavy meal late at night, and/or intaking too much alcohol, sugar, caffeine, or processed foods can all interfere with digestion, which can interfere with sleep, and create swings in blood sugar.


  • Genetics: Some people are genetically predisposed to stress and anxiety, making them more likely to experience stress when they first wake up or even while they are still asleep.

How to wake up without anxiety?

“You don’t have to control your thoughts; you just have to stop letting them control you.”

Once you’re aware of the fact that you’ve been waking up with anxiety, you can take certain precautions to keep yourself at bay from waking up with anxiety. These protective factors can include the following:

Improve sleeping patterns: Getting enough sleep for almost 7-8 hours can help your body pass through all the stages of the sleep cycle. As a result of this, you won’t feel baffled or anxious after waking up. A lot of research has been done on the importance of getting a good quality sleep and all of them conclude that sleep can help you reduce symptoms of anxiety.

Improve diet: Avoiding caffeine intake, at least one hour after waking up can help to reduce morning anxiety. Have breakfast which will help you regulate your blood sugar levels. Magnesium has been demonstrated to play a role in regulating the stress response and promoting relaxation. Morning anxiety symptoms can be lessened by eating foods high in magnesium, such as spinach, dark chocolate, avocados, cashew nuts, oats and so on.

Physical exercise and breathing exercises: Engaging in physical activity will help you to lift your mood, improve body’s response to stress, reduce anxiety symptoms and in turn help you to relax. Practicing deep breathing exercises first thing in the morning can help you take your focus off the negative and anxiety provoking thoughts.

Practice mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness can help you to become aware and observant of your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Instead of making up assumptions about the anticipated future, you’re able to focus on the here and now. The worries of past and tensions about future are kept at bay because you’re able to stay in the present moment.

Psychotherapy: Seeing a mental health professional is one of the best measures one can take to deal with the issue of waking up with anxiety. Any psychotherapist can teach you how to reduce and take control of your anxiety. They will also teach you to challenge negative thoughts through therapy and techniques like guided imagery, journaling, practicing gratitude, among many others.

“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.”

Therapy is the most effective way to deal with anxiety issues. Consult the wellness experts at by downloading the app now.

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