You’re not alone. Many people have questioned why they feel anxious in the morning—even when going to workouts.
Here are some potential answers to that question:
There are biological processes that occur in all of our bodies as we sleep and while we’re awake. But the level of anxiety we might feel can largely depend on how these factors are magnified by environmental stressors.
● The cortisol awakening response (CAR)
When we transition from rest to a waking state, our bodies produce higher levels of cortisol, one of the body’s stress hormones. The CAR increases cortisol levels by an average of 50 per cent. Cortisol levels peak at around 35–45 minutes after waking up.
● Low blood sugar
When you sleep, your blood sugar level drops due to not eating. Low blood sugar leads to a stress response as the body processes where its fuel will come from.
This could be considered an environmental factor—but let’s face it, even if you take a sip of water during the night, our sleep cycle itself limits our ability to adequately hydrate. Dehydration can increase your heartbeat and lead to light headedness.
● If you’re already under stress, your cortisol levels may shoot up as you worry about the day ahead.
● Depending on what you’re getting up to do, there may be underlying fear affecting how you feel. For example, if you’re anxious before an early morning flight, is it the morning, the fear of flying, or the stress of the trip? It’s also common for people to experience anxiety about working out.
● Disrupted sleep also makes morning anxiety worse.
● Diets high in sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and artificial ingredients can increase anxiety.
What to Do
● Keep a regular sleep schedule.
● Avoid television, cell phones, or other stimulation before bed.
● Practice relaxation techniques before bed and when you get up in the morning—for example, meditation before getting into bed.
● Keep your cell phone out of your bedroom. Get a simple alarm clock with a soft tone instead.
● Eat a healthy diet. Limit foods that can exacerbate anxiety.
● Hydrate throughout the day. Drink water when you get up and eat a small snack if you’re prone to low blood sugar.
● Have a soft light in your room to help you wake up gradually.
● Practice the coping skills that work for you if you’re experiencing ongoing anxiety and stress.
● Seek professional support from a licensed therapist.
If you suspect that you or someone you care about is suffering from anxiety disorder(s), schedule an appointment to see Dr Pham Thi Minh Chau (at HCMC clinic only) or contact our Customer Care representatives to book a virtual consult with our mental well-being specialist today.
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