Is the start of your day when your anxiety is at its peak? It turns out, lots of people feel more anxious in the morning. It’s normal for it to happen every once in a while, like before a job interview or a presentation at work, but if it’s a more frequent thing,there are several things that could be contributing to it:
- Cortisol spikes in the morning- Levels of the stress hormone cortisol are higher when you first wake up, which sleep medicine doctorAlex Dimitriusays is part of the brain “booting up.” While cortisol helps jolt us awake, it can also be a challenge for those already dealing with anxiety or stress.
- Sleep habits can be a factor- Dimitriu says the “fight or flight” stress response gets to rest while you sleep, but it might not get as much rest in people with higher levels of anxiety, leading to a build-up of stress. That ongoing stress can lead to that feeling of panic in the morning.
If youdowake up with anxious feelings,experts recommend these ways to manage it:
- Journaling- To log your experience and see if there’s a pattern on days with high anxiety in the morning.
- Diaphragmatic breathing- This can help with in-the-moment anxiety. Inhale through your nose for four seconds, hold it for four seconds, then breathe out by mouth for six seconds.
- Calming lifestyle activities- Yoga, using affirmations, meditation, and exercise can all help lower stress levels and may give you a mood boost, too.
- Maintaining a regular morning and evening routine- “Structure helps alleviate the unknown,” explains psychologist and behavior analystReena B. Patel. For more restful and de-stressing sleep,she advises:
- Going to bed at the same time every night
- Getting off screens 30 minutes before bed
- Doing a “negative brain release” of negative thoughts in your journal
- Using a weighted blanket to sleep.