Why Morning Anxiety Is a Thing and What to Do About It

By Jessica Migala, September 29, 2020

Your body was built to deal with anxiety as soon as you open your eyes in bed, says Alex Dimitriu, MD, a dual-board certified doctor in psychiatry and sleep medicine in Menlo Park, California. “In the morning, [the stress hormone] cortisol is elevated, and you have more adrenaline and an elevated heart rate. That’s what wakes people up,” he explains. But for some people with anxiety, that physiological response becomes psychological and symptoms are far worse in the morning than any other time of day. Lack of sleep or going to bed late the night before tends to make morning anxiety worse, says Dr. Dimitriu. The circumstances of the day can also accentuate symptoms. “Lateness can really make people anxious,” he says. It can make you feel scattered as you scramble to make up for lost time all day.

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