Waking up anxiety is a problem that can be very harmful . It consists of a psychological and physiological state characterized by accelerated thoughts of a negative nature during the first hours of the day.

In this article we will talk about this symptomatology of this type of anxiety, we will see which are its frequent causes, and we will give some specific recommendations to overcome or prevent morning anxiety.

What is wake-up anxiety?

Anxiety is considered pathological when it is frequent and intense, which can affect different areas in the lives of those who have it. In the particular case of anxiety on waking, we find the symptoms of an anxious picture, but it only occurs at the time of passing to the waking state and the minutes that follow. Anxious states can happen to anyone, and to some extent they are normal.

When the day begins and the subject makes the transition from the state of sleep to that of wakefulness , this is accompanied by a series of signs and symptoms corresponding to the state of anxiety on waking. The anxious person will take it for granted that things will go wrong even before he has started to perform the action.

Signs and symptoms

Let’s see what the signs of anxiety are when you wake up.

  • Excessive sweating .
  • He’s tachycardic.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Tremors.

These symptoms are largely caused by an imbalance in cortisol levels , which tend to be higher at the beginning of the day, but when they are too high then the above mentioned signs occur. As a consequence of these signs, our mind begins to manufacture catastrophic thoughts, which have their most intense peak in the morning, and as the hours go by they diminish, along with the rest of the physiological reactions.

Unlike signs, symptoms of an emotional and psychological nature are not directly observable, and in most cases respond to the subjectivity of the subject. These can be specified by means of the speech of the person presenting them, at the moment of verbalizing his thoughts .

Thus, the symptoms of anxiety upon awakening are primarily characterized by a state of negative thinking regarding anything they should do during the day that is beginning. Let’s look at some of these thought forms:

  • Excessive concern about signs (sweating, shaking, etc.).
  • A desire to control everything.
  • Over-planning .
  • .

  • Intolerance to uncertainty.

Paradoxically, the attempt made by the subject to diminish his anxiety increases it, since he does not manage to have total control of the situation and this favours the maintenance of stress . This ends up being even more frustrating, as a consequence of which the person spends the first hours of the day with much anguish and does not manage to make the morning productive.


As we have already mentioned, too high levels of cortisol during the morning hours are a cause of morning anxiety, but they are not the only one. There are also personal and environmental factors that tend to trigger this type of anxiety in people. The main ones are the following.

1. Procrastination (putting off important things)

When we put off an activity that is a priority, we are getting immediate satisfaction from not having to do it at that time, but we are adding a medium-term stress factor. Eventually we will have to do that activity, and the longer we put it off, the higher our morning anxiety level is likely to be .

2. Overloading activities (not delegating functions)

When we are in the habit of doing everything on our own, without asking for help of any kind, that is when we are most likely to have anxiety when we wake up.

The more activities we have to do, the more energy and commitment we have to invest. We will not always be able to do everything by ourselves , and in case we can do it, we have to ask ourselves: at what cost?

3. Cognitive dissonance

This means that when our actions do not go in the same direction as our thoughts and principles, a sense of contradiction is generated in us , which our mind unconsciously tries to justify in a logical way.

In this way, when we do something despite not considering it right, we are giving our brain the task of justifying it, to avoid feeling that we have gone against our morals and not have the feeling of being unwell. During the mornings, with high cortisol levels, our brain is prone to stress, and the more cognitive dissonances we have, the higher our level of distress in the morning .

Treatment: what to do to solve it?

Now we will look at a series of useful recommendations to lower the level of anxiety in the mornings. This way you can make the first hours of your day healthier.

1. Sleep schedules: allowing you to sleep 6-8 hours

A daily sleep routine that ensures adequate rest for the brain (restful sleep) helps control cortisol levels in the morning and prevents the signs that often occur.

2. Light dinner: Avoiding overeating before bedtime

Heavy meals can cause us discomfort during the night that prevent us from having a good quality of sleep, which increases our morning levels of anxiety.

3. Relaxation techniques in the morning: Breathe before the day starts

Upon waking, before getting out of bed, he takes a series of guided breaths . Do it in the following way; take air through your nose and into your lungs, hold it there for a few seconds (10-15) and then let it out through your mouth in a calm and controlled way. As if you were blowing out a candle, repeat the procedure several times, until you feel a state of relaxation that is generalized.

Bibliographic references:

  • Iacovou S. (2011). What is the Difference Between Existential Anxiety and so Called Neurotic Anxiety?: ‘The sine qua non of true vitality’: An Examination of the Difference Between Existential Anxiety and Neurotic Anxiety. Existential Analysis. 22 (2): 356 – 367.
  • Rosen J.B., Schulkin J. (1998). “From normal fear to pathological anxiety. Psychological Review. 105 (2): 325-50.