Waking Up With Anxiety and What You Can Do About It

a man waking up with anxiety

Do you wake up and automatically feel that pit in your stomach? Your mind is already racing, you feel uneasy and uncomfortable about the day ahead. Maybe you struggle to get out of bed, or even worse, you’re running to the bathroom to throw up all your nerves. This scenario is a very real everyday occurrence for many individuals waking up with anxiety.

Anxiety disorders are overwhelmingly common here in the United States with over 40 million adults affected by the condition each year. However, that figure is most likely not a true representative of the epidemic facing children, teens, and adults. Anxiety nowadays seems like a condition that is chronically impacting almost everyone at some point in their lives. While it is normal and expected to have moments of anxiousness, more and more individuals are reporting to be living with the feelings and effects of the disorder on a long-term basis.

When anxiety is able to persist and go unmanaged, it can begin to significantly reduce the quality of life for an individual and even cripple their ability to function in a day-to-day capacity. Possible long-term consequences related to anxiety include:

  • Frequent headaches/migraines
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Weakened immune system
  • Onset depression
  • Lowered libido
  • Gastrointestinal complications (chronic nausea, IBS, etc.)
  • Weight gain

Waking up with anxiety on a regular basis is a health concern that needs to be taken seriously, and addressed head-on. If you are consistently waking up feeling stressed, worried, or in a state of brain fog, solving your anxiety is a necessary step in order to reset and restore your overall health. When individuals are able to eliminate their morning anxiety, they are able to experience increased levels of happiness, productivity, physical and mental wellbeing.

Waking Up With Anxiety or Just a Bad Day?

You may be wondering, what qualifies anxiety to be a real problem, versus just a normal part of human life? As we’ve touched on, anxiety is a natural response to the stressors we experience, from a big presentation at work to an unexpected bill that needs to be paid. It is impossible to go through life and not experience the chemical cocktail of adrenaline and cortisol disrupting our physical and mental state.

However, anxiety becomes a serious condition and an issue that must be treated when an individual feels that their daily life is being interrupted by these negative emotions and bodily responses.

Honestly respond to these questions:

  • Do you regularly feel significant discomfort or intolerable symptoms related to your anxiety?
  • Does your anxiety last long in duration and carry over into the next day or week?
  • Has your anxiety changed your professional or personal life in a damaging way?

Based upon your responses, if you find that you are:

  • Waking up with anxiety more days than not
  • Are unable to regulate the thoughts and feelings associated with the condition
  • Seeing a decrease in your quality of life

Then you may need to seek help in order to improve your relationship with the disorder.

Why Am I Waking Up With Anxiety?

Many individuals suffer from chronic anxiety but do not regularly wake up feeling the symptoms. So why are you waking up with anxiety every morning? The plain truth is that anxiety is a highly variable condition, meaning that how the disorder interacts with individuals can differ greatly between one person and the next.

That being said, chronic morning anxiety can be linked to high levels of cortisol in the body upon waking. Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR) is a marked increase in cortisol secretion over the first 30–45 minutes after rising in the morning. This period has been related to a wide range of psychosocial, physical, and mental health parameters, making it a key variable for psychoneuroendocrinological research.

During the CAR phase, an individual could see their cortisol levels increase anywhere between 38 to 75 percent, leading to intense feelings of worry, stress, or fear.

How to Fix Morning Anxiety

If you do a quick Google search on how to improve anxiety, you’ll be faced with thousands of links that commonly recommend two solutions: therapy and medication. Here at The Epigenetics Healing Center, we are in full support of our patients and any individual struggling with a mental health disorder to seek out talk therapy solutions like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

However, when it comes to prescription medications like anti-anxiety medications such as Zoloft or Lexapro, we find that these do not address the root cause of the anxiety — and may lead individuals to depend on an unfit coping mechanism to manage their symptoms. In many ways, it seems that individuals who use medication to manage their anxiety only mask the issue, and in the long-term lack a true solution to the disorder.

Thankfully, a holistic and sustainable approach to fixing morning anxiety is possible alongside talk therapy. Like we’ve mentioned, anxiety is unique to the individual, and therefore, what is successful for one person might not be successful for another. Yet, in many ways, lifestyle modifications show to be highly effective in improving anxiety cases.

When individuals come to our clinic with anxiety concerns, we suggest comprehensive testing to help identify any nutrient, organ, or hormonal imbalances that could be contributing to the condition. From there, we work with an individual to assess what their current diet, physical activity, and environmental factors look like. Often, poor food habits, lack of exercise, and environmental exposures can all combine to increase cortisol and adrenaline levels, increase bodily inflammation, and spur the onset of chronic anxiety.

By working with Dr. Goodbinder or one of our Nurse Practitioners, individuals who are commonly waking up with anxiety can see improvements in their coping styles and a reduction in frequency and intensity relating to their anxiety — all done through simple and focused lifestyle adjustments. When we are able to find the right balance of diet habits, physical exercise, environmental settings, and therapy support, individuals suffering from everyday anxiety can regain control over their lives.

Stop Waking Up With Anxiety

Contact The Epigenetics Healing Center to schedule an appointment to examine your current health status. Functional medicine is all about patient empowerment and helping give individuals the tools to improve their lives. Learn how we can help address your anxiety, and adjust for a better life moving forward.

Are you ready to restore your life?

Dr. G
Dr. G

Dr. Jay Goodbinder ND DC DABCI is a doctor in Kansas City, MO who serves patients in the surrounding Kansas City areas, cities across the United States, and in several countries around the world.