Improving Sleep Reduces Morning Anxiety

Updated April 30, 2019

Reviewer Avia James


One of the body's natural anxiety treatments is sleep. During sleep, the mind and body relax, allowing you to feel refreshed, recharged and ready to tackle the challenges of the next day. Anxiety can make it harder to sleep. Sleep problems are widespread in those who have anxiety disorders or suffer from panic attacks. People who have persistent stress may deal with chronic insomnia. In many cases, it can cause a vicious cycle that makes it difficult to overcome anxiety. When you're constantly worrying, you're stuck in a feedback loop anxiety.

It's important to understand that a poor night's sleep can induce morning anxiety, but it also affects your ability to sleep through the following night. Anxiety, stress, and sleep disorders can be extremely persistent if any of them are left untreated. If you're experiencing chronic anxiety, insomnia or stress, talk to your doctor and get help.

Understand Why Sleep Is So Important

The best thing about sleep is its ability to restore the body to the healthiest and most relaxed state. However, disrupted sleep or poor sleep patterns can increase tension, anxiety, stress, and irritability.

While many external factors can contribute to poor sleep, there are also medical and physical issues that can cause broken sleeping patterns. Without getting a full night's sleep, it is hard to return to a calm, relaxed state, which causes morning anxiety. The mind and body both remain stressed as a whole. With less sleep, fatigue becomes an issue leading to less exercise and aggravated mood. While it's easy to tell yourself that there's only one event that causes one or two nights of poor sleep, a pattern can begin which leads to long-term health problems and could cause serious illnesses.

The Level Of Sleeplessness In Our Country

In America alone, we have over 40 million people living with chronic sleep problems and over 20 million on top of that reporting occasional sleep issues. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, these numbers are strongly connected to stress and anxiety, both as an initiator and a continuing cause. Stress and anxiety both contribute to poor sleep. In addition to causing poor sleep, anxiety and depression can also be triggered by poor sleep. Whichever way you look at it, anxiety and depression are linked to poor sleeping habits.


With insomnia as the most common sleep diagnosis, many people have trouble falling asleep, cannot stay asleep, they wake too early in the morning or wake feeling unrefreshed. For these people, it is the basic definition that the true intention of sleep as a restorative state has not been achieved.

We Also Need To Know Why Anxiety Causes Sleep Problems

Now, it is important to know that the answer to this question is not just one reason. With the many effects that anxiety has on your body, it can affect your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep or gain a comfortable sleep-wake pattern. With sleep as the only true time that the mind and body are relaxed, without the ability to sleep, we can't relax from the issues that have caused our anxiety.

In an online article the Calm Clinic provides a link to a 7-minute anxiety test that can help everyone determine the symptoms of anxiety that may be disrupting sleep, and vice versa.

Once these issues begin, it can be quite frustrating. If you have not planned or scheduled your routine to end your day and go to bed, then some things stop you from falling asleep. Possibly your thoughts begin to race as soon as you lay down, whether it's what you need to do or what you should or shouldn't have done during the day. You may run over and over the bills and other things going on in the house, with the family and the kids. Then, one of the worst things happens. You look at the clock and realize how much time has gone by and start to think about how little time you have to sleep before you need to get up in the morning.

You most likely can't tell whether you have trouble sleeping because you're anxious or vice versa. But, it could be both. No matter which had initially come first, if the pattern has lasted for a significant amount of time you are likely dealing with both issues and they could both be getting worse at the same time.

Consider the many possible factors related to anxiety that can cause sleeping problems:

  • Racing thoughts - Often the result of stress, causing the issue of focusing on any thoughts.
  • Racing heart or body - Anxiety can cause the heart to race, which can make the entire body feel edgy and make it impossible to relax.
  • Muscle tension - More related to stress, this is a natural physical result of the stressors in life and makes it difficult to relax and then to fall asleep.
  • Your "needs" - A common result of anxiety is the feeling that there are certain things that we "need" to complete before going to bed. And this list can get longer and longer the worse that anxiety disorders become.
  • Pain and other anxiety symptoms - As you become anxious you may become over-concerned about your health, or a hypochondriac. These could then become the thoughts or worries that continually keep you up later and later at night.
  • Negative thoughts - As we become more anxious, we also become negative in a bad mood. This is another basic effect on the ability to relax and then fall asleep.

These are all issues that can be discussed with a medical professional as you start to see either morning anxiety or sleep problems arise and worsen.

Chicken Or The Egg: Which Is First, Anxiety Or Sleep Disorders?

The answer: either one. While it has previously been proven that anxiety causes sleep problems, new research also shows that sleep deprivation can cause anxiety disorders. While there may not be a truly chronic sleep disorder, anyone can have environmental, mental or physical issues that disrupt sleep throughout the night. This can be a result of psychiatric disorders, while insomnia can then add to the development of an anxiety disorder. And the best place to find the answer, with your doctor or a recommended health professional that specializes in either sleep or morning anxiety.

It is important to resolve your focus on whether you are looking to cure anxiety or sleep disorders but to consider them both together. This will follow with communication with your doctor that could lead to complete analysis and treatment of both issues properly. Since it is hard to tell which came first, but more likely to see that both are there, the best thing to do is to determine the best cure for both.


Health Problems Resulting From Morning Anxiety And Sleep Disorders

Health Problems Resulting From Morning Anxiety And Sleep Disorders

Several health risks occur from poor sleep, and these are much more than simply feeling tired. In the beginning, sleepless nights lead to poor performance at work, school, and other settings. There are also many other potential health problems that can arise over time as you are sleepless regularly. Basically, with less sleep over time, stress and anxiety increase, which can potentially lead to abnormal blood pressure, fatigue, and in some cases, turning to substances like alcohol or over-the-counter drugs to aid with sleep. Furthermore, long-term risks of ongoing anxiety or poor sleep include, but are not limited to, heart disease, heart failure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.

As any medical professional will tell you, the first thing to do when you believe you have trouble with anxiety or sleep disorders is to see your doctor. There are different treatment options available, including therapy and psychiatry that will help you determine where to place the focus of treatment. These professionals will be able to work closely with you to develop the best sleeping patterns to resolve all anxiety and stress problems. With a combination of the proper relaxation techniques, bedtime routines, and stress management improved sleep patterns and reduced anxiety will likely be the result.

How To Get Rid Of Morning Anxiety Naturally

Anxiety and sleep disorders can be treated and cured naturally. You don't need to take pharmaceutical drugs. There are natural, physical methods that can help to return your body to a much calmer state. This will be able to treat both of these issues together.

Schedule some of the following natural routines or activities to help induce relaxation and improve your sleep-wake patterns:

  • Meditation is helpful and straightforward. By breathing in and out deeply and slowly with the image of your own desired calm environment, you can envision yourself in that relaxed state. This is key at night before bed, but also in stressful times of the day when you find you have tensed up. There are also apps that can help with mediation and the ability to calm yourself.
  • Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. It doesn't need to be rigorous, but make sure that you get a decent amount of activity during the day or those 10,000 steps that are so often promoted for positive health statistics. This can help exude all that stressful, intense energy that builds up. As this is released, it is not a factor in delaying or disrupting your sleep at night.
  • Find a way to wind down or clear your mind at night before going to bed. It's a simple time to slow down by taking a warm bath, reading a book or playing quiet music, among other things. You can have a brief period before bed when you move away from social media and your phone, dim the lights, and turn the television off. These are calming methods that tell the mind it is close to sleep time and natural melatonin production can begin. Any of these can be calming, relaxing and helpful to blood pressure.
  • Organize and prioritize your to-do list so that you can truly focus on the tasks that are the most important. You will also be able to check off the items that are done. Keep them written down on paper, and when you have them crossed off at night, it will be easier to keep your mind from racing when you try to go to sleep.
  • Make sure you don't lie in bed awake. If you are still awake after 20 minutes or so, get out of bed and find a relaxing activity to do, such as reading. It may take a little time to find out what exercises work the best for you, but once you do it's good to keep a list of what you find most relaxing and use them regularly to help with better sleep. Again, be sure to avoid bright lights and screens because they will be more awakening but keep notes of what events are most relaxing for your mind and body over time.
  • Try an activity called "tense and relax." To focus your stress or anxiety on a release method, you can start with your toes and then lower legs and further up your body. Squeeze your toes for 5-10 seconds and then relax. Try this a few times and then move up to your lower legs and the upper legs. Then you can move slowly up to your abdomen and up to your body until you feel the tension has been released from your body overall.
  • Get plenty of sleep, because it recharges the brain and helps to improve focus, concentration, and mood.
  • Redirect your anxiety and stress. This can be done by offering help to friends or family, or community volunteer services. Sometimes the critical work provided will take your mind off the negative anxiety and stressors in your own life. Additionally, there is the option to talk to others in your life about these issues and how they may be able to help or listen. Then, if you find yourself unable to find some resolution, a doctor or therapist may be needed to talk out these problems.


There's no definite answer as to whether anxiety or sleep disorders come first. There's no definitive solution as to how to treat sleep disorders or anxiety. We are all different in how we respond to these issues. Remember the importance of early assessment and an initial attempt at treatment. It is never too soon to address the subject of a sleep disorder or morning anxiety or other stress problem and speak to your doctor as quickly as possible. Everything can be treated. It's a matter of making your health a priority.


Previous Article

5 Anxiety Statistics To Be Mindful Of

Next Article

Beta Blockers For Anxiety: Options And Side Effects
For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns
Speak with a Licensed Counselor Today
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.