When's your worst time of day for anxiety? - Anxiety Support

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When's your worst time of day for anxiety?


I reckon anxiety disorder is inherited in about 20% of cases. I know it is in my case. My daughter has it, my mother had it and generations before her when it was called Neurosthenia.

But I know how to minimise it so I'm free from it 90% of the time. And when it returns as an uninvited guest I know how to see it off.

If I'm going to feel anxiety, for me the worst time of day is on waking. I used to think this has something to do with high levels of cortisol which peak at about 8a.m. and then decline. Cortisol is a fight or flight hormone that gives you an energy boost to help you start your day. But we don't need it, we don't do fight or flight at 8 in the morning anymore. So it just sloshes around in our systems making us feel YUK!

That's the story, anyway. And there's more: there's a natural substance found in green tea called L-Thianine that counteracts the effects of Cortisol. But most people I know who've tried it didn't feel it helped. Though I still continue to start the day with a cup of green tea.

Wake-up time is always the worst time for me if it's going to make itself felt that day. From then on the anxiety slowly declines until by mid-morning latest I'm fine and by evening time I'm ready to conquor the world. As Claire Weekes used to say: 'When the stars come out, the spirits rise.'

So if it isn't Cortisol levels why is waking up the worst time of day. Claire Weekes who wrote 'Self help for your nerves' believed it's because that's when we suddenly realise we've got another day of problems to face and that's what starts the fear hormones flowing. I think she was right because if I wake up a couple of hours before getting up I don't feel anxious at all - I know I don't have to start sorting out impossible problems for another 2 hours at least.

But anxiety disorder isn't the same for everyone - so the quedtion is: when is your worst time of day?

34 Replies

Mine is exactly as you say. If I wake up at 4am I don’t feel it. But when I wake up at 8:30 or 9 it is in full force until I get up and clear my head. Some days it sticks around all day.

Worrier35 in reply to Lostjoy

Same here when I wake up in the morning at 730 it's there. Some days it's there all the time. I find that when I get going and get ready and go for my walk it fades for some time.

Niku1 in reply to Lostjoy

I got same aswell, wakeup early the simptoms are les then wakeup late. When i wakeup late 90% im filing unwell from anxiety. But my anxiety keeping me all day mostly of days. Im on Venlafaxin 75mg a day for 5 years but look like i need incrase the dose. So this mean never im gonna be free anymore from anxiety.


When I'm going through another "phase" of anxiety, my worst is definitely in the morning as well. Soon as I become conscious of my surroundings and body, I remember what I dealt with the day before and dread doing it again. The hardest part is going weeks, months, even years on end feeling fine....like my old self. Then boom! It's back. Sleep is my peaceful time but I've had maybe 3 times where a panic attack has woke me up with my heart racing, etc. I hate that feeling because I'm already exhausted and just want to sleep.

Jeff1943, Definitely upon awakening in the morning. It's like a switch goes on in my stomach and the butterflies start fluttering about. There was a time that I use to take a daily nap (when I was on benzos) and would struggle with that same feeling as in the morning. The cortisol certainly wasn't as high in the afternoon. That's when I realized, as you said, it's more about the thought of existing problems or new ones thrown at us that turns that switch on.

Like you, afternoons get better and by evening I too could conquer the world. That's when I wish I could go to the doctor, dentist even have surgery. Evenings are my time. Fear is not there plus the fact how much can happen after dinner :) :)

Oh Jeff, it's been a learning experience for sure. I understand anxiety so much better than I did when it first started. This helps in it not being scary anymore. (Thank you Dr Claire Weeks for your wisdom) and you Jeff for reinforcing her work.

Hidden in reply to Agora1

I'm kind of in the same boat you are. Mornings are rough. Better by lunch and the evening is great. Lunch and dinner meals are enjoyable. Bed time is my solitude for the most part. My mom had anxiety when she was younger but was lucky. She went to counseling once and was over and done with it for good. Mine has hung out randomly since I was in my early 20s (now 54). Both of my kids have it too.

Agora1 in reply to Hidden

lovemybear, if we all lived in the same town, I'd say we should all get together and have a big party. Music, food and good times. In the evening of course :) xx

Jeff1943 in reply to Agora1

Yes, you're right Agora1, if during a period of anxiety you've shaken off the bad feeling of waking up in the morning then have a nap at lunchtime or in the afternoon you can wake up feeling bad again.

I wake with anxiety at 6am. I can have it all day too right up till bed time and then again when I wake. Dosent really shift a lot for me! I’m reading dr weeks book. Finding out who to recover and putting things into practice. Long way to go. But I’m willing.

My daughter has anxiety too. I guess they pick it up from us from a young age the way we behave. I believe they feel the Anxiety from us and then it leads on. I do feel a little guilty at times.

Jeff1943 in reply to Miss-P74

I'm not to sure they pick it up from us, Miss-P74, I hid it from my 2 daughters until they were well grown up, one has claustrophobia and one has anxiety disorder. I think it's inherited genetically ie we produce too much of one hormone or too little of another. Strangely enougj, although plenty of people on the forum experience agoraphobia I've never seen one present with claustrophobia.

Same!my symptoms last all day too with no break.then when i go to sleep am knocked out totally till the morning.

Bless you,try not to feel guilty,i know what you mean though as i have a daughter.its hard to pretend your okay when you feel so poorly x

Miss-P74 in reply to Minnie87

I didn’t even know I passed the anxiety on until she called me with worry that wasn’t necessary! Like mother like daughter as they say.

I’m following Dr Claire Weeks and putting everything into practice and shall pass on the book to my daughter too.

Thanks for your reply Minnie87. Hope you and your daughter are well. X

I wake in the morning with palpitations and a feeling of dread. By about 4 in the afternoon I start to feel better and enjoy the evening. I get bouts like this about every 4 months that last for 6 weeks. The things I worry about are so trivial and I try to reason with myself. I did try green tea once and it tasted disgusting, maybe should try it again. I have Claire Weekes book and I will really try and do as she says. I think Jeff should make a video and talk about this method. X

Jeff1943 in reply to Lin1944

Lin1944, there are plenty of videos on YouTube that Claire Weekes made in her lifetime, one is over an hour long. She said it first and better than I ever could.

Lin1944 in reply to Jeff1943

Thanks Jeff I will have a look x

I’m the odd duck...lol. I do feel it sometimes a couple hours after waking. Honestly though in the evenings it gets worse. Once I get home from work and have to tackle everything around the house that needs done, plus spend time with my kids and husband it goes into overdrive, that is if I’m going through a phase of it. I think it’s from all the “have to’s” that need to be done in such a short amount of time.

So very well said its very helpful thank you sir for sharing.

God bless you

Strangely, I also find that if I wake up with high anxiety and I'm still slumbering it's not so bad lying on my back as lying on my right side. I also find lying on my back and doing the slow breathe in, hold it, slow breathe out, repeat, helps to shake it off.

My mother had anxiety and depression and so did my grandmother. But I don't think it's inherited, more that we are prone to sensitivity with it. I believe life causes issues with anxiety and depression.

My worse time is during the night, I tend to wake up in fear and this is made 100% worse if I'm ill, like now. Also,

Magnesium regulates cortisol levels in the body and lack of it in the diet can create more than needed, plus magnesium aides sleep and eases anxiety, maybe supplementing with an oil will help people, like it does me !!.

I think I suffer health anxiety and mine is on the morning between 7-8am I feel sick and sweat n disorientated. I feel physically ill then I worry about being poorly when I’m taking the kids to school and driving to work. I’m ok by tea time when everyone is in from school and work I hate been on my own how do I overcome this.

Its bad in the morning. The sun coming up makes me anxious. My anxiety is much easier to handle at night

I am identical to you Jeff first think in the morning .. hard going.. but later in the day I can rule the world, and like you say if I wake earlier the fear is not there so the cortisol thing can't be the answer .. I think it is the habit thing of as we wake at the usual time .. we think of so many other mornings we have felt fear and it brings it on.. I remember Claire Weekes and all that she said and do think she had it in a nut shell xx

Absolutely mornings are the worse! And by the evening I feel my old self again.

for me it's the morning. I have to get my daughter off to school, i'm a stay at home dad. I never had to worry about getting ready in the morning. it was just me and I was very capable of getting myself dressed and off to work without much anxiety. Now, I have to make sure she is dressed properly, prod her to eat her breakfast and be hydrated before we walk out the door and make sure her teeth and hair are brushed. Every morning it's a fight with her to drag her out the door and drive her 15 miles to school. A couple of years ago, my father lived with us and I took care of him and there was a period where I had to dress him also and take him in the morning for his radiation treatments for his liver cancer for a couple of months. He couldn't walk and it was very difficult. I think this is when my severe anxiety kicked in. I always had it lurking in me, but this definitely fueled it.

Anxiety is not hereditary, my doctor said that we wittiness someone in our family having one we pull it from that. Like when someone yawns, you see them do it, then you yawn. Other examples the person seeing physical abuse in the family that person either becomes the aggressor or the victim.

I think there's much truth in the nurture school of thought as to why anxiety runs in family and as we take our cue from our parents we pick up on their anxiety disorders. But equally I think sone anxiety that runs from one generation to the next is caused by sone genetic deficiency, the tendency to produce too much of some hormone or too little of another.

Mine is between 1-3 pm daily. I always think it has something to do with my lunch digesting. I try to eat simple small meals for lunch. I have recently had a breakthrough and haven’t had much anxiety. It feels amazing. It’s been about a week or so. The first time I’ve had a touch of it was yesterday at work right in that 1-3 timeline. But, I told myself that I’m ok, and to just breathe. I did, and when I got home from work I did some meditation in my bedroom. It feels nice to have 95%of my life back. Looking to get it to 100!

I have it when I wake up early, like now! I woke up for no reason at 3 am. I begin to think and everything hits me that I’m dealing with in my life. For me now it’s a heaviness in my chest and gut. I then can start spiraling out of control. I will usually read or watch TV to help go back to sleep, or just get up and start my day. I love life but spend it being worried that something is going to happen to me or my children. This fear can keep me in a state of panic always trying to control something I can’t. Letting go is the key, giving up just so I can live life to the fullest. Thank you for your post. It helped me put things back in there place for the day!

Hollick in reply to Teerings3

you are right, letting go is the key, you just have to find out how to do that for yourself..

Yes, I just woke up (3am) to get a bottle for the little and my mind just started racing! I’m in constant fear that something will happen to me in front of my children and that nobody will be able to find me and therefore something bad will happen to my children. I feel it’s now in the morning when all of this begins. I used to not be able to sleep because I wouldn’t be able to sleep due to these thoughts. More recently, it’s been when i wake up. I’ve tried reading Ms. Weekes book and I’m pretty much halfway through it. So I’m hoping I can just let these thoughts float soon.

🤔 hmm maybe that’s why I’m such a night 🦉 owl.. lol.. I feel like I come ALIVE after 5!!! I’ve always had sleep issues but I just can’t seem to go to bed early ever!!!

Definitely the morning!

Agora1 in reply to Hollick

You are not alone Hollick... Morning anxiety probably is

the most common. New day, new challenges, new "what ifs"..

All of which can be turned around by changing our thought pattern.

It's basically become a habit now in what morning brings to us.

We are still the same person in the evening. Still have the same challenges.

But somehow our brain thinks differently in the evening allowing us to enjoy

the few hours before sleep once again.

Unfortunately the subconscious mind has recorded our negative feelings from

the time we wake up and plays it throughout the night. Do we even have a chance

in winning? Of course we do. Anything and everything can be changed if we take

back control of the power of our mind. What we think is what we get are not just

words. It does make an incredible difference in how we react to stress/anxiety. xx

Morning for me getting ready and leaving the house is 😵 and when I get there I tend to calm down a little more

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