How Bad are Your Mornings?
Last updated: January 2019
If you struggle with anxiety, have you ever tried to monitor the intensity of it as you go through the day? Mine is always terrible when I get out of bed. From speaking to an awful lot of people who struggle with anxiety, it seems that I am not alone. I would say a majority of the people with whom I’ve discussed this subject agree that morning is their most anxious time. Can you think of anything else that tends to be really bad in the morning? Yup, IBS. I’ve touched on the subject of ‘IBS in the Morning’ before, but I didn’t really put together that both anxiety and IBS tends to be at its worst (in general) in the morning. A connection you say? Perhaps. Let’s take a closer look.
There are so many obvious reasons why both IBS and anxiety might be really bad in the morning. Digestion throughout your sleeping period, what you ate the day/night before or worry about the day ahead. Perhaps you have anxiety about the bad IBS morning or bad IBS symptoms because of the anxiety. In that moment, it doesn't really seem to matter which came first, does it?
In any case, all of this connectivity talk makes a lot of sense, but, have you ever had really bad anxiety in the morning when your IBS is under control and there is nothing that you are particularly worried about? I have experienced this more times than I can count. While I do struggle with a pretty serious anxiety disorder, the morning anxiety has always been the worst. But because there is no surface reason sometimes, I have looked at ways I can alleviate that ‘right out of bed anxiety’.
I thought for a while it might have something to do with what I was eating or drinking at night, but nothing really changed once I had made changes to my night time diet. Showering as soon as I got up helped a little, but not really. Soothing music? Candles? All good, but unfortunately none of them really remedied the situation. Even meditation did not ‘fix’ the problem.
Our morning biology
Now, please don’t laugh at my attempt to be scientific (not a doctor, remember), but it seems that our thoughts about the mind-gut aspects of IBS might come into play with regards to this discussion. Apparently, cortisol (the stress response chemical) is at its highest levels within our bodies during the first hour after we wake up. Because of this it seems our morning biology might be just about right to feed any anxious or stressful thoughts we might be having.
It also might explain my statement about feeling anxious even though I wasn’t really worried about anything. The fact that ‘stress chemicals’ have been known to manipulate and aggravate IBS, might also explain the morning problem. While there might be no one way to fix this problem, sticking to your best diet, sleeping enough, meditation and exercise can all contribute to having the calmest morning you can have.
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?