Why do I wake up in a low mood

low moods are often felt first thing in the morning
Do you feel low or anxious when you wake up?

Waking up in a low mood is caused by a number of different things

A study back in 2013 found that the low moods we experience on waking are caused by interruption to our circadian cycle. Good sleep practice allows us to rise feeling refreshed and energised. During the early hours of the morning, cortisol levels start to rise in the body, to help us get up in the morning. However, if we are stressed we find our cortisol levels are too high and this can distrupt our sleep.

Melatonin is produced in the evening, triggered by low light levels and this prepares us for sleep. Too much caffeine and the blue light from TVs, laptops and mobiles can disrupt the production. 

Morning depression symptoms such as feelings of a low mood, sadness and gloom wear off slowly as the day goes on. They may feel one or more of the following:

  • Lack of energy at the start your day
  • Difficulty doing tasks, such as showering or having breakfast
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • A feeling of emptiness
  • Low mood
  • Thoughts feel foggy

What will help change a low mood into a positive one?

There are many things you can do to change this. 

  1. A SAD lamp can be helpful to readjust your circadian cycles. Sit with it close as you eat breakfast or have a cup of tea or coffee first thing in the morning, especially during winter months.
  2. Make sure you are not exposed to bright light in the evening. You can purchase yellow tinted clip-on glasses if you’re working late on your laptop.
  3. Go for a walk first thing in the morning. Dopamine from walking can reduce a low mood. If you travel to work by car, then park a little way from work and walk at least 20 minutes. The early morning sun helps reset our cycles as the lamp does.
  4. Make sure you are eating a good diet with lots of fibre and nutrients. I personally have a mid evening drink as follows: 1/2 pint of almond milk, one small banana, 2 teaspoons of Inulin, 1 tablespoon of ground linseed and nuts, handful of frozen black cherries. Blend this together. Inulin is a prebiotic and it helps allow the gut flora to flourish. This helps create more serotonin – the good mood neurotransmitter. Tryptophan can be found in almonds, bananas and cherries. This then turns into melatonin and serotonin. Bananas also contains magnesium which acts as a muscle relaxant. It also helps control sugar cravings after meals.
  5. listen to my MP3 to help regulate your sleep
  6. Have 6 sessions of solution-focused hypnotherapy to help you sort out your problems and stop worrying.


I found the sessions very useful, the hypnotherapy greatly improved my sleep, both the length and depth. However, the thing that helped most with the anxiety was the mindfulness techniques I was taught in the sessions, which were great for my exams.

PW Oxford

You can purchase SAD lamps from https://www.sad.co.uk