Samantha De Bono Counselling Bromley

Bromley & Harley Street

tel: 07588 931 401

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Morning Depression

By Samantha De Bono

I often see clients who describe to me a feeling of depression that appears to leave them at some point during the day.  They describe opening their eyes in the morning and feeling overwhelming sadness grip them.  Some say they could cry with despair every morning when they wake up, others talk about wanting to pull the duvet over their head and hide from the world, they tell me they lack motivation to start the day, wanting to continue to sleep, feeling really unhappy and heavy hearted.  Some people describe opening their eyes and feeling sad and anxious most, if not every, morning. That all sounds like symptoms of depression to me, but each of these people also tell me that at some point in the day that feeling has been replaced by feeling completely normal and engaged with life, work, friends and normal life. They can't even get in touch with the feelings of depression they experienced when they first woke up. Many of my clients tell me that during the day they feel confused as to why they felt so low that morning when life is just fine, yet the next morning the same thing happens all over again.

I think most of us can equate with mornings like this. Not jumping out of bed with enthusiastic vigour on our first morning back to work after a great holiday, Monday mornings, or knowing your day ahead is going to be stressful wouldn't be considered abnormal, but the problem arises when this feeling is part of your every day life with no rhyme or reason for feeling it.

After hearing this on quite a regular basis, I started to look into what might be the problem and came across a theory that makes sense and could be helpful.  I have also put together a few pointers that might help to manage Morning Depression.

I found there is a name for this Morning Depression.  It's called Dinaural Mood Variation. The definition being "... people who suffer from symptoms of depression in certain hours of the day while other hours they feel emotionally balance and stable." and according to studies, the following reasons are common causes of why people are affected by Dinaural Mood Variation.


There is a direct link between mood and blood sugar balance.

Poor Nutrition:

This also relates to low blood sugar levels. Processed foods cause spiking of sugar levels and then a massive drop in sugar levels.  This leads to depression and anxiety. When processed foods are consumed before sleep, this increases the negative effect of hypoglycemia.  

Poor Sleep:

If you suffer with interrupted sleep or sleep disturbance, you will, without doubt be affected when your alarm goes off in the morning.

Unhappy with your life:

If you are not in an emotionally happy place, waking up in the morning isn't going to fill you with enthusiasm and depending on how unhappy with your life you are, will affect the degree of sadness you feel on waking.

I absolutely believe the scientific theory above.  It makes total sense that if our sugar levels are low, we are likely to feel like crap when we wake up in the morning. BUT... unless you feel like that when you go on holiday too, or Saturday morning, that theory doesn't apply to you.  So ask yourself a few questions.  Do you feel this Morning Depression when you go on holiday? Do you feel it if you know you are looking forward to the day ahead? If the answer is yes, then it's probable that your diet needs adjusting as well as a few changes that could help (will discuss this below).  If your answer is no, then although a good diet is always a positive change, it's more likely to be your emotional and psychological self that needs exploring.

Okay, so let's look at some easy and effective ways to alleviate and hopefully eliminate Morning Depression.

  1. Self Talk.  Every day when you open your eyes tell yourself that you have nothing to worry about.  Today is going to be fine and you'll deal with what ever comes your way, just like you did yesterday.  Tell yourself that by lunch time, this feeling will no doubt have lifted just like it usually does.
  2. Do not skip breakfast. Wake up and eat within 30 minutes if possible even if you aren't hungry.  Blueberries are a great choice with breakfast. Look up "The Power of Anti Anxiety Foods".
  3. Stretch and Breathe.  Every morning take 10 breathes through the nose filling your abdomen (not your chest) hold for 4 seconds and gently blow out through your mouth.  Stretching the fatigue from your body also calms the mind and energises the body.
  4. SAD Lamp.  You have probably heard of these lamps.  If I am perfectly honest I always wondered whether these things were just hype, but I have asked many people whether they thing they have helped them and have always received positive feedback. Apparently the light instantly lifts their mood.  Worth a try a think!
  5. Rise and Shine Early.  Yeah, Yeah I know, the whole problem here is waking up and getting up, how the hell do I expect you to do this one?  I get it! but get the above 4 points in place first.  Then try to get up an hour earlier. If you can do it for a month, you have started a habit! A pretty good habit, wouldn't you say?
  6. Good Start.  Waking up just to go to work or do chores isn't the most inspiring thing to do, so make some changes.  Get up and start your day positively with something you enjoy.  It could be breakfast whilst watching TV, going for a walk before you start your day, employing a personal trainer, doing yoga. 

Morning Depression can feel utterly overwhelming, but remember, so far you have 100% success rate of dealing with it.  If you try the above and you find it makes no difference, perhaps a few sessions with a counsellor would be useful.  Maybe setting free what might be suppressed in your unconscious will help you to move into a happier and empowered place.  You deserve to enjoy your life! x