backup og meta

Signs of Morning Depression: Here's What You Need to Know

Expertly reviewed by Jessica Espanto, LPT, MA, RPsy · Psychology · In Touch Community Services

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jul 20, 2022

Signs of Morning Depression: Here's What You Need to Know

Morning depression is a phenomenon that affects millions of people worldwide. Despite this, morning depression is not a well-studied topic, as not a lot of studies have been conducted regarding this phenomenon. Read on to learn more about the signs of morning depression, what causes it, and what you can do.

What is morning depression?

Morning depression is often described as sort of similar to a “hangover”. People who have morning depression usually experience great difficulty doing simple tasks in the morning. Things such as getting ready for the day, washing up, or even getting up from bed can feel burdensome. 

If you have ever felt this way, then you probably have experienced morning depression.

One of the most telling signs of morning depression is that people who have it typically have a bad or terrible mood in the morning, and then a better mood in the evening. Another name for it is diurnal variation in mood, or changes in one’s affective state related to day or night physiological and behavioral rhythms.

In addition it can also accompany mood swings in people with depression.   

Causes of morning depression

signs of morning depression

Diurnal variation in mood is believed to be a part of depression. This means that people who are struggling with depression usually experience it as one of their symptoms.

However, certain things can increase the possibility that a person experiences morning depression. This includes the following:

Not getting enough rest

One of the possible causes of this type of depression is not having enough rest. If you’re working long hours, and sleeping for less than 8 hours each day, then it can have an adverse effect on your mental health.

Scientists found that not having enough rest can affect the body’s natural clock or circadian rhythm, and make morning depression worse.

Sleeping at different hours each day

Another possible cause is if a person sleeps at different hours of the day. Having a regular sleep schedules allows our body to have a normal circadian rhythm, and our body uses this to help regulate various bodily processes, especially when we rest.

If a person sleeps late one day, and early the next, it could put their circadian clock out of sorts. This can potentially affect the body’s sleep-wake cycle, and cause morning depression.

Sudden changes in the body clock

In general, sudden changes in a person’s body clock can have an effect on their mood, including depression. This means that if a person suffers from jetlag, is getting used to a different time zone, or suddenly needs to work the graveyard shift, it can have an effect on their mental health.

This means that the body is unable to have a regular sleep-wake cycle, and can be a cause for morning depression.

What are the signs of morning depression?

signs of morning depression

Morning depression can manifest in different ways. But here are the most common signs of this condition:

  • Having a lack of motivation to wake up, or get up in the morning.
  • Being unable to do simple tasks such as take a shower, brush your teeth, or eat breakfast in the morning.
  • Having a low or depressive mood in the morning, which slowly gets better throughout the day, and much better in the evening.
  • Mood swings that get worse in the morning.
  • Having suicidal thoughts, suicide ideation, or thinking that “there’s no point” right after waking up.
  • All of these are signs that you might be suffering from morning depression.

    What can you do about it?

    Morning depression or diurnal variation of mood is a treatable condition. The treatment can be similar to that of a major depressive disorder, or a long-term type of depression, albeit with a few differences.

    Here are some of the things that you can do about it:

    • If you have depression, don’t be afraid to seek help. This by far is the best thing that you can do to help manage your condition.
    • Get enough rest each night. Try to have at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. This can help even out your circadian rhythm and helps improve your mood and mental health.
    • Exercise daily. Exercise has been known to improve a person’s mood, as well as their overall health.
    • Light therapy can help deal with morning depression. This entails being near a light therapy box which provides light similar to that of natural light. This can help improve your circadian rhythm, as well as boost your mood and prevent seasonal affective disorder.
    Always remember, depression is a treatable condition. You are not alone in your struggle, and do not hesitate to seek help if you feel that you are unable to take care of yourself. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, and it can only help you get better.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Expertly reviewed by

    Jessica Espanto, LPT, MA, RPsy

    Psychology · In Touch Community Services

    Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jul 20, 2022

    advertisement iconadvertisement

    Was this article helpful?

    advertisement iconadvertisement
    advertisement iconadvertisement