Depression: when I wake up crying.

In this article it will be discussed if waking up crying is a common symptom of depression, with that, will be debated the concept of morning depression, how do people know they have it what can be done to treat morning depression, and in what ways it differs from regular depression.

Is crying a normal symptom of depression?

Yes, crying is a usual symptom of depression. Although the intensity of it might change between people, it is quite common for a person with depression to have a crying episode.

Along with that, a person with depression might show other symptoms such as feelings of hopelessness, loss of meaning or purpose in life, lack of ability to concentrate, and change in sleeping and eating patterns.

Why have I been waking up crying?

If you have been waking up crying it might be a sign that you are suffering from a severe form of depression.

Depression might have many forms, it can present itself as a single episode, when a person experiences just one depressive episode in their life; it can also be a severe or chronic depression when a person has two or more episodes of depression during their lifetime.

Beyond all that, they can have a sense of emptiness inside them, and also feel extremely tired and with no energy.

A form of severe or chronic depression is the diurnal mood variation, also called morning depression.

What is morning depression?

Morning depression is when the person experiences most of their depressive symptoms in the morning time and finds that their energy improves as the day goes by.

Although it is common for people with depression to have mood fluctuations during the day, for a person with morning depression it is a constant the worse fluctuation happens to them in the morning.

Some symptoms are more common to a person with morning depression, like sleeping more than usual, finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning doing the tasks they are supposed to do and becoming more irritable in the morning.

What are the causes of morning depression?

When talking specifically about morning depression, researchers have suggested that it might be related to a person’s circadian rhythm, also known as the body clock.

That is the process that speaks to our sleep-wake cycle, which involves a spectrum of different hormone changes that happens to us every day. 

Because the circadian rhythm is so important to us, researchers have said that morning depression might be related to it.

Aside from that, other factors, that are common to other types of depression, may influence a person’s chance of developing depression such as the family history of depression, be going through a traumatic experience, and difficult life events such as the loss of a loved one or divorce.

What can I do if I have morning depression?

Think of doing things one step at a time

When you wake up and you are feeling depressed even the smallest of steps, such as getting out of bed, might seem impossible.

If that is the case, try to avoid thinking of all the things that need to be done during the day. When you think of all that, aside from all the sadness you are feeling, you can also feel overwhelmed about the pressure of it all.

Try to think of it as small tasks, first get up, then breakfast, maybe take the pet for a walk, keep it as simple as possible.

Change your routine to a way that fits you

If you feel that doing activities in the morning is hard for you, try to prepare, as much as you can for it, the night before. 

If you study or work, try to prepare your things the night before, maybe leave part of your breakfast ready. By doing that, once you wake up the list of things to do will be smaller, and that can give you a little relief from the pressure you might feel.

Aside from that, try to plan your routine in a way that you don’t have that many responsibilities in the morning. Maybe talk to a boss about changing your time to getting in and out of work, since in the afternoon you feel a little better and that can even impact how productive you are at your job.

Try to do some exercise

Especially for people with morning depression, trying to do some outdoor activity in the morning might help them feel better during the day.

When they do that, it might help with their insomnia, and being exposed to sunlight can help improve the feeling of well-being.

Try to establish a sleep time routine

Aside from getting ready for the next day, a couple of hours before your bedtime try to have a warm drink, do some breathing exercises or meditate, all that will help you try to relax so you can try and get a better night of sleep.

It is also important to limit your cell phone exposure close to bedtime. When you spend too much time on your phones at night it might make it harder for you to sleep.

Seek the help of a professional

Morning depression is a sign of severe depression. If you feel that the smallest chores are hard to do, or if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, or thinking a lot about harming yourself, it might be time to look for professional support.

With a therapist, you will build a safe space, where you will feel heard and supported. There you will be able to talk about your deepest feelings with someone who will help you create a way out of this sadness.

Frequently asked questions? (FAQ): Why do I wake up crying when I’m depressed?

What are night terrors?

Night terrors, or sleep terrors, are night episodes that happen frequently. It is a period that lasts between 30 and 40 minutes when a person might get agitated in their sleep. They might cry, move around, show signs of fear, breathe faster, get flushed or sweaty.

It is not common in children, but adults can go through it as well. it usually happens in early periods of the night, when a person is still in their slow-wave sleep. People can wake up or not from night terrors, but after it, people can go back to sleep normally.

It is unknown why night terrors happen, but it can be a sign that a person has a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. Aside from that, when a person has respiratory issues like apneas, it can be a cause of night terrors.

They can also be caused by lack of sleep, the use of medications, alcohol use, fatigue, fever, or illness.

Why do I cry so often?

Crying is something normal to all people but if you feel you’ve been crying too much, it might be good to think about what has been causing your crying. It can be because you feel stressed or overwhelmed about something.

If you feel the crying is related to the overwhelming feeling, try and identify what’s been making you feel like that. After that, try to compartmentalize your actions, deal with what has been overwhelming you little by little, taking one step at a time.

If you think your crying is related to a stressful situation, aside from trying to deal with things as they come, it might be good to ask for help, find ways to relax from the stressful activities with hobbies, relaxation exercises, meditation, and get enough sleep.

Is it normal to cry yourself to sleep?

It might be expected that a person cries themselves to sleep when they are going through a trauma. It can be that someone they love died, they just want through a break-up or are having work problems.

But one should be aware that if the crying persists for a long period. If a person can’t stop crying, it might be a sign that they need to look for professional help.

Why can’t I cry anymore?

To answer why I can’t cry anymore it is important to ask yourself first if you still experience feelings of sadness but it is only that the tears don’t come out of your eyes or is it that your emotions have changed and you don’t feel like crying anymore.

If you can’t cry anymore, even though you feel your emotions the same way you always did, it is just that the tears are not coming out, it might mean you have a medical condition that can make it hard to cry.

It can be an eye condition, or maybe you are taking some medications that make it hard for your body to produce tears, it can also be because of the climate where you live, or you and eye surgery.

If that’s not the case, and you feel your emotions have changed recently, not crying can be a sign of some mental conditions. It can be that you have Snowdonia, which means that you are unable to feel picks of emotions, be it good or bad.

It might also be a sign of depression, although people may think a person with depression will cry all the time, in some cases they might have trouble crying. Aside from that, you might be repressing your emotions, not permitting yourself to cry.

Is crying always bad? 

No, crying is not always bad. It can have a soothing quality to it. When you cry, you let feelings come out, and it can help you process your emotions instead of letting your body absorb all of them. What is important is to be aware of the pattern and intensity of your crying.

If you start crying regularly and can’t identify an apparent reason for it, which can be a stressful situation, trauma, or trouble you might be going through,  it can be a sign to pay attention to your mental health, since crying and feeling of intense sadness can be a sign of depression and other mental illness.


In this article, it was discussed why people might wake up crying in the morning. It clarified that it can be a sign of morning depression, a type of chronic depression.

The article also showed the difference between regular depression and morning depression and explained what can be the cause of morning depression and its most common symptoms. Besides that, the article explained how a person can deal with morning depression and its symptoms.

If you have any comments or questions about this article, feel free to write it in the section below.


Wirz-Justice A. Diurnal variation of depressive symptoms. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2008 Sep; 10(3):337-343.