Question: Why do I wake up early every morning when I’m depressed?
Carrie: Now, with depression, it's heavily studied if you have an elevated or excessive cortisol awakening response, meaning you go higher, your spike is higher and more dramatic than the average bear, then your risk for morning depression is much higher. The reason for that as we've already touched upon with estrogen and the serotonin versus kynurenine pathway because high excessive glucocorticoids or cortisol can also upregulate the pathway away from serotonin and down towards kynurenine.
If you wake up with excessive amounts of cortisol, for whatever reason, you're stressed out, you're anticipating your day, you wake up in pain, you wake up with inflammation, something startled you awake, your kid is throwing up, it can increase your risk for morning depression because it pushes all that excessive cortisol, pushes your tryptophan away from serotonin and down towards kynurenine.
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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.
PLEASE NOTE: As a result of the COVID-19 crisis and the time I am committing to staying on top of relevant research, as well as the high volume of questions I receive, it may take me extra time to respond to questions here. For an up-to-date list of where I respond to questions most quickly, please see the contact page on chrismasterjohnphd.com.