Do you always wake up tired?  Here's why, according to doctors

Do you always wake up tired? Here’s why, according to doctors

There is absolutely no disappointment like sleeping for eight hours only to get out of bed feeling completely tired, if not more so than you were the night before. If you don’t wake up refreshed, or feel like you’re always running without energy, something is definitely up. Below, experts explain why you wake up tired (and always feel tired), and how to stop the sticky cycle of drowsiness.

Reasons why you wake up tired

There are a plethora of reasons why you might get up on the wrong side of the bed – and stay there all day. You have more control over some than others.

Lack of sleep

If you’ve never heard of it, sleep lethargy is the technical term for the typical morning ataxia. This is why you might feel a little wobbly on your feet or disoriented after getting out of bed – your brain is basically waking up.

“Studies have shown that blood flow in the brain is slower for up to 30 minutes after waking up than it was before bed,” explains Robin M. Tucker, PhD, RD, assistant professor of food science and nutrition at Michigan State University who studies the intersection of nutrition with sleep. . She adds that the feeling of drowsiness lasts anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour for most people, but others can experience it for several hours.

“Sleep inertia usually lasts longer after sleepless nights, especially if those nights are consecutive,” Tucker says. “While it can be annoying not to jump out of bed and be at your best, some scientists believe that sleep inactivity helps you fall back to sleep quickly and prevents unwanted awakenings.” However, waking up during the deeper stages of sleep is thought to cause more serious sleep deficits, she adds.

For obvious reasons, it can be hard to distinguish between normal withdrawal and general fatigue, but Peter Paulus, MD, PhD, fellow at the American Academy of Sleep and a sleep number expert says sleep lethargy usually manifests as the day progresses, while more persistent fatigue It may last all day, and is often only relieved by more sleep or naps.

exposure to blue light

Whether you want to believe it or not, the screen time you spend seriously affects your sleep, especially its quality. However, many of us engage in what Tucker calls “bedtime procrastination for revenge,” or the decision to stay up after a busy day by engaging in recreational activities that we might miss (like scrolling and watching TV) rather than falling asleep.

“Using computers, tablets, cell phones, and televisions too close to bedtime can suppress melatonin secretion and delay the onset of sleep, so it is best to turn them off an hour before bed to avoid additional exposure,” says Dr. Paulus. In general, he adds, we sleep better in a dark, cool room (between 67 to 69 degrees), so if you sleep with the TV on, it could be stealing your ZZZ.

Bad sleep hygiene

    Having good sleep hygiene means maintaining a bedroom environment and a daily routine that promotes restful sleep. Making small adjustments to your bedding or bedtimes can make a big difference. “Make sure you sleep on a comfortable bed that supports you from head to toe,” says Dr. Paulus. “It’s worth looking at a smart bed, like Sleep Number 360, that lets you adjust comfort and durability on every aspect of the bed.” He adds that the 360 ​​has a circadian rhythm feature that helps you understand what’s yours.

    Pillows are just as important – Dr. Polos says to find one that fits your sleeping style, whether you sleep on one side or need a neck support.

    Drinking a lot of caffeine or alcohol

    Caffeine is a stimulant, and its afternoon pick-me-up can affect you more than you realize. “Some people metabolize caffeine more slowly than others,” Tucker says. And although alcohol is considered a depressant, it can disrupt the stages of REM sleep, adds Dr. That’s why he recommends avoiding either substance for up to four hours before bed.


    Sleep disorders such as insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea usually interfere with sleep and wakefulness. People with sleep apnea in particular are prone to feeling tired even after a full night’s sleep. “[It] Being awake for breathing, Tucker explains, “causes the airway to close repeatedly throughout the night. You may not remember these awakenings, but they are annoying and can make people fail to feel refreshed after sleep.” The main signs of sleep apnea are snoring. Severe daytime sleepiness, and a sleep test is required for diagnosis.


    It is really true that some people are by nature a night owl and others are morning birds. “Usually these factors are genetically predetermined,” Pollos says. “They can be modified to some extent but usually, one cannot be substituted for the other.”

    How to wake up feeling more refreshed

    Aside from the clothes already mentioned, there are a few other ways you can feel more alert, and more quickly in the morning.

    Let the light in

    “Exposure to light, especially sunlight, in the morning helps wake us up,” Tucker says, adding that more exposure to daylight in general also encourages early sleep onsets. That’s because light and circadian rhythms are intrinsically linked, Pollos adds, so exposure advances the natural sleep cycle. So, it might be time to ditch your blackout curtains or try an alarm that simulates the sunrise to get the light you need to stay on track.

    stop snoozing

    Have you ever felt more tired after sleeping for 10 minutes allowed by the snooze button? This is because snoozing increases the likelihood that you will wake up during a deep phase of sleep, which exacerbates sleep inactivity, Bolus explains. Therefore, it is best to set the alarm for the number of hours you need to get a good night’s rest, or to stay awake during periods of nap, using alarm clocks to help dispel sleep lethargy.


    Dr. Polo says doing yoga or a brisk walk an hour before bed is known to support sleep. “Exercise is always a great decision and can help promote sleep quality as an essential component of your overall health,” he adds.

    Set a bedtime (and wake-up time) and stick to it

    Yes, even on the weekend. “Working with people who are dissatisfied with the amount or quality of sleep they get, we find that maintaining a consistent bedtime and wake time is a simple but very powerful tool for getting better and better sleep,” Tucker says. While it may be a challenge at first, it is well worth it. “Sleep doesn’t waste time,” Tucker adds. “It is vital to your health and should be prioritized.”

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