Not everyone can dance out of bed when it’s time to start the day. But if it’s a struggle to drag yourself from under the covers on a regular basis вЂ” even after a good nightвЂ™s sleep or that tiredness persists for a prolonged period вЂ” it can start to have a negative impact on your ability to live your life to the fullest.
So if you regularly find yourself asking, вЂњWhy am I so tired in the morning?вЂќ then maybe it’s worth reviewing your habits вЂ” in the day and at night вЂ” that could be contributing to that grogginess.
Here, we will look at the reasons you could be waking up tired and what you can do to start the morning by placing your best foot forward and continuing that momentum throughout your day вЂ” whether you’re naturally a morning person or not.
- Trouble falling asleep
- Why do I wake up tired?
- How to sleep better
- How to wake up easier
These gentle, uplifting sounds may help you feel ready to rise.
Listen to Daybreak – 20 seconds
Reasons for waking up tired
In the last hour or so of sleep, your natural body clock releases cortisol and other hormones that prepare you to wake up, leading to you waking naturally, during a period of light sleep. But if you’re woken by an alarm, it could go off during a period of deeper sleep which might leave you feeling more groggy.
For most people, feeling tired when you wake up is the result of sleep inertia, which is a natural feeling you experience as you transition between being asleep and awake. This feeling generally dissipates between 15 and 60 minutes after waking, but for some it can last longer. So if you are wondering why youвЂ™re still tired after 8 hours of sleep, this perfectly normal occurring phenomenon could be one explanation.
That said, sleep inertia can affect our motor and cognitive skills, so it can be frustrating if you have to be alert soon after waking. In some cases, it can even be dangerous вЂ” especially for anyone who has to drive for work, be on call, or perform safety-critical tasks.
But for some people, there could be an underlying medical or sleep condition playing a part.
These conditions include insomnia, which is when you have trouble falling or staying asleep. Primary insomnia is not linked to a health problem. It is caused by factors that can include stress from significant life events, or changes to your sleep schedule. Or it could be secondary insomnia, which is linked to health conditions like mental health issues, other sleep disorders, illness, or pain вЂ” and it can be acute or chronic. Acute insomnia lasts anywhere from one night to a few weeks and often needs no medical treatment. But chronic insomnia is when it occurs at least three nights a week for three months or more, and you should consult your doctor.
For many people asking, “Why am I so tired when I wake up?вЂќ there are steps you can take to ensure you are giving your body and mind the best chance of waking up feeling fresh by improving your sleep hygiene and other habits in your life.
To wake up feeling refreshed, it is important to sleep well. The recommendation of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine is that adults should sleep for at least seven hours each night. But a third of Americans are getting less.
Sleep hygiene consists of good practices you can follow to create the ideal conditions for a quality nightвЂ™s rest.
These include keeping a consistent sleep schedule of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day (even on weekends), keeping your room cool and comfortable, and avoiding coffee, alcohol, or eating too soon before bed.
Melatonin is a natural hormone released in your brain after dark to aid sleep, so it is best to take steps to ensure you do not interfere with that. This includes dimming the lights in your home after dark and keeping your bedroom dark at night, or wearing an eye mask. And, of course, turning off our electronic devices at least an hour before bed. As well as stimulating the brain at a time we are trying to log off, the blue light emitted from these devices disrupts melatonin production.
You can also try to maintain your room as your sanctuary for sleep. Have a comfortable mattress and pillow, and create a relaxing bedtime routine to train the mind that this is the place and time of rest.
Eating healthy foods for breakfast like proteins, whole grains, nuts, and lower-sugar fruits can help fight morning fatigue. And a short nap in the afternoon, ideally between 10 to 20 minutes, can also help to keep you feeling refreshed around the clock.
Science to the rescue!
There are two types of people in this world: Those who snooze their alarm approximately 20 times before they get up, like moi, and those who set one alarm and just. get up? Superhumans, if you ask me.
But no one is immune to the midday slump. You know, the wave of tiredness that hits right as your boss is giving an important presentation or your prof decides to call on you in class.
Not. Fun. And unless your work or school is super chill , you can’t exactly drop everything and take a nap. Sure, you could grab a cup of coffee. But you’ll probably just crash in a few hours—or stay you up all night. Plus, coffee and naps take time and I prefer an immediate result. I’m gen Z.
Don’t start panic Googling ‘How can I wake myself up fast?’ or ‘How do you wake your brain up?’ And definitely don’t splash cold water on your face. That sounds terrible. I’m here to help. From aromatherapy (the smell of peppermint apparently works wonders) to special light therapy glasses, here are 12 ways to wake yourself up when you’re feeling the urge to pass out.
1. Get some sunlight
If you’re feeling tired, try to go outside and get some natural sunlight, says Whitney Roban, PhD, family, educational and corporate sleep specialist. That’ll prevent your body from producing melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy.
If you’re usually stuck inside, invest in a light box or a pair of light therapy glasses that emit light to mimic sunlight, suggests Joshua Tal, PhD, a sleep psychologist based in New York City. Your circadian rhythm, aka your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, will see the light as a sign that it’s time to be active and tell your body to release wakefulness hormones like cortisol to keep you awake. Yay!
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
“Research suggests that hydration increase alertness, productivity, cognitive performance and memory,” says Dr. Roban. That’s huge, considering all of those things typically decline when you’re feeling tired.
“On the days I feel tired, I often notice just as much of a boost in energy from two cups of water as I would from drinking one cup of coffee,” adds Alex Dimitriu, MD, double board-certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine and founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine.
Keep a water bottle on your desk to remind you to stay hydrated. Yeah, you’ll probably have to pee all the time. But getting up and moving around for bathroom breaks is actually a great way to wake up too, Dr. Dimitriu adds.
3. Stress out
Ok, this isn’t the most fun way to wake yourself up, but it works. Read a stressful email, or think about everything you have to get done for the day. Doing so will raise the levels of cortisol (remember that wakefulness hormone we talked about earlier?) and make you feel more alert, says Dr. Tal. Just please don’t try this strategy if you’re prone to anxiety, K?
4. Exercise a little
Go for a quick walk or do a few jumping jacks for an instant energy boost. “When we exercise, our body releases hormones such as endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. These hormones decrease stress, improve mood, and increase alertness,” explains Dr. Roban. But don’t try to go for a long run or lift weights if you’re already feeling tired. An intense workout will only leave you feeling more tired, says Dr. Tal. So if you’re feeling sleepy, consider this your formal excuse to skip the gym. You’re welcome.
5. Put on your favorite playlist
Open Spotify, my friend. Tons of studies have found that listening to music can increase your focus and productivity, which will help you power through that 3 p.m. slump. If you really wanna wake up fast, put on something like hard rock or classical music, suggests Dr. Tal. Both of these types of music can stimulate your senses and make you feel more alert.
6. Sip on a bubbly drink
7. Take some deep breaths
Um, easiest solution ever. Breathing deeply for two to three minutes improves oxygenation—the process of introducing oxygen to your system—which helps the brain stay awake, says Dr. Dimitriu. Fresh air also helps, so try to get outside to take your deep breaths if you can, he says.
8. Try aromatherapy
9. Repeat a mantra
When you’re tired, focusing on the fact that you’re about to doze off can actually make you feel even more tired, says Dr. Tal. It’s basically the definition of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, he says, find a mantra like ‘carpe diem’ or ‘I’m gonna make today my bitch’ (ok, that one’s from me) that will make you focus on staying awake. This will trick your mind into feeling ready to take on the rest of the day and distract you from the fact that you’re feeling the opposite of lit.
10. Choose a fun distraction
Permission to scroll through Insta, start a new puzzle or watch a few YouTube videos. A lot of times when we feel tired, it’s really because we’re bored, explains Dr. Tal. So taking a break to do something you find fun and relaxing mid-workday or -study sesh will help re-energize you and distract you from feeling tired. Don’t tell yourself you’re only going to watch “just one episode” of your current binge, though. We all know where that goes.
11. Take a break from your screens
Sometimes screen time can be the culprit behind your fatigue. “Eye strain can cause headaches and sleepiness,” says Dr. Roban. “Take a break from your computer so that you can relax your eyes and brain.” Here’s where something as simple as a bathroom break, a trip to get a drink of water, or a quick walk around the hall can help. Just please don’t bring your phone with you—your eyes need a few minutes to chill.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything super woo-woo. Following a quick guided meditation on YouTube or a meditation app should do the trick. Meditating helps by clearing your mind so that you can focus and concentrate more easily, which is usually hard to do when you’re feeling drowsy, explains Dr. Roban. Plus, it’ll help you sleep better at night so you don’t feel tired AF again tomorrow.
Sometimes you drift off to sleep easily. Other times you toss and turn for hours before you slip into a fitful sleep. After lunch you may be dragging. Later, your energy levels soar just in time for bed.
How and when you feel sleepy has to do with your sleep/wake cycles. These cycles are triggered by chemicals in the brain.
Brain chemicals and sleep
Chemicals called neurotransmitters send messages to different nerve cells in the brain. Nerve cells in the brainstem release neurotransmitters. These include norepinephrine, histamine, and serotonin. Neurotransmitters act on parts of the brain to keep it alert and working well while you are awake.
Other nerve cells stop the messages that tell you to stay awake. This causes you to feel sleepy. One chemical involved in that process is called adenosine. Caffeine promotes wakefulness by blocking the receptors to adenosine. Adenosine seems to work by slowly building up in your blood when you are awake. This makes you drowsy. While you sleep, the chemical slowly dissipates.
Two body processes control sleeping and waking periods. These are called sleep/wake homeostasis and the circadian biological clock.
With sleep/wake homeostasis, the longer you are awake, the greater your body senses the need to sleep. If this process alone was in control of your sleep/wake cycles, in theory you would have the most energy when you woke up in the morning. And you would be tired and ready for sleep at the end of the day.
But your circadian biological clock causes highs and lows of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout the day. Typically, most adults feel the sleepiest between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., and also between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Getting plenty of regular sleep each night can help to balance out these sleepy lows.
Your body’s internal clock is controlled by an area of the brain called the SCN (suprachiasmatic nucleus). The SCN is located in the hypothalamus. The SCN is sensitive to signals of dark and light. The optic nerve in your eyes senses the morning light. Then the SCN triggers the release of cortisol and other hormones to help you wake up. But when darkness comes at night, the SCN sends messages to the pineal gland. This gland triggers the release of the chemical melatonin. Melatonin makes you feel sleepy and ready for bed.
Neurotransmitters and your sleep
Some neurotransmitters help your body recharge while you sleep. They can even help you to remember things that you learned, heard, or saw while you were awake. The neurotransmitter acetylcholine is at its strongest both during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and while you are awake. It seems to help your brain keep information gathered while you are awake. It then sets that information as you sleep. So if you study or learn new information in the hours before bed, “sleeping on it” can help you remember it.
Other neurotransmitters may work against you as you sleep. Abnormalities with the neurotransmitter dopamine may trigger sleep disorders such as restless legs syndrome.
Even losing just 1 hour of sleep over a few days can have an effect. It can lead to a decrease in performance, mood, and thinking. Getting regular, adequate amounts of sleep is important. It can help you feel awake and refreshed during the day. It can also help you feel relaxed and sleepy at night. This helps make you ready for a long, restful night of sleep.
Have You Ever Wondered.
- Do you ever wake up feeling tired?
- What is sleep apnea?
- How can you sleep better at night?
Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by iris from Arcadia, CA. iris Wonders, “Why we were so tired, when we woke up? ” Thanks for WONDERing with us, iris!
* Yawn !* Your alarm goes off and you roll over, desperately searching for the snooze button. Nine more minutes of sleep sound like just what the doctor ordered. Those precious minutes pass and the alarm sounds again, waking you from your peaceful sleep .
As you roll out of bed , your feet hit the floor and you stumble into the first step of your morning routine. Only half- awake , you WONDER how you could feel this tired after a full night of sleep . What’s going on here?
Have you ever felt that way? You wake up after sleeping all night long, only to feel just as tired as you felt when you went to sleep the night before. Why is it that we sometimes wake up feeling like we just need to go back to bed ?
If you’ve felt this way before, don’t worry. You’re not alone. It’s actually quite common for people to feel tired in the morning after sleeping all night. The problem? You’re not getting quality sleep .
There are a multitude of things that can lead to poor quality sleep . To start, you need to examine the quantity of sleep you’re getting. While eight hours per night is a general guideline that many people go by, some people — especially children — need much more than eight hours of sleep per night.
Even if you get enough sleep , there might be other factors affecting the quality of your sleep . For example, some people have a medical condition called sleep apnea that affects the way they breathe. People with sleep apnea often experience frequent sleep interruptions that can leave them feeling exhausted when they wake up in the morning.
Environmental factors can also affect your sleep quality . If it’s too bright or too warm in your bedroom, you may toss and turn, trying to get comfortable . Likewise, drinking caffeine or eating too much late at night can make falling or staying asleep difficult.
Another important factor in poor sleep quality may surprise — and disappoint — some people. Do you have a pet that sleeps with you? While they may be snuggly and comforting, pets in bed tend to move around and make noises that can disturb sleep patterns multiple times throughout the night.
Exercise can also play a role. While exercise will generally help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, it’s important to best to exercise early in the day. Exercising too late in the evening can actually supercharge your body to the point that it’s difficult to fall asleep.
If your sleep problems aren’t physical, then they could be mental. Experts have found that stress, anxiety , depression, and boredom can all lead to poor- quality sleep and low energy levels. Identifying such problems can help you to work toward solving them, which will eventually help you sleep better.
Want to wake up feeling rested? Get plenty of hours of quality sleep and eliminate the sleep disturbances we’ve discussed. Keep pets out of your room, turn down the thermostat a few notches, and make your bedroom as dark as possible. Avoid caffeine and foods late at night and exercise early in the day. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel when you wake up!
We’d like to thank:
Nathalie and Laney
for contributing questions about today’s Wonder topic!
Let’s pretend it’s 2 p.m. for a moment, shall we? It doesn’t matter if you’re chugging along at work or running a few last-minute errands, you suddenly start to feel exhausted. You clocked eight good hours of sleep the night before, had your normal caffeine fix, and didn’t run a marathon today. So why are you ready to stop what you’re doing and take a nap? It’s called a mid-afternoon slump, and it’s a familiar occurrence for most people.
“The mid-afternoon slump is common for many people and is due to our natural circadian rhythm,” explains Marvin Nixon, MS, NBC-HWC, certified health and wellness coach. “The common circadian cycle has the body increasing energy from right before we wake up (that’s what wakes us naturally), and then there’s the first peak at late morning. The cycle then begins to dip, and generally between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., we hit a slump until our energy naturally rises again to a secondary peak early in the evening. After this secondary peak, our bodies start to give way to ‘sleep pressure’ soon after dark.”
But just because this energy dip is sort of inevitable, it doesn’t have to completely derail your day. To help, check out these surprisingly simple ways to wake yourself up when you’re feeling a little tired from that mid-afternoon slump.
1 Laugh Out Loud
Whether your morning was packed with deadlines or something didn’t go according to plan, it’s safe to say that your day-to-day routine is filled with a series of tiny stresses. That can be exhausting—literally. If you want to avoid that mid-afternoon slump, try sneaking a comedic moment into your day.
“Laughing decreases the levels of cortisol (aka [your] stress hormone), stretches your muscles, improves blood pressure, and makes breathing better,” says Amber O’Brien, MD, a medical doctor at Mango Clinic. “[It] all collectively helps bring back your energy and beat the afternoon slump.”
2 Stretch Your Body
Sometimes getting up and moving is exactly the thing you need to kick your energy levels into high gear. According to Dr. O’Brien, our brain and muscles go into a rest position when we’re sleeping, and this relaxed state can make a major comeback in the afternoon.
“In order to feel fresh and energized, you need to circulate blood to your brain and body’s muscles,” Dr. O’Brien explains. “While stretching, the blood actively circulates to your brain and muscles of the body, which as a result, releases tension and makes you feel energized and well-prepared for the rest of the day.”
Try some energizing yoga, do a quick stretching routine, or even try to squeeze in a real workout (if possible with your schedule, of course).
“Just a few minutes of stretching can help you to stay awake and alert, and it can reduce your daily consumption of caffeine,” she adds.
3 Get Some Fresh Air
We know what you’re thinking: While stretching sounds like a great idea if you’re home, you might feel a little awkward getting active in public or at the office. Instead, consider going for a walk outside.
“Nature restores your energy and focus and helps you to get rid of afternoon laziness,” Dr. O’Brien says. “Engaging your body in physical activity such as walking, while seeing the natural surroundings, refreshes your mood and lifts your energy levels significantly.”
Plus, spending some time in Mother Nature can give you a much-needed dose of vitamin D. Our bodies produce sleep-inducing melatonin that naturally increases all day, especially after the sun goes down—or if you’re not getting enough sunlight during the day. “To reduce the production of melatonin, seek the sunlight for a few minutes to boost your vitamin D levels so you won’t feel as sleepy.”
4 Eat Whole Grains at Lunchtime
Ever wonder why your energy droops on some afternoons, but not others? The answer might be lurking inside your lunch box. “Eating a heavy lunch can intensify the mid-afternoon slump,” explains Kim Rose, RDN, CDCES, CNSC, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Florida. “Refined carbohydrates, which are found in white bread, rice, and pasta, can spike your blood sugar levels. Since refined carbs have minimal fiber they may also send your blood sugar levels crashing.”
Instead, trade in your refined carbohydrates for healthy whole grains, such as wild rice, oats, sprouted grain bread, farro, or quinoa. “Whole grains are full of fiber, which can help negate the blood sugar crashes and leave you feeling full for a longer period of time,” she says.
Didn’t sleep well last night? A sleepless night can impact your work and personal life. How do you stay productive the day after a sleepless night? Even though you may have had a sleepless night, you may still need to have a productive day. Learning how to keep yourself awake following a night of lost sleep, requires you to learn which of the following methods your body best responds to. 1
Good night, sleep tight!
Consider your usual night’s sleep: do you sleep like a rock, or do you wake up throughout the night? If you wake up a lot, make sure your sleeping environment is free of lights, sounds and changes in temperature. And limit use of smartphones, computers, and the TV before bedtime Digital devices like these can stimulate your mind and keep you awake instead of asleep.
While coffee or tea can help jumpstart your day, too much can dehydrate you or make you restless. A good way to stay awake without caffeine is to drink low or no calorie fluids, such as water or herbal tea. Fluids help your circulatory system and get your blood flowing. If you have a headache from too much caffeine, fluids can help relieve it.
Splash your face with cold water
A splash of cold water over your face will draw your circulation upward, toward your head, temporarily renewing your energy, making you feel more awake.
Reduce your sugar intake
Eating sugar is often thought to be one of the best ways to stay awake. But it’s actually best to avoid sugar when you’re tired. It causes blood sugar spikes – which is a spurt of high energy followed by very low energy, which can leave you feeling sleepy.
Interrupt your work routine with regular breaks
If you’re experimenting with how to stay awake at work, try interrupting boring or uninteresting tasks by working for 25 minutes at a time, followed by a 5-minute break. The variety will help you stay awake longer, and may make you more productive. Get up and move around during your break to get your blood flowing.
Connect with a friend
One of the best ways to stay awake is to do so with others. Focus your mind on something else by talking with a friend or co-worker.
Keep your space cool
A warm room can make you tired, and a cool room does the opposite! Crack a window for a refreshing breeze to keep your blood flowing and your energy level up.
Put on some tunes
Use music to help wake up your senses. It can also distract you and take your mind off feeling tired.
Take a walk
A walk can help bring blood flow to your muscles and wake them up. A change of scenery is also likely to reduce fatigue by inspiring new ideas and even sparking creativity.
You can give yourself a jolt of energy by lightly massaging select pressure points on your body. Key areas include: the back of your neck, between your thumb and index finger, behind your knees and just below the balls of your feet.
When you’re at work and need to stay awake, give these tips a try. Make sure to aim for quality rest, as a general rule. If your fatigue and sleeplessness continue talk to your health care provider for guidance.
Danielle Pacheco , Staff Writer
Medically Reviewed by
Heather Wright , Pathologist
Our dedicated team rigorously evaluates every article, guide, and product to ensure the information is accurate and factual. Learn More
Our dedicated team rigorously evaluates every article and guide to ensure the information is factual, up-to-date and free of bias.
In This Article
- Why Does Daytime Tiredness Occur?
- How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Excessive daytime sleepiness can occur for different reasons. For many people, feelings of tiredness can be attributed to not getting enough sleep at night, but several sleep disorders can also cause daytime sleepiness.
Sleep deficiency and daytime sleepiness may lead to negative outcomes at work or school. People who feel sleepy during the day and awake at night may struggle with focusing and concentrating at work, and tiredness can also impact decision-making and emotional control. Another concern is an increased risk of being involved in an accident on the road. Thankfully, there are measures you can take to mitigate daytime sleepiness and get enough sleep each night.
Why Does Daytime Tiredness Occur?
Daytime tiredness is different from fatigue. Fatigue refers to a lack of energy motivation that may occur due to lack of sleep, but can also stem from other factors like emotional stress or boredom.
Certain sleep disorders can lead to feelings of excessive daytime sleepiness. These include:
- Sleep apnea: This disorder is characterized by a restriction or blockage to the upper airway that causes people to choke or gasp for air in their sleep, often waking up in the process. Sleep apnea can also cause heavy snoring that disrupts sleep and makes people – and their partners – feel tired the next day.
- Narcolepsy: Narcolepsy is defined as the overwhelming urge to sleep during the day, which in turn can interfere with nightly sleep. During “sleep attacks,” some people with narcolepsy experience cataplexy, or the sudden loss of muscle tone that causes them to fall or slump over as they nod off. Excessive daytime sleepiness is considered the chief symptom of narcolepsy.
- Hypersomnia: Hypersomnia is another condition that causes people to feel excessively tired during the day. Unlike narcolepsy, hypersomnia does not cause sleep attacks and cataplexy will not occur. Many people with this condition have idiopathic hypersomnia, meaning the cause is not known.
- Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder: People with this disorder – DSWPD for short – feel tired later in the evening compared to other people, and they may also wake up later as a result. It occurs when a person’s circadian rhythm, guiding their sleep-wake schedule, is not aligned with natural light and darkness cycles. Those who attempt to correct their delayed sleep-wake phase may experience excessive sleepiness the next day.
- Non-24-hour sleep-wake rhythm disorder: The circadian rhythms of most healthy adults will reset every 24 hours in order to align with daylight and darkness. For people with this disorder, circadian rhythms are not entrained in a 24-hour schedule. Excessive daytime sleepiness is considered a chief symptom of non-24-hour sleep-wake rhythm disorder.
- Shift work disorder: Another circadian rhythm condition, shift work disorder affects people whose jobs require them to work late at night or early in the morning, and sleep during the day. The disorder can cause excessive daytime or nighttime sleepiness, depending on when the person works, and also cause sleep disruptions during their allotted rest time.
Another disorder, “insufficient sleep syndrome,” occurs when people persistently fail to get enough sleep at night due to factors such as family responsibilities or a work schedule that requires early rising. Tiredness during the day often occurs as a result. Interestingly, the most commonly diagnosed sleep disorder – insomnia – does not necessarily cause excessive daytime sleepiness. People with insomnia usually experience fatigue from being unable to sleep, rather than feelings of excessive tiredness that compel them to sleep. Apart from sleep disorders, other factors can cause excessive tiredness during the day. Jet lag, a circadian rhythm condition that affects overseas travelers adjusting to their current time zone, can make people very tired during the day. Sedative medications are also known to cause daytime tiredness. Additionally, one 2019 study suggests excessive sleepiness may be genetically inherited.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Adults generally need seven to eight hours of sleep each night. According to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 35% of respondents reported getting six or fewer hours of nightly sleep. Since a good night’s rest is essential for bodily recovery and repair, those who don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis are at higher risk for certain disorders, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and depression.
As you can see from our recommendations, the amount of sleep you should get each night will evolve over the course of your life.
|Age Group||Age Range||Recommended Amount of Sleep per Day|
|Newborn||0-3 months||14-17 hours|
|Infant||4-11 months||12-15 hours|
|Toddler||1-2 years||11-14 hours|
|Preschool||3-5 years||10-13 hours|
|School-age||6-13 years||9-11 hours|
|Teen||14-17 years||8-10 hours|
|Young Adult||18-25 years||7-9 hours|
|Adult||26-64 years||7-9 hours|
|Older Adult||65 years or older||7-8 hours|
If you feel tired during the day after a night without enough sleep, you may be able to alleviate your tiredness by simply getting more rest. Another remedy may be improving your sleep hygiene by going to bed and waking up at the same times each day, avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and evenings, and maintaining a relaxing bedroom environment.
However, persistent feelings of excessive daytime tiredness may warrant a doctor’s visit – especially if you sleep for the recommended amount of time each night.
About Our Editorial Team
Danielle writes in-depth articles about sleep solutions and holds a psychology degree from the University of British Columbia.
Feeling exhausted is so common that it has its own acronym, TATT, which stands for “tired all the time”.
We all feel tired from time to time. The reasons are usually obvious and include:
- too many late nights
- long hours spent at work
- a baby keeping you up at night
But tiredness or exhaustion that goes on for a long time is not normal. It can affect your ability to get on and enjoy your life.
Why am I tired all the time?t of the most common reasons for people to see their GP.t
Why you might be tired all the time
Before you see a GP, you may want to work out how you became tired in the first place.
It can be helpful to think about:
- parts of your life, such as work and family, that might be particularly tiring
- any events that may have triggered your tiredness, such as bereavement or a relationship break-up
- how your lifestyle may be making you tired
A GP will look at the following causes of tiredness:
- psychological causes
- physical causes
- lifestyle causes
Psychological causes of tiredness
Psychological causes of tiredness are much more common than physical causes.
Most psychological causes lead to poor sleep or insomnia, both of which cause daytime tiredness.
Psychological causes include:
The strains of daily life can worry most of us at some point. It’s also worth remembering that even positive events, such as moving house or getting married, can cause stress.
Read more about how to deal with stress.
A bereavement, redundancy or a relationship break-up can make you feel tired and exhausted.
If you feel sad, low and lacking in energy, and you also wake up tired, you may have depression.
Check how to tell if you have depression. See your GP if you think you are depressed.
If you have constant uncontrollable feelings of anxiety, you may have what doctors call generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) in adults.
As well as feeling worried and irritable, people with GAD often feel tired. See a GP, as medication and talking therapies can help.
If you think your tiredness may be a result of low mood or anxiety, try this short audio guide to dealing with your sleep problems.
Audio: sleep problems
In this audio guide, a doctor explains what you can do to give yourself the best chance of a good night’s sleep.
Physical causes of tiredness
There are several health conditions that can make you feel tired or exhausted.
Tiredness can also be the result of:
- pregnancy – particularly in the first 12 weeks
- being overweight or obese – your body has to work harder to do everyday activities
- being underweight – poor muscle strength can make you tire more easily
- cancer treatments, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy
- carbon monoxide poisoning – especially if your gas boiler has not been serviced regularly
- side effects of medicines and some herbal remedies
If you have been feeling constantly tired for more than 4 weeks, it’s a good idea to see your GP so they can confirm or rule out a medical condition that could be causing your tiredness.
Lifestyle causes of tiredness
In today’s 24/7 “always on” world, we often try to cram too much into our daily lives.
And to try to stay on top of things, we sometimes consume too much alcohol or caffeine, or eat sugary and high-fat snacks on the go rather than sitting down for a proper meal.
The main lifestyle causes of tiredness include:
Drinking too much interferes with the quality of your sleep. Stick to the guidelines of no more than 14 units a week for both men and women.
Read more about tips on cutting down on alcohol.
Too much or too little exercise can affect how tired you feel.
Too much of this stimulant, found in tea, coffee, colas and energy drinks, can upset sleep and make you feel wound-up as well as tired.
Try decaffeinated tea and coffee, or gradually cut out caffeine altogether.
Night workers often find they get tired more easily. This is more likely if the timing of the shifts keeps changing.
If you’re tired, you may nap during the day, which can make it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
More in Sleep and tiredness
Page last reviewed: 25 March 2021
Next review due: 25 March 2024
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The alarm goes off and you have to stop yourself from throwing it across the room. You’re only able to open one eye because the other is still not ready to give up on sleep. You just slept for 8 hours, but your body demands more. At this point, you’re probably wondering – why do I wake up tired?
Everyone has experienced waking up tired and groggy in the morning. Your mind and motor functions aren’t as sharp as usual, and you feel like there’s a fog clouding your brain. Although you’re awake, you’re tired and stuck in a sleep-like state.
This is called sleep inertia. Sleep inertia is a physiological state that occurs between sleep and wakefulness where feelings of drowsiness and disorientation persist. This can happen when you wake up during the REM sleep cycle , your deepest and most restorative phase of sleep.
Reasons You May Wake Up Feeling Tired
While sleep inertia is the primary cause of waking up feeling tired , there are many factors that aid in poor sleep that can lead to feeling groggy in the morning. Here are a few:
- Eating and drinking habits.Research has shown that eating less fiber, more saturated fat and more sugar throughout the day is linked with lighter, less restorative sleep. Drinking caffeine or alcohol can also disrupt your sleep and leave you feeling groggy and restless the next day. If you drink beverages in these categories, it’s best to do so sparingly and at least four hours before going to bed. So be mindful of your diet during the day if you are having a hard time waking up feeling refreshed.
- Blue light exposure. Up late on your phone, laptop, or watching TV? These devices emit blue light which suppresses a hormone in your brain called melatonin — otherwise known as the sleep hormone.
- Bedroom disturbances. If something keeps waking you prematurely throughout the night, you may wake up feeling groggy in the morning. Whether it be frequent urination, loud noises, disruptive light, or anything else that jolts you awake, you’ll likely feel worse for wear the next morning.
- An unsupportive mattress. If you wake up feeling stiff and achy along with groggy, your mattress could be to blame. If your mattress is old or simply doesn’t support your weight, body type, or preferred sleep position, it could be negatively impacting your rest.
Steps To Improve Sleep Quality
If any of these issues resonate with you, there are a few simple steps you can take to improve the quality of your sleep and wake up feeling refreshed for the day ahead.
- Eat healthy. Eat nutrient-rich, well-balanced meals at a regular cadence throughout the day to help regulate your sleep. In turn, lack of sleep causes the body to produce a mix of hormones that encourage unhealthy eating habits . Therefore, eating healthy promotes better sleep, and better sleep promotes eating healthy!
- Relax. Sometimes telling yourself to “relax” is about as easy as pushing a boulder uphill. It’s not something that will happen overnight, but you can teach yourself how to relax before going to bed through the use of meditation. However, if meditation isn’t your thing, you can try soothing background noises. Focusing on that instead of the millions of things keeping you awake, can help you fall asleep faster and provide for a better night’s sleep.
- Put away the electronics. Minimize your exposure to blue light before bedtime. Instead, opt for a cup of decaffeinated tea, stretch, read, or do some mild yoga. These tactics will relax your muscles and mind and prepare you for sleep much better than your cell phone will.
- Create the sleeping environment that’s right for you. If what you’ve been doing isn’t working, switch it up! Discover the temperature, lighting, number of pillows and blankets, etc., that make you the most comfortable. The goal is not just to fall asleep, but to design an environment that will keep you asleep throughout the night. The Tempur-Pedic Sleeptracker can help solve a lot of these issues. It keeps track of several variables in your sleeping environment, including temperature, humidity, air purity, and more.
- Invest in a new mattress. Your mattress should be your primary aid in amazing sleep — not a hindrance. An investment in a mattress is an investment in your health, and ultimately, happiness. Determine if it’s time for a new mattress that is not only comfortable, but supportive in all the ways that matter. Take advantage of Mattress Warehouse’s current sale and find the mattress that is a great fit for your body and your budget.
Say Goodbye To Groggy Mornings
The most important piece of furniture in your room (and perhaps your entire house) is your mattress. You spend approximately a third of your life on it, so it’s never something you should settle on.
If you’re constantly waking up tired , it may be time for a new mattress — one that’s so comfortable, you can’t help but sleep like a baby.
That’s why we have bedMATCH Ⓡ , our diagnostic sleep system. bedMATCH Ⓡ takes the guesswork out of mattress shopping by using scientific measurements to make objective recommendations on the best mattress specifically for you.
Since we know not everyone will be able to take our quick three-minute test in-store, we’ve created an online bedMATCH Ⓡ quiz so you can discover the perfect bed for you without leaving your house.
Drop by your local Mattress Warehouse to try bedMATCH Ⓡ in-store with the help of one of our sleep experts, or take the quiz online today.
Published August 20, 2021
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Beep-beep! Beep-beep!! It’s wake-up time, and your alarm is going off. But you’re sooo tired, and the bed is sooo comfortable. Before you know it, you hit snooze. And in a few minutes, you hit snooze again. And again. It’s a penalty-free grace period that never expires—after all, you’ll get up eventually, right? No harm done.
But as schools and offices reopen, many people may require more regimented morning routines, and those 20 or 30 minutes deliciously lost to snoozing can become problematic. Adding insult to injury, the sleep you manage to get between snooze alarms doesn’t benefit you much anyway. “For most of us, that alarm is going off at a time when we are likely having REM sleep, one of the most restorative stages of sleep,” explains Ilene Rosen, MD, associate professor of medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, who studies sleep disorders and sleep deprivation. But once REM sleep is interrupted, Rosen says, you don’t immediately return to the same stage. So those extra nine or so minutes post-alarm aren’t very restful. “You’re short-changing yourself,” she says.
Of course, waking up is hard—sometimes even after eight hours. That’s why so many folks fall victim to the siren song of the snooze button. What to do? We asked sleep experts for answers.
Work on your timing
Although you’re typically in REM sleep by wake-up time, there’s a chance your alarm will go off during a deeper sleep cycle instead. The resulting grogginess can be one reason you’re especially tempted to hit snooze. “You’re setting an artificial time to wake you that’s not in sync with your body rhythm,” explains Nathaniel Watson, MD, professor of medicine and co-director of the University of Washington Medicine Sleep Center. To address this issue, some sleep-tracking apps, such as the Wirecutter-recommended SleepScore, monitor your sleep cycles and wake you at an optimal time within a programmed range (for example, during the light sleep of non-REM stage 1 instead of the deep non-REM stage 3), thereby increasing your chances of waking up feeling refreshed and ready for the day.
Opt for a gentler sound
You might expect that the louder and more unpleasant the alarm, the more effective it would be at waking you up. In fact, it may have the opposite effect: As W. Christopher Winter, MD, president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine and author of The Rested Child, says, “A lot of times, when people hear that jarring sound, they shut it off immediately,” only to fall back asleep. Instead, he suggests trying soothing sounds (birds chirping, bells chiming, a favorite song) that gradually increase in volume and peak at your scheduled wake-up time. “It’s allowing you to sort of wake up, become more conscious and thoughtful about your actions, and then get up,” Winter says. You may find a range of more-pleasant sounds in your phone’s clock feature, on a few of our alarm clock picks, and in all of our sunrise alarm clock and sleep-tracking app recommendations.
“Light cues our brain to be awake,” Rosen says. “If you have trouble getting up in the morning, a brighter room will be easier to wake up to.” If the actual sunrise corresponds to your desired wake time, leave your shades raised a bit at night, as long as light sources outside your home—lamp posts, street lights, the neighbors’ off-season Christmas decorations—aren’t visible through your window (because they can prevent you from falling asleep in the first place). Or consider a smart shade, which you can program to rise at a certain time.
If it’s still dark when you need to wake up, switch on a lamp as soon as the alarm goes off (it’s even better if you have to get out of bed to do that—see “Get on your feet” below). Artificial lighting isn’t as bright as sunshine, but turning it on is more helpful than staying in the dark. Otherwise, a sunrise alarm clock, which slowly brightens the room for the 15 to 30 minutes before your alarm goes off, can take the edge off waking up. Some models, such as our top pick, the Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light HF3520, start with a soothing red-tinted glow that gradually transforms into a bright white light that fills the room, accompanied by the sound of chirping birds (or other gentle audio options).
Incentivize yourself with scents
Although odors can’t necessarily wake you up as effectively as bright light or loud sounds can, they can at least pull you out of bed once your alarm wakes you up. Rosen says she used to program her coffee maker to finish brewing right before her alarm went off: “It was an association like, ‘Look, all I have to do is get to the kitchen and fill the mug, and I can get started feeling better.’” Similarly, Winter would put his bread maker up to the task. The aroma that would waft through his house a handy 30 minutes before his scheduled wake-up time was “really powerful and kind of motivating,” he says.
Get on your feet
Unlike cows, humans can’t sleep standing up, Rosen points out. “So if you stand up, even if you’re tired and don’t feel that great, you will at least be able to move through the motions you need to do to promote your alertness,” she says. Watson says some of his patients have reported success with Clocky, a wheeled clock that scoots across the room as its alarm sounds so you have to crawl around and find it to shut it off. As for me, a cell phone (or alarm clock) left in the bathroom does the trick: Not only does it force me to walk over and turn the alarm off, but at that point I’m also just one step away from brushing my teeth and showering. Or you might try alarm apps, including the Wirecutter-tested Sleep as Android, which compel you to perform tasks such as walking several paces or scanning a QR code to make the noise stop.
Raise the stakes
Getting up for essential appointments (like jobs and international flights) isn’t necessarily hard, but waking up for lower-stakes events (like that morning workout I promised myself I’d do today for sure) can feel impossible. “The brain kind of knows what is ‘necessary’ and what is kind of a ‘bonus’ thing, and can often sleep through the bonus things,” explains Winter. One way to bypass this problem is to make the event more “necessary.” For morning workouts, sign up for a non-refundable fitness class or plan a run with a friend who will not forgive you if you bail. For brunch, tell your date that you’ll pay for the meal if you’re late.
Enlist a human alarm clock
You might use hotel wake-up calls while traveling—why not at home? Simply tap your favorite morning person to phone you when you need it. (Hopefully, they’re also dependable and loquacious.) That’s what Rosen would sometimes do when she was particularly sleep deprived during her residency years. I use my sister—after five minutes of hearing about her crise du jour, there’s no way I’d be able to fall back asleep. Now that we live on opposite coasts and her commute coincides perfectly with my wake-up time, our calls have become more frequent.
Sleep more (and better)
We saved this strategy for last because we figured it’s the one you’d least want to hear. But as Watson explains, you would likely not even need an alarm if you were consistently getting a good night’s sleep—you would just spontaneously wake up right around when you wanted to, assuming you went to bed early enough. Unfortunately, few people are able or willing to set aside a full seven to eight hours for sleep consistently every night, much less turn off their electronics, avoid alcohol and coffee before bedtime, or skip other sleep-inhibiting substances and activities.
I go to bed on time but sometimes I lie there for a while and can’t fall asleep. What should I do?
Changes in rhythm mean it can be hard for teens to fall asleep sometimes.
If you find yourself lying awake in bed thinking about everything from your homework to whether it’s your turn to walk the dog in the morning, you may need a sleep reboot. Try this:
- Start by trying to take your mind off any racing thoughts. Picture a relaxing scene that involves sleep and build that scene in your mind. So, let’s say your scene has you lying in a beach hammock under the stars. Imagine what the waves sound like. Are there other sounds, like palm trees rustling? What sensations do you feel (like the hammock swaying, or maybe a warm breeze blowing)? Is anyone else there with you? Focus completely on this scene for a while.
- If that doesn’t work and you’re still wide awake, try getting up for a short time. Get out of bed and do something relaxing that might make you feel drowsy — like reading or playing a repetitive game like Sudoku. Keep the lights low and go back to bed after 30 minutes or so (or sooner if you start feeling sleepy).
- Avoid technology, like phones, computers, or TV. Brightly lit screens can mislead your brain into thinking it’s time to wake up. And anything that stimulates your brain — from a text conversation to a video game — also can kick your body into wake-up mode.
Getting up for a short while can help if you have trouble falling asleep sometimes or if you occasionally wake up and can’t go back to sleep. But you don’t want to have to do it every night. If you have trouble falling asleep, it’s best to train your body to wind down and relax with a pre-sleep routine each night. Doctors call this “good sleep hygiene.”
Good sleep hygiene includes activities that signal the body it’s time to sleep, like going to bed at the same time each night, shutting down technology, and keeping your room dark. It also includes avoiding caffeine or other stimulants for several hours before bedtime.
It can help to treat sleep like any other goal: build a plan that helps you focus on it and get the results you want!
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
Are you perplexed that you still feel exhausted when you wake up in the morning, even though you got a full eight hours of shuteye? Sleep apnea may be the culprit in your ongoing fatigue. This condition interferes with your sleep, but you likely won’t even realize it, so patients who have sleep apnea may not understand why they feel so tired. In addition to robbing you of your energy, sleep apnea can have significant consequences for your health. If you’re experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, you should consult with a provider to learn about treatments that can give your energy levels and your health a boost.
Why do I still feel tired every morning even though I’ve slept eight hours?
If you are routinely waking up and still feeling like you didn’t get enough sleep, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Patients who have this condition stop breathing briefly numerous times throughout the night, anywhere from five to dozens of times each hour. Every time that one of these apneic episodes happens, your brain will wake you slightly to restore a normal breathing pattern. Most people don’t even realize this is happening, but it prevents you from getting sufficient sleep. This causes you to still feel tired when you wake up, regardless of how many hours (you think) you’ve slept.
How does a lack of sleep affect my body?
When you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll experience a number of negative effects on multiple body systems. You’ll feel foggy, which may affect your ability to focus or make you irritable or depressed. Depending on the degree of your fatigue, you may even have trouble safely performing basic activities, such as driving a car.
It’s also worth noting that sleep apnea deprives your body of sufficient oxygen in addition to breaking up your sleep, and that causes inflammation throughout the body. Although the precise relationship remains unclear, this may be one of the factors underlying the apparent connection between sleep apnea and serious health issues like stroke, heart disease and even an increased risk of sudden death.
What can I do to get a better night’s rest?
Fortunately, you don’t have to resign yourself to a life of fatigue. Effective sleep apnea treatment is within reach, and we can help you access the best option for you. An increasing number of patients are turning to oral appliance therapy for a treatment that is easy to incorporate into their lives. With this approach, you wear a plastic device similar to a mouthguard that is customized to hold your jaw or tongue in a position that keeps the soft tissues away from the airway opening that they might otherwise block. Oral appliances are much more comfortable than a CPAP mask, which is another common treatment for sleep apnea.
The Brain: What Everyone Needs To Know®
The What Everyone Needs to Know (WENTK) series offers a balanced and authoritative primer on complex current event issues and countries. Written by leading authorities in their given fields, in a concise question-and-answer format, the books provide inquiring minds with the essential knowledge needed to engage with the issues that matter today. Catch up with the authors of the What Everyone Needs to Know series on the OUPblog every month.
- By Gary L. Wenk
- June 17 th 2017
The alarm rings, you awaken, and you are still drowsy: why? Being sleepy in the morning does not make any sense; after all, you have just been asleep for the past eight hours. Shouldn’t you wake up refreshed, aroused, and attentive? No, and there are a series of ways to explain why.
The neurobiological answer:
During the previous few hours before waking in the morning, you have spent most of your time in REM sleep, dreaming. Your brain was very active during dreaming and quickly consumed large quantities of the energy molecule ATP. The “A” in ATP stands for adenosine. The production and release of adenosine in your brain is linked to metabolic activity while you are sleeping. There is a direct correlation between increasing levels of adenosine in your brain and increasing levels of drowsiness. Why? Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that inhibits, i.e. turns off, the activity of neurons responsible for making you aroused and attentive. You wake up drowsy because of the adenosine debris that collected within your brain while you were dreaming.
Who did you sleep with last night?
Couples sleeping in pairs were investigated for sleep quality, that is, for the correct balance of non-REM and REM, as well as their own subjective view of how they slept. For women, sharing a bed with a man had a negative effect on sleep quality. However, having sex prior to sleeping mitigated the women’s negative subjective report, without changing the objective results, that is, her balance of non-REM and REM was still abnormal. In contrast, the sleep efficiency of the men was not reduced by the presence of a female partner, regardless of whether they had sexual contact. In contrast to the women, the men’s subjective assessments of sleep quality were lower when sleeping alone. Thus, men benefit by sleeping with women; women do not benefit from sleeping with men, unless sexual contact precedes sleep—and then their sleep still suffers for doing so.
Did you go to bed late last night?
People who prefer to stay out late (evening types), get up at a later time, and perform best, both mentally and physically, in the late afternoon or evening. Evening-type individuals were significantly more likely to suffer from poor sleep quality, daytime dysfunction, and sleep-related anxiety as compared with morning-type individuals. Even more disconcerting is that late bedtime is associated with decreased hippocampal volume in young healthy subjects. Shrinkage of the hippocampus has been associated with impaired learning and memory abilities.
Did you go to bed hungry last night?
What you eat before bedtime also might improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep. A recent study suggests that eating something sweet might help induce drowsiness. Elevated blood sugar levels have been shown to increase the activity of neurons that promote sleep. These neurons live in a region of the brain that lacks a blood–brain barrier; thus, when they sense the presence of sugar in the blood they make you feel drowsy. This might explain why we feel like taking a nap after eating a large meal. This is just one more bit of evidence demonstrating your brain’s significant requirement for sugar in order to maintain normal function.
Getting a good night’s sleep is not always easy for most people. With aging, normal sleep rhythms become increasingly disrupted leading to daytime sleepiness.
What if you do not get enough sleep?
Although scientists have not discovered why we sleep, they have discovered that we need between six and eight hours every night. Not getting enough sleep makes us more likely to pick fights and focus on negative memories and feelings. The emotional volatility is possibly due to the impaired ability of the frontal lobes to maintain control over our emotional limbic system. We also become less able to follow conversations and more likely to lose focus during those conversations. Sleep deprivation impairs memory storage and also makes it more likely that we will “remember” events that did not actually occur. Extreme sleep deprivation also may lead to impaired decision-making and possibly to visual hallucinations. Not getting enough sleep on a consistent basis places you at risk of developing autoimmune disorders, cancer, metabolic syndrome, and depression. Why? Some recent studies have reported that sleep is important for purging the brain of abnormal, and possibly toxic, proteins that can accumulate and increase the probability of developing dementia in old age. Whatever you are doing right now, stop and go take a nap. Preferably alone.
Featured image credit: “Alarm Clock” by Congerdesign. CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay.
Gary L. Wenk, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience & Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics at the Ohio State University and Medical Center, a Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for distinguished contributions in the field of neuropharmacology, neurodegenerative diseases and neuroinflammatory processes and the author of The Brain: What Everyone Needs to Know®.
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It’s a cruel quirk of nature: No matter how many times you hit snooze, you’re still rubbing your eyes and yawning an hour after your alarm goes off. If sleeping is meant to be restful, why do we feel so damn tired when we wake up?
The answer was revealed in this short excerpt from an in-depth interview with sleep scientist Daniel Gartenberg. Read the full interview—including why 8.5 hours of sleep is the new eight hours, the genes that dictate if you’re a morning person or a night owl, and how sleep deprivation can be a tool to fight depression—here.
Quartz: Even if you’ve got enough sleep, why do you still feel tired when you wake up?
Gartenberg: When you wake up, you have something called “sleep inertia.” It can last for as long as two hours. That’s why you get that groggy feeling, and if you’re sleep deprived, it’s going to be worse, too. Studies also show that if you wake up while in deep sleep, you’re going to have worse sleep inertia.
What’s the science behind sleep inertia?
The causal mechanism is a lack of cerebral blood flow when you wake up. It takes a while for the brain to kick back into gear after you are asleep. This “kicking back into gear” is represented by a gradual increase in your cerebral blood flow to normal levels. It starts with the more primitive/ancient parts of the brain, like the brainstem and thalmus, and then spreads to anterior cortical regions after 15 minutes or so. The ability to perform basic cognitive tasks is impacted by cerebral blood flow in these regions, as has been shown in transcrannial doppler somnography studies. This paper gets into the deep science.
Shifts in the blood flow of the prefrontal cortex also suggest that there is a reestablishment of our consciousness going on as well, where we are basically going from a state of forgetting who/what/when we are to our pre-frontal cortex reestablishing our personality and sense of being. I’m sure most people can relate to that feeling of waking up and not really knowing who you are.
What can make sleep inertia worse?
When you wake up in deep sleep, you often feel more tired: It’s like when you wake up to catch that flight before dawn and you feel like you have no idea where you are. If you wake up at the wrong time of a nap, you also feel that way, because the first sleep cycle you go through is very rich in deep sleep, and you’re probably waking up in the middle of that.
If you sleep a healthy amount—ideally 8.5 hours—you’re getting almost no deep sleep by the end of your sleep, as the amount of deep sleep reduces over the course of the night. That means you’re less likely to wake up in deep sleep if you’re well rested, and therefore less likely to feel groggy.
What’s the best way to wake up to avoid sleep inertia?
Instead of trying to time when you wake up so you’re not in deep sleep, it’s usually better to just sleep more. The right way to wake up is very gradually. Both iPhones and my sleep app have this function: You set the time for when you want to wake up, but when the alarm goes off, it starts almost imperceptibly and then ramps up over a 10-minute period. If you didn’t have a good night’s sleep, it’ll take longer for you to wake up: When I’m really sleep deprived, I’ll wake up by minute eight, whereas if I’m not, I’ll wake up right when the thing goes off. We have to shake the snooze thing.
What do you have against snooze buttons?
So here’s the thing: Generally, it’s bad. I understand you have to do it. But what snooze means is that you’re sleep depriving yourself—you shouldn’t have to snooze. You should wake up when you should wake up.
This article is part of Quartz Ideas, our home for bold arguments and big thinkers.
Most of us have three bad habits which prevent us from feeling alert every day. A doctor reveals why we’re tired in the mornings and explains how to avoid this constant fatigue.
There are many factors that affect our level of alertness during the day, but three of them are related to our waking routine – and you probably regularly do at least two of them without realizing how they damage your body.
Dr. Karan Raj from London reveals in a TikTok video the morning habits that take away the bursts of energy we need to get through each day, and claims that changing our routines will do wonders for us.
1 – Stop the nudnik
Dr. Raj, a surgeon and clinical lecturer at Imperial College London and the University of Sunderland in England, explains in a video that has almost 2 million views on TikTok that the common habit of pressing the snooze on our alarm clock is bad.
He states that ignoring this warning will put our body back into a sleep cycle. Entering the sleep cycle causes our body to release hormones that help us sleep, which only makes us more tired if we delay getting up. Raj said that we wake up when our body is flooded with chemicals that can cause fatigue up to four hours after waking up. So, try to give up the snooze and get up with the first ring of your alarm clock.
1 – Wait a bit before grabbing your phone
What’s the first thing you do every morning? Of course, check your phone: messages, news, Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok.
All of these ruin our morning, Dr. Karan said.
In the video he states that when we wake up our brain gradually moves from what is called a “delta theta to alpha in brain wave activity.”
This means that your brain becomes more alert in gradual stages, but if you interfere with this cycle by scrolling through your phone – the brain will skip straight to the alpha stage and be awake too quickly.
Raj argued that if our brains skip stages we’ll feel anxious, on edge throughout the day.
Next to the video he wrote: “I used to check my phone first thing every morning for years and wondered why I felt so bad. Just try it and you’ll be surprised at how different you feel.”
In response, one viewer asked, “So how long do I need to wait before checking my phone?” He replied, “At least an hour.”
That’s really rough, right?
3 – Skip your morning coffee
Okay, we know you’re probably grinning to yourself across the screen: “Stop drinking my morning coffee? In your dreams.”
But wait a minute – there’s a middle ground.
R. Raj claimed in his video that our body naturally produces the stress hormone cortisol every morning so we can be alert and that our blood sugar levels rise.
Our bodies naturally know how to wake us and the habit of drinking coffee when getting up is wrong because it won’t produce the desired effect.
He recommends waiting until our natural cortisol levels drop later in the day to enjoy a first coffee. When does this happen? In the early afternoon, but if it’s too difficult for you – even two hours after waking up will do the trick.
If you don’t think that you can break these habits, you’re not alone.
The video has received many responses from people who admit it will be really hard to break these daily rituals.
It’s not completely normal to wake up tired and exhausted. Trust us, it’s a sign that something is wrong with your health.
Energise yourself by tweaking your daily habits. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
There are days when you don’t wake up energised, even after managing a 7-to-8 hour sleep schedule. It may be that you’re heavy-headed or you feel too tired to even get out of your bed. But have you ever wondered the reason behind it? Why do you feel exhausted right in the morning? Is it due to stress, diet, or is there something else that’s hampering your health?
All these questions need an answer, because an exhausted morning means an unproductive day – which is neither good for you personally or professionally. If you can’t figure out the reason, we are here to help you out and throw some light on the most basic causes of this tiredness.
Here are some causes:
1. Blue light exposure
It is artificial lighting that tends to emit blue light, which then suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your body’s circadian rhythm. This makes it harder for you to get sound sleep at night, leaving one fatigued the next morning.
Staying glued to your smartphone is a kind of addiction called Nomophobia. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.
Bottom line – Reduce your screen time, especially, if you are going to bed.
2. Wrong mattress
Are you using a good mattress? Well, if you are not, you are compromising on your sleep and that may make you tired the next morning. A wrong mattress can lead to stiffness and soreness of the body parts.
3. Thyroid disease
“Do you have any thyroid problems? If yes, will be shocked to know that it can leave you tired in the morning after waking up. One may be moody, may put on weight or muscle, and suffer from joint pain. The thyroid tends to produce too little or too much thyroid hormone; it throws off your body’s metabolism, which can impact sleep causing fatigue in the morning when you wake up,” suggests Dr Vikrant Shah, consulting physician and an infection disease specialist at Zen Multispeciality Hospital, Mumbai.
Prevent thyroid disorders. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
People with depression may find it difficult to hit the sack, and sleep during the night. They can also have excessive daytime sleepiness. The ones who are depressed lose all the interest in all the daily activities including sleeping.
Having insufficient levels of iron in your blood can make you feel tired when you sleep and wake up the next morning.
“You must ensure that you take an iron rich diet and if possible you can also take iron supplements but only after consulting your doctor. You can eat spinach, raisins, apricot, peas, beans, seafood, poultry, etc.” recommends Dr Shah.
6. Sedentary lifestyle
Do you lead a sedentary lifestyle? Then, you are doing it all wrong! Sitting for a long time and not moving around can lead to lack of sleep and will make you feel tired after waking up.
Dehydration tends to reduce the presence of amino acids in the body, and guess what? They produce melatonin. Without enough melatonin, one will fail to get a good night’s sleep and may feel fatigued during the daytime.
Hydrate yourself properly and sleep like a baby. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Are you a habitual drinker? If you answered in the affirmative, you should cut down on this habit of yours. This is because alcohol can disrupt sleep. It can make one spend more time in deep sleep and less time than usual in the important Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, which is an important restorative stage our bodies require. Thus, drinking adds to the sluggishness.
“Not sleeping for a minimum of eight hours causes tiredness in the morning once you wake up. Sleep deprivation can leave your brain exhausted, and it fails to carry out its duties properly. You may also find it hard to concentrate or learn new things,” concluded Dr Shah.
So ladies, just listen up to the doc’s recommendations and get up fresh and happy.
Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.
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If you’ve had a bad night’s sleep, facing the day can seem like a challenge. Consultant Psychiatrist and Sleep Specialist Dr Olga Runcie, from Albyn Hospital, shares her nine top tips on getting through the day.
1. Don’t panic
After the occasional night of poor, broken or even non-existent sleep, you may well feel tired and irritable. But it won’t harm your health in the long term. 1
So, don’t panic, and stay optimistic. Everyone has a bad night’s sleep now and then. Treat it as ‘just a bad night’ and don’t dwell on it. Humans have good resilience to occasional sleep loss and your body will naturally compensate for it.
2. Keep your body hydrated
If you wake up feeling tired in the morning, drink lots of water. We feel even more tired when our body is dehydrated.2 Start your day with a large glass of lukewarm water and carry on drinking regularly throughout the day.
3. Drink coffee – but not too much
Caffeine, in moderation, can help to increase your alertness and give you an energy boost. A cup or two of tea or coffee in the morning can help you get through the day.
However, it’s important not to overuse caffeine. Two cups of coffee will give you about as much alertness as you’re going to get from it. Consuming more than this won’t make you more alert, but it could make you feel anxious or jittery.
4. Avoid driving
If you have not slept well or did not sleep during the night, make sure that you think carefully about your ability to drive safely. Driving when you feel sleepy is dangerous and can lead to accidents. 1
For your own safety and safety of the others stay off the road as much as possible if you haven’t slept. Use public transport, taxis or ask a friend for a lift.
Be particularly careful when driving in the early afternoon.
Most people naturally experience a dip in concentration and attention at around 1-2PM.3 If you’re sleep deprived, this dip will be more significant.
5. Don’t rely on sugar
When you are sleep deprived, you may feel more hungry than usual and might be tempted to reach for high calorie snacks made from simple carbohydrates. However, while the sugar in these snacks will give you a quick energy boost, it won’t last long.
The brief energy high after we eat sugar and other simple carbohydrates – often known as a ‘sugar rush’ – can result in a subsequent ‘crash’ due to a rapid decline in blood sugar levels. You could end up feeling even more tired.3
It’s best to avoid large meals, sugary foods and energy drinks completely. Stick to a balanced and healthy diet and put extra emphasis on protein-rich foods such as nuts and lean meats.
6. Simplify your day
After a bad night’s sleep, your energy levels will be compromised and you will not be at your best. So, take it easy the next day. Change things up and lighten your workload as much as possible. If you had five or six tasks for the day, consider cutting them down to two or three.
If you do fewer things, you should be able to focus on doing them to a high standard and you should hopefully find things less stressful.
Another important piece of advice is, do not make any big or significant decisions until you are well rested.
7. Go outside for a walk
By going outside for a walk, even a short one, you will expose your body to both natural light and physical activity. If you’re at work, make sure your workspace is well lit and consider taking a walk at lunchtime.
Exposure to as much bright natural light as possible, especially right after waking up, will provide your body with natural cues to promote alertness and wakefulness. Light helps the body to block production of the sleep hormone melatonin. You’ll get the benefits of natural light even on a grey, cloudy day.
Movement and physical activity also stimulate alertness. Even if you’re feeling exhausted after poor or little sleep, it’s important to keep active. 4
Keep your activity light or moderate and avoid vigorous exercise when you’re exhausted. You are much more likely to be injured during exercise if you are sleepy or drowsy. 1
8. Take a power nap
It might help you keep focused if you take more breaks than normal during the day. Of course, you won’t always be able to take a nap, but if you have the time and the ability and decide to take one, make sure that nap is brief.
Limit your nap to 20-30 minutes. Napping longer than that can actually make you drowsier than you already are. Take your nap in the middle of the day, between 12-2PM, to avoid a negative impact on your sleep cycle.
Please note, however, if you suffer from insomnia it is better to avoid taking a daytime nap completely. 4
9. Keep to your regular sleep schedule
You might be tempted to go to bed earlier and to sleep for longer than normal, but it’s generally best to stick to your usual schedule. 4 Going to bed too early and sleeping in can shift your normal sleep pattern.
No matter how tired you feel, there is no reason to sleep all day. Try to go to bed no more than an hour before your normal bedtime and get up no more than an hour later. You’ll get the most recover you can from 10 hours of sleep and a longer sleep duration is not going to be more productive.
If you’re regularly having a bad night’s sleep…
A bad night here and there is one thing, but when broken or troubled sleep becomes a regular occurrence, it can be a real problem.
After several sleepless nights, the negative physical and mental effects of sleep loss become more pronounced and more serious.1 If you feel your sleep difficulties are becoming chronic, causing you distress and affecting your wellbeing, consult a specialist. They can help you determine the best course of action to get you back to regular sleep patterns.
Ever wake up from a nap feeling groggy and grumpy? In honor of National Napping Day, here’s how you can make the most out of a nap.
Monday, March 14 is National Napping Day, and you may want to celebrate with a refreshing midday snooze. However, it often seems there are only two ways to wake up from a nap: intensely energized and ready to take on the world or so groggy you wonder if you’re in the same decade. And many people, despite facing a serious afternoon slump, fight the urge to nap because they know it’ll make them feel worse.
Fortunately, you can have your nap and still take on the rest of your day like a champ: In honor of Sleep Awareness Week and National Nap Day, learn why you feel worse after a nap, how to beat that awful post-nap grogginess and when you should really skip the nap.
Why do I feel worse after taking a nap?
That familiar groggy feeling is called “sleep inertia,” and it means that your brain wants to keep sleeping and complete a full sleep cycle. Sleep inertia results from waking abruptly out of deep sleep or slow wave sleep, which is the kind of sleep you start to fall into approximately 30 minutes into snoozing.
This is why experts recommend keeping naps to just 10 to 20 minutes, among other nap best practices. It’s all about the sleep stages, which go as follows:
- Non-REM (NREM) Stage ($80 at Amazon) 1
- NREM Stage 2
- NREM Stage 3 (deep sleep)
- REM Sleep
NREM Stage 1 lasts five to 10 minutes; NREM Stage 2 lasts 10 to 20 minutes; and then NREM Stage 3 sets in. During NREM Stage 3 sleep, your muscles relax more, your blood pressure and breathing rate decrease, and slow brain waves begin to emerge.
Pulling yourself out of this very deep sleep results in the characteristic grogginess and impaired performance of sleep inertia, which can last anywhere from mere minutes to hours.
Why do naps make me feel cranky?
Crankiness, or any form of a bad mood after a nap, isn’t so much an aftereffect of its own, but another side effect of sleep inertia. No one enjoys being snatched out of a good snooze, and the loud beeps from an alarm interrupting deep sleep is enough to ruin anyone’s mood.
How to not feel groggy or grumpy after a nap
If you try to avoid naps at all costs because you seem to always wake up confused or angry at the whole world, you should know that you can avoid those unpleasant aftereffects. Here are four tips for waking up from all naps feeling refreshed, not drained:
1. Time your nap correctly
A good nap is all about timing. Dr. Dawn Dore-Stites, an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Sleep Disorder Center at Michigan Medicine and Reverie sleep advisory board member, told CNET that the longer the nap, the more problems it typically creates.
“The longer you sleep, the higher the chance you get into deeper stages of sleep,” Dore-Stites says. “Waking from those stages can lead to the grogginess and irritability. Limiting naps to 20 minutes is key. You will often wake up feeling more refreshed.”
The exception is if you have enough time to nap for an entire sleep cycle, which lasts approximately 90 to 120 minutes. However, unless you’re super in-tune with your sleep cycle and can pinpoint the exact time you need to wake up, you’re better waking up before you ever reach deep sleep.
Additionally, you should try to nap as early in the afternoon as possible. Napping close to your bedtime can confuse your body and make you feel groggy for the remainder of the evening, especially if daylight is already waning when you wake up from your nap.
2. Get out of bed right when you wake up
It can be super tempting to hit snooze or spend a few minutes scrolling on your cell phone, but fight the urge. Remaining in bed in that sort of half-asleep, super drowsy state can make post-nap grogginess more intense or extend for a longer period of time.
And when you do get out of bed, expose yourself to natural daylight by opening curtains or blinds to make sure your body knows it isn’t bedtime and there are still things to be done.
The Lenovo Smart Clock helps Google Assistant ease you out of sleep
3. Do something energizing after your nap
If natural daylight isn’t enough to spark your system, try one of these tactics for a stronger wake-up call:
- Wash your face or splash it with cold water
- Drink a glass of water
- Eat a healthy snack or meal
- Do some light stretching
- Go for a short walk
- Listen to music
Research shows that washing your face and getting some sunlight can combat post-nap grogginess, as can listening to music. Light exercise, such as stretching and walking, as well as intense workouts can boost energy and mood, which can fend off afternoon slumps.
4. Take a coffee nap
Yep, that’s a thing. A “coffee nap” refers to guzzling some caffeine right before your nap. If everything works out, you’ll wake up feeling extra refreshed and energized because the effects of caffeine peak around 30-60 minutes after consumption, which is shortly after you should wake up from a nap.
If you drink coffee too long before you plan to nap, however, you risk losing your opportunity for a nap if the caffeine sets in and keeps you awake. So like tip number one, coffee naps come down to the timing.
When to nap and when to skip it
Dore-Stites says that napping isn’t always the answer, even if you feel like you can’t keep your eyes open in the afternoon.
If you are actually sleep-deprived at night, a short nap may help you sustain your energy through the day, Dore-Stites says. But on the other hand, taking naps when you aren’t sleep-deprived can affect your ability to fall asleep, leading to shorter sleep duration at night.
“Overall, it is better to have one good long period of sleep at night than sleeping in ‘pockets’ through the day and night,” Dore-Stites told CNET. “Such sleep patterns often lead to more feelings of fatigue and low energy.”
If you have insomnia or you struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep most nights, you may want to avoid naps for the most part. If you generally sleep well at night, Dore-Stites says it’s best to only nap when you really need it, or you might end up in a vicious cycle of unusual sleep cycles and sleep inertia, and thus the grogginess you’re trying to avoid.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
Tired of tossing and turning at night? These simple tips will help you sleep better and be more energetic and productive during the day.
How can I get a better night’s sleep?
Sleeping well directly affects your mental and physical health. Fall short and it can take a serious toll on your daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance, and even your weight. Yet many of us regularly toss and turn at night, struggling to get the sleep we need.
Getting a good night’s sleep may seem like an impossible goal when you’re wide awake at 3 a.m., but you have much more control over the quality of your sleep than you probably realize. Just as the way you feel during your waking hours often hinges on how well you sleep at night, so the cure for sleep difficulties can often be found in your daily routine.
Unhealthy daytime habits and lifestyle choices can leave you tossing and turning at night and adversely affect your mood, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and weight. But by experimenting with the following tips, you can enjoy better sleep at night, boost your health, and improve how you think and feel during the day.
Tip 1: Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle
Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, is one of the most important strategies for sleeping better. If you keep a regular sleep-wake schedule, you’ll feel much more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times, even if you only alter your sleep schedule by an hour or two.
Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. This helps set your body’s internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep. Choose a bed time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock, you may need an earlier bedtime.
Avoid sleeping in—even on weekends. The more your weekend/weekday sleep schedules differ, the worse the jetlag-like symptoms you’ll experience. If you need to make up for a late night, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping in. This allows you to pay off your sleep debt without disturbing your natural sleep-wake rhythm.
Be smart about napping. While napping is a good way to make up for lost sleep, if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, napping can make things worse. Limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon.
Start the day with a healthy breakfast. Among lots of other health benefits, eating a balanced breakfast can help sync up your biological clock by letting your body know that it’s time to wake up and get going. Skipping breakfast on the other hand, can delay your blood sugar rhythms, lower your energy, and increase your stress, factors that may disrupt sleep.
Fight after-dinner drowsiness. If you get sleepy way before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating, such as washing the dishes, calling a friend, or getting clothes ready for the next day. If you give in to the drowsiness, you may wake up later in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.
Affordable Online Therapy for Sleep Problems
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Y ou’ve craved sleep all day. You fell asleep watching Netflix. But the second you get into bed you’re wide awake.
Lying in bed unable to fall asleep is often called conditioned or learned arousal, says sleep-medicine specialist Philip Gehrman, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. It’s one of the most common sleep problems, and experts think it happens because something in your sleep environment has told your brain that getting in bed should “arouse” you or wake you up, instead of put you to sleep.
“If someone is a good sleeper, then each night they probably get in bed and fall asleep. So when they get into bed it triggers this auto response of sleepiness,” Gehrman says. “But if you spend night after night tossing and turning not being able to fall asleep, then your body associates that with your bed instead.”
There are plenty of obvious things that can trigger tossing and turning, and thinking about work right before you try to wind down is one. Using a laptop in bed, which creates the idea of the bed as a place for work or entertainment, is another.
But even those with normally good sleep habits can get thrown into this kind of sleep cycle after a stressful event—a job loss, say, or the death of a loved one, according to Dr. Ronald Chervin, director of the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center. Worrying disrupts your sleep, and that pattern can cause your brain to associate your bed with wakefulness in the same way it would if you were using a laptop.
It’s sometimes called “psychophysiological insomnia” and once it starts, the cycle of sleeplessness tends to perpetuate itself.
The most effective way to treat it, say sleep experts, is through cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I. This typically involves regular visits to a clinician and is aimed at changing your sleep schedule and habits. “A key part of what we teach people is to keep the bed for sleeping,” says Chervin. Of course, you can still have sex in bed, he adds, but you should try to move other activities elsewhere.
That means no screen time and no lying around if you can’t sleep. Even limiting reading is a good idea. “If you’re awake in bed for 20 minutes or longer, get up and go do something else,” Chervin says. Don’t get back into bed until you feel genuinely ready to sleep.
Re-training your brain to see your bed as a place for sleep can take some time, Chervin and Gehrman explain, but if you find and stick with a routine that makes you tired before getting into bed, you should be able to stop the cycle. Most people who use CBT-I attend between four to eight sessions, so give yourself a few weeks before expecting to see a change. If you don’t live near a sleep clinic, Chervin says he has seen some patients use apps like SHUTi or Sleepio to do an at-home version of the therapy. Whatever your method, experts say it’s also important to follow general sleep advice such as keeping your bedroom at a comfortable temperature, avoiding coffee and alcohol late in the evening and dimming the lights before bed.
For those who don’t think they have insomnia, Gehrman says feeling sleepy until you lie down might also be a sign you’re a night owl who has a naturally later body clock than other people. “Some people want to go to bed at 10, 11 o’clock, but their bodies are wired so that when want to be going to bed they get a second wind,” Gehrman says. “Then it’s tough for them to awake in the morning because their body thinks they should still be asleep.”
Fortunately, there are ways to shift your body’s clock earlier so that by the time you get in bed you can successfully fall asleep. An important step is avoiding bright lights in the hour before bed, says Gehrman. Light, especially the blue light given out by computers and phone screens, suppresses the production of melatonin, a chemical that helps your body sleep. The other main fix is to develop a consistent wakeup time so your body can get used to the rhythm you want. While this means you shouldn’t sleep in on the weekends, the steady pattern in the morning will be worth it when it helps you feel sleepy by the evening.
Fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and foods high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants help keep fatigue away and make you feel energetic throughout the day!
Do you wake up in the mornings not feeling well-rested or less energised? Are you someone who needs multiple cups of tea or coffee to get you through the morning? Have energy drinks made their way into your daily life? “Opting for processed foods with added sugar for energy will only make you feel worse. Natural whole foods can provide you with the boost you need to keep yourself feeling light and energised throughout the day,” says Avni Kaul, nutritionist, wellness coach and certified diabetic educator, founder, NutriActivania
Fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and foods high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants fill your body with nutrients that help counteract fatigue and sustain you for an entire day, says Kaul who further suggests consuming the following foods to keep energy levels high!
Almonds are a great snack option to keep your hunger pangs away. (Photo: Thinkstock Images)
Almonds are an excellent source of high-quality protein, fiber, and healthy monounsaturated fats. They’re filled with vitamin B which help your body convert food into energy. They are also high in magnesium which helps counter muscle fatigue. Add almonds into your morning granola or have a handful as a mid-morning snack.
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Bananas are your number one option when on the run. This potassium-rich fruit includes a good amount of fiber, which lowers down the release of sugar into the bloodstream, and provides a huge source of magnesium and vitamin, B. A ripe banana will give more readily available energy in the form of sugar, as compared to an unripe banana. Note that the bananas must be freckled and yellow rather than green — this is how you know the starch has converted into sugar that you can adequately digest and use for energy. It is always a good idea to include a banana in your breakfast.
Spinach is also rich in micronutrients like beta carotene, vitamin K, manganese, folate, iron, copper, calcium, potassium and vitamin C. (Photo: Pixabay)
Spinach is a good source of vitamin C, folate, and iron. Equal amounts of these vitamins and minerals are vital for energy production. Lower levels of iron, in particular, are a major reason for fatigue. Add some sautéed spinach to your morning eggs, and squeeze a dash of lemon juice to enhance iron absorption.
Apart from their sweet flavour, dates are easily digested by the body and supply an instant boost of energy. They’re a potent source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. Add chopped dates to your morning fruit plate, or throw a couple into your smoothie for some added sweetness.
If you are dehydrated even a bit, it can make you wake up not feeling at your best. It is essential to pack your diet with high water-containing foods (think of fruits and vegetables), and watermelon is one of the best sources. This wonder fruit is more than 90 per cent water, provides a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and contains the amino acid L-citrulline, which may help reduce muscle soreness. Begin your day with a bowl full of watermelon, which is widely available in summers, and fill yourself with energy!
📣 The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.
Whether you are sleep deprived or just bored, sometimes caffeine just isn’t the way to go.
Some days, I am just downright sleepy. Maybe it’s the late night writing, constant travel, or my busy social schedule in New York. But every so often, even with a good night’s sleep, I get to the middle of my day and I just feel ready for a nap. I find myself dozing off at the computer mid- Z z z. oh, sorry.
I suppose I could have coffee or an energy drink, but the caffeine makes me moody and just postpones my crash until later. Then I really feel like a snoozer. Well, whether or not you believe caffeine is healthy, there’s no need to ride the stimulant roller coaster. Here are a dozen surefire, natural ways I have found to wake up and feel revitalized.
1. Go Outside
All those florescent lights, computer screens, and conditioned air can take their toll. Go and spend 15 minutes walking around outside. Rain or shine, cold or hot, the fresh air and change of scenery will help you break the monotony of a sterile environment.
2. Get Physical
People might think you strange to start exercising in the middle of the office, but elevating that heartbeat will pump some oxygen through your body and right to your brain. Try jumping jacks, skipping rope or a little yoga. You can even go run up and down the office stairs. Just go until you break a little sweat.
3. Be a Brainiac
If you can’t stimulate your body, stimulate your brain. Try a crossword or play Sudoku. Better yet, grab a co-worker for a quick bout of Battleship so you get those competitive juices flowing.
4. Just Chill
Give yourself a brisk awakening. Try drinking super-cold ice water; add lemon. The more you drink the better. Splash a little on your face. You can also put ice against your wrists and temples, or suck on an ice cube.
5. Chow Down
A little mastication can actually wake you up, so have a snack. Avoid a heavy, carb-filled, sugary snack. Instead, choose an aromatic protein and a fruit. Try spicy beef jerky and some cucumbers with chili powder, or watermelon with a little cayenne pepper.
6. Pump Some Adrenaline
Nothing like a good fright to keep you alert and attentive. Watch some horror or action movie trailers to give you a nerve-shattering boost.
7. Move That Body
Perhaps the position in which you are sitting is a bit too relaxed. Reposition your chair. You can change it, sit in it backwards, cross your legs in the seat, or just remove it and stand up while you work.
8. Oil It Up
Keep a lotion or essential oil on your desk. Make sure it has a strong, bright scent like citrus, peppermint, or jasmine. Rub it on your hands and temples. If it’s real strong, put a little on your upper lip to awaken your senses and keep it from disturbing your neighbors. Stay away from lavender, though; it’s known to make you sleepy.
9. Dance! Dance! Dance!
Put on your headphones, punch up your favorite dance tunes and dance hard for five to 10 minutes. Sure some people may laugh at you, but the embarrassment will also help you wake up.
10. Make ’em Laugh!
Grab a co-worker and trade jokes for five minutes. The laughter releases endorphins and will get your body moving. If you don’t know any jokes, watch some funny videos to get things going.
11. Go Online Shopping
The rush of buying something new is always good for a perk up. Make an early birthday or Xmas list, or better yet, buy someone you like a gift. Thinking about doing something nice for someone else is sure to get your blood flowing.
12. Call Your Mom
It sounds strange, but a conversation with your mother is bound to wake you up. Possibly it’s the deep emotional connection to the woman who woke you for years. Regardless of your current relationship, either the stress or the charm of calling her will get you going. Besides, she probably thinks you don’t call her enough anyway, so it couldn’t hurt.
If these tips aren’t doing the job, perhaps it’s not sleep you lack but just more energy for your day. In that case, here are 10 ways to supercharge your energy at work.
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If you’re like most parents, you struggle to get your teenager up in the morning. Bleary-eyed and grumbling, they can’t seem to get out of bed before 10am. Obviously, this creates problems. You become frustrated they’re asleep 10 minutes after the alarm goes off. They’re unwilling to leave the comfort of their bed, so you – because you have to choose your battles – decide to leave them alone.
But that doesn’t help either one of you.
They barely make it to school on time, or they’re late almost every day.
And you have to deal with this annoying power struggle during your frazzled, hectic morning rush…every single day.
First, we’ll reassure you that this is a common issue with teens.
Research shows that most teenagers do not get enough sleep at night, which means most of them are likely to have a hard time getting up in the morning.
Here are a few tips that can help you resolve the issue.
Five Ways to Get That Tired Teen Out Of Bed
- Food, glorious food. Tempt them with breakfast. Yes, this means you’ll have to get up a little earlier or set aside some more time to cook. But the power of breakfast might work wonders, especially if your teen is a foodie. Whether it’s their favorite omelet (can anything beat the aroma of frying onions?), a protein-filled green shake, a sweet fruit smoothie, or even just a bagel and cream cheese, the allure of a nice breakfast might help your teen shake off those z’s and make it easier to get out of bed. As soon as the food is ready, tell them to come and get it while it’s hot. If that doesn’t work, bring the food close so they can smell it. Of course, a hot daily breakfast may not be a sustainable solution – but try it once or twice to see if it works. Then you can use it when you’re desperate, or when you have extra time in the morning anyway.
- Technology. Try a different alarm clock. That plain old “beep-beep-beep” may not cut it. If their iPhone alarm doesn’t work, it’s time to try something new. Though waking up is almost always going to be unpleasant for your sleep-deprived teen, certain “gentle-wake” alarm clocks help make the transition from slumber to wakefulness more peaceful. These alarms utilize mood lighting – a gradually brightening light – to stimulate sunrise so that their body feels alert even before their eyelids open. One app, called Sleep Cycle, utilizes advanced sleep intelligence to help teens wake up during their lightest sleep phase. And then there are alarms that are exactly the opposite: they work precisely because they’re so annoying. Some clocks will bounce away from the bed and won’t stop ringing until the user gets out of bed to find it and turn it off. Others come with expelling parts that won’t stop going off until all the pieces are gathered and put back into place inside the clock.
- Coffee. Caffeine for teens may not be a great idea for every day, but it’s reasonable to have a cup after staying up late studying for a test – especially if that’s the only way they’ll get out of bed and get to the test on time. Make your teen a light cup o’ joe to help in these situations. It takes about ten minutes for caffeine to take effect, so they won’t wake up instantaneously, but it will work. And forty-five minutes later – when the caffeine really kicks in – they’ll be at school, where the coffee will keep them from falling asleep over their paper, or worse, during the teacher’s lecture.
- Early to bed. Help them get to sleep earlier. Sleep-deprived teens have a harder time getting up in the morning. And sleep deprivation affects much more than wake-up times. It can lead to chronic negative mood, bad grades, and impair concentration, motivation, and focus. If your teen does not get 7-8 hours of sleep every night, there’s a chance they’re sleep deprived. The more sleep they lose, the more sleep-debt they have, and the worse they feel. Their sleep-debt can build up over days and months until they’re functioning at a fraction of their optimal self. So, to help them wake up earlier in the morning, help them go to sleep earlier. It’s basic math. One tip? Enforce a no-electronics rule after 11:00 pm. The blue light impacts melatonin production and makes it harder for teens to fall asleep.
- Let go. Ask your teen if they actually do want your help waking up in the morning. If they say no, then simply remove yourself from the situation. Tell yourself not to get involved, emotionally or physically. If your teen oversleeps and gets to class late? That’s their problem. Not yours. Misses an important test because they slept past the alarm? That’s a natural consequence. Unless your adolescent is internally motivated to change on their own, or asks your help in changing, then leave them alone. Eventually, they’ll realize those few minutes (or many minutes) of extra sleep aren’t worth the negative effects it has on their academics.
A Note About Mental Health Issues
Sometimes, having trouble waking up in the morning is a sign of depression, anxiety, or other mental health or behavioral issues, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If sleeping late is accompanied by other symptoms like negative mood, lethargy, irritability, pessimism, and hopelessness, or even more serious issues like self-harming behavior and/or suicidal ideation, get help immediately. Self-harm and/or suicidal ideation can indicate significant underlying issues. At the very least, they mean your teen needs an assessment from a mental health professional, and may need treatment at a residential treatment center (RTC), partial hospitalization program (PHP) or intensive outpatient program (IOP) for adolescents.
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Do you often wake up feeling more exhausted than ever, even when getting 10 hours of sleep each night? Do you have such strong sleep inertia that waking up seems like the hardest thing you do all day? If so, this might be a sign that you have sleep apnea. Waking up tired and feeling fatigued throughout the day is one of the top symptoms of sleep apnea next to snoring. Do you also snore at night? If the answer is yes, sleep apnea might be the culprit to your daytime exhaustion.
The Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center in Omaha is here to help you figure out if sleep apnea is the cause and how to treat it.
How Is Your Sleep Hygiene?
Before jumping to the conclusion that you have sleep apnea, it’s a good idea to review your sleep hygiene: the steps you take to help yourself fall asleep at night. Sleep medicine has developed several recommendations.
First, get yourself on a regular sleep schedule. This can help your body clock better regulate your sleep cycles, and make falling asleep easier at night. Make sure that each full night of sleep contains all the hours of sleep that you need. Resist the temptation to try to make up sleep on the weekend. Not only does this not work, but it can actually mess up your body clock.
People dispute the impact of blue light on your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep for a full night. However, most agree that it’s best not to do things like checking your phone or watching television from bed. This is not necessarily about the blue light exposure: it’s about conditioning your body to think of your bed as where you sleep, not where you stay up watching videos.
Stop eating at least an hour before bed, and don’t drink alcohol within four hours before bed. Yes, alcohol can help you fall asleep, but it has a stimulant effect after a few hours that can disrupt your sleep, making it harder to reach the restorative levels of sleep, such as REM sleep.
If you’re having sleep problems, it’s best to stop drinking caffeine around noon. Up to half of the caffeine you consume may still be in your system six hours later, and it can take up to ten hours for the body to process a caffeinated drink.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing at night. You stop breathing long enough for your blood oxygen to drop and alert your brain sensors of danger. As a result, you awaken enough to gasp or choke to catch your breath and alert your heart to start pumping faster.
Most people with sleep apnea aren’t aware they do this at night. It’s these moments of gasping for air throughout the night that doesn’t allow you to rest peacefully. It’s especially hard to reach the deeper levels of sleep, including REM sleep. They continue to interrupt your sleep, forcing you to awaken in the morning feeling tired. No matter how many hours you spend in bed, you are actually experiencing a lack of sleep.
How Do I Get Tested for Sleep Apnea?
If you suspect sleep apnea is the cause of your exhaustion, the first step is to get tested for sleep apnea. We will take your insurance guidelines into consideration at your first appointment and get this coordinated right from our office! The good news about a potential in-home study means you can do it from the comfort of your own bed. This data then gets sent off to a board-certified sleep physician who interprets the results. With your diagnosis, you can continue your visit with our Omaha sleep dentist for your treatment.
Sometimes, however, sleep studies at a lab are required. Usually, sleep studies are required if:
- A home sleep test doesn’t give clear results
- You have other sleep disorders
- You have serious medical conditions
If it turns out you might need a sleep study, we can refer you to a sleep lab.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
If you have sleep apnea and you would like to wake up feeling refreshed and rested, we can provide you with the right treatment for your needs. Although it’s effective, most patients tend to steer clear of CPAP to treat their sleep apnea. This is because the machine is loud and uncomfortable to use.
Instead, our patients prefer custom oral appliance therapy. We create custom-made oral appliances to fit your mouth precisely to give you a comfortable way to treat sleep apnea. The oral appliance pushes the jaw forward to open up your airways so you can breathe throughout the night.
If you’re interested in treating your sleep apnea so you can wake up feeling refreshed, give our office a call for a sleep apnea treatment appointment in Omaha today at (402) 493-4175.
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- You are going to bed at the wrong time, for YOU. Remember you have a specific chronotype (Early Bird, Night Owl etc), and if you wake up, at a time that is not consistent with your chronotype, it can make mornings miserable. For example if you are a Night owl (what I call a Wolf in my Chronotype Quiz) and you are waking up at 6 am, even if you went to bed at 10 (giving you 8 hours to sleep), you will still feel terrible, because your brain still wants to produce Melatonin, while you are trying to wake up!
Solution: If you want to learn about your chronotype, and when to go to bed, check out my free quiz at chronoquiz.com or get a free copy of my audiobook here.
- You stay in bed too long. Many of my patients tell me that they hit the snooze 4-10 times while trying to get up in the am. This is a terrible idea and here is why: the average snooze button is about 7-9 minutes long, this does not give your brain the time it needs to get back into a deeper more refreshing stage of sleep. So, during the last 30-60 min of shuteye you are actually getting broken, fragmented sleep.
Solution: Set your alarm for the last minute until you need to get up. Or if you MUST have a snooze, then limit it to one time.
- Your bedroom environment is disturbing your sleep. There are many different things that can be impacting your sleep in your bedroom. For one, your environment’s temperature is crucial to your sleep quality, so consider turning the A/C down or trying out a cooling mattress to help set the stage for restful sleep. To start, I look around the room based on the 5 senses and see what is being impacted. If you want to learn more about exactly how to create a perfect sleeping environment check out my blog. But if you want to do just one thing, I suggest limiting blue light exposure at night. Remember blue light will keep Melatonin from being produced, which is critical for good rest. Solution:Good Night Melatonin filtering blue light bulbs you can use the code Breus17 and get 10% off and these blue light blocking glasses, especially if you ever use a device at night (these should be on EVERY person’s bedside table)
- Your Bedpartner is keeping you from getting good sleep. Did you know that if you sleep next to a snoring bedpartner YOU lose an hour of sleep each night? Yes, it is true. But have you tried to get them to stop snoring and it failed? It’s likely because you’ve been trying incorrect solutions. Did you know that there are 3 different types of snorers?
Solution: Check out my new Snoring Quiz to learn more about the type of snorer you have in your bed, and what solutions can be personalized for them, trust me you will be thankful that you did and most are very simple and inexpensive to use. And, if your bed mate is keeping you up not from an abundance of snoring, but rather from tossing and turning too much, consider trying out a memory foam mattress that limits motion so you can rest uninterrupted.
- You ate or drank something that is reducing your sleep quality. The two biggest issues are alcohol and caffeine. While alcohol may make you feel sleepy, it actually keeps you out of the deep stages of sleep, which makes you feel awful in the morning, for more info check out my blog on the topic. Caffeine does that same thing, this stimulant keeps your brain out of the deeper stages of sleep, which also makes sleep unrefreshing.
Solution: Stop caffeine by 2pm and stop alcohol 3 hours before bed. Caffeine has a half-life of 6-8 hours so stopping by 2 means that by 10 at least ½ is out of your system. As for alcohol, it takes the average human 1 hour to metabolize 1 alcoholic beverage, so if you have 2-3 glasses with dinner, make sure it is out of your system before bed, by waiting 3 hours.
- You could have a sleep disorder. While the symptoms may be mild, there are many sleep disorders that can affect sleep quality. A typical one is sleep apnea, but others include Narcolepsy, Insomnia, and Restless Legs Syndrome. But when is it time to see a sleep doctor and do a sleep study?
Solution: Check out this blog post on When to do a Sleep Study.
All of these and even more reasons are addressed in my Sleep Coaching Course “Get Better Sleep” which you can do all on your own for less than the cost of a bottle of “sleep” medication.