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Why Do I Always Wake Up Tired? | Sleep Reset

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September 15, 2022

Why Do I Always Wake Up Tired?

Medically reviewed by: 

You did everything right. You slept eight full hours, made sure to avoid caffeine before bed, and even turned off your electronics an hour before hitting the hay. So why do you always wake up tired? 

The truth is that many people suffer from fatigue and morning drowsiness, often despite getting ample sleep. This is because the quantity of sleep is not the only factor determining how rested you feel in the morning. Sleep quality also plays a role, and most people don't give it enough attention. 

In this post, we'll discuss the importance of sleep quality and how to improve it.

Reasons for waking up tired

There are many potential explanations for why you always wake up tired. The most common one is sleep inertia, which refers to the grogginess and disorientation you feel when you first wake up. Sleep inertia is normal and usually goes away after a few minutes, but in some cases, it can last much longer. 

Other possible reasons for always waking up tired include:

  1. Poor sleep hygiene
  2. Physical discomfort during sleep
  3. Sleeping pill side effects
  4. Medical issues

Poor sleep hygiene 

Another common reason for sluggishness is poor sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene refers to your habits and behaviors before and during sleep, which can significantly affect the quality of your rest. 

There are many different aspects of sleep hygiene, but some of the most important ones include:

  • Stick to a schedule: Going to bed at the same time every night helps your body know when it's time to sleep.
  • Avoid long naps: Try to limit your naps to 30 minutes or less. Research shows that short naps don't interfere with your nighttime routine. 
  • Get some exercise:  Exercise can improve sleep quality, but it's important to do it earlier in the day. A late-night workout can make it harder to fall asleep because it can activate your heart rate. 
  • Skip the snooze button:  A few more minutes in bed almost always seems tempting, but when you hit the snooze button, you're more likely to feel groggy when you finally get up.

Physical discomfort during sleep

You could also be waking up still feeling exhausted due to physical discomfort during sleep. This can be caused by anything from an uncomfortable mattress to restless leg syndrome. If you frequently wake up feeling stiff or sore, it's possible that physical discomfort is to blame.  

Try sleeping in a different position or on a different surface to test this theory. If you normally sleep on your side, try sleeping on your back. If you always sleep with a very soft pillow, test out a firmer option. See how you feel after the change and determine if a long-term change is in order. 

Sleeping pill side effects

If you're taking medication for sleep, the medication may be causing you to wake up tired. Many sleep medications, including antihistamines and melatonin supplements, can cause sleep inertia when you first wake up. This effect is usually temporary.

Medical issues

Many medical conditions can cause fatigue and make it hard to wake up feeling rested. Some of the most common include: 

  • Sleep apnea: This is a condition that causes interrupted breathing during sleep. It's often accompanied by snoring. 
  • Thyroid problems: An underactive thyroid can trigger fatigue, weight gain, and other symptoms. 
  • Depression: Depression is a common psychological disorder that can cause extreme fatigue. 
  • Anemia: If you have anemia, your blood has a low iron level. You might experience fatigue, pale skin, and shortness of breath. 
  • Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome: Patients with this sleep disorder have trouble falling asleep at night and often feel tired during the day. 

How to get better sleep 

If you constantly wake up tired, there are a few things you can do to improve your sleep quality: 

  • Create a relaxing environment.

Your bedroom should be dark, quiet, and cool. If you can't control the noise level in your environment, try using a white noise machine or earplugs. Eye masks and blackout curtains are useful if you’re bothered by outside light. 

  • Limit screen time before bed.

The blue light from screens (phones, laptops, TVs) suppresses melatonin production and makes it harder to fall asleep. Avoid using screens for at least an hour before bedtime. You can fill your screen-free time with calming activities like reading or breathing exercises for an even better chance of getting a good night's rest. 

  • Avoid caffeine in the evening.

You might love caffeine, but the stimulant can stay in your system for six hours or more. That’s not a problem if you’re drinking a cup of morning joe, but it might be if you’re drinking caffeine later in the day. To avoid sleep disruptions, avoid caffeine after lunchtime. 

  • Avoid eating or drinking before bed.

Eating a big meal before bed can make it harder to fall asleep and can cause you to wake up feeling overly full and tired. Drinking liquids isn't much better. Too much fluid in your system before bed might lead to middle-of-the-night bathroom trips. 

  • Hide your clock

Seeing the time can add to anxiety and make falling asleep harder. Even the glowing light can be distracting. Put your clock in a drawer or turn it around so you can't see the time from your bed. 

  • Get a better pillow

If you often wake up with neck pain or headaches, it's possible that your pillow isn't providing enough support. Try using a pillow that is designed to keep your neck in alignment. You may need to try a few different shapes and styles to find the right fit. 

You can also try using a pillow to alleviate back pain. For example, putting a pillow between your knees while sleeping on your side can significantly affect your comfort level. 

  • Maintain a sleep journal 

Keep a sleep journal if you're unsure what's causing your fatigue. For two weeks, write down everything you eat and drink, when you exercise, and how you feel when you wake up. This will help you identify any patterns that may be disrupting your sleep. 

Find better ways to sleep

These tips can help if you're always tired, no matter how much sleep you may get. However, they might not be enough. It can be extremely challenging to pinpoint the exact cause of your sleep issues.  

That’s where Sleep Reset comes in. We offer an online sleep quiz to help you identify what’s happening. Our program is based on the latest research and is tailored to meet your individual sleep needs.

Take the sleep quiz to see how Sleep Reset can help you wake up rested.