9 Reasons You May Be Waking Up Tired And With No Energy, And What To Do
Waking up tired and with no energy is often related to sleep inertia, a phenomenon with multiple possible explanations rooted in interrupting the sleep cycle. It can also be explained by sleeping difficulties, whether that’s a result of poor sleeping habits, daytime routines, or sleep disorders.
Sleep inertia is a phenomenon that leads to fatigue upon waking, even after 8 hours of sleep.
Poor sleep resulting from mental health disorders, sleep disorders, or poor habits can also impact morning energy.
To combat morning grogginess, try to be active during the day and stick to a nightly routine.
Did you know?
Through extensive testing, NASA found that the ideal nap time is 10-20 minutes. This leads to a restful bout of sleep while avoiding sleep inertia.
As much as one-third of the population may be more suited to a later bedtime and wake up. But even the morning birds can sometimes have a tough time in the morning. Here are nine reasons you may be waking up tired and with no energy.
1. Sleep Inertia
The most likely reason you feel tired when you wake up has to do with sleep inertia. It’s that feeling of grogginess and irritability that we tend to feel when coming out of rest, especially long naps.
The mystery of sleep inertia has yet to be unraveled, but there are some popular theories.
Slow Wave Sleep Theory
The first theory has to do with slow wave sleep, or deep sleep. This stage of the sleep cycle comes at the midpoint, and its defining trait is delta waves in the brain.
These electrical pulses are larger than the short waves formed during REM sleep, the natural end of the sleep cycle. They may also be jarring to wake up from. That could explain why you feel exhausted after waking from a nap or when the alarm clock pulls you out of sleep in the morning
Leftover Adenosine Theory
The second theory has to do with adenosine. Over the course of the day, this neurotransmitter builds up alongside your circadian rhythm. It makes your eyelids feel heavy, reminding you when it’s time for your body to rest.
When you hit the hay, your brain slowly sheds the adenosine until it’s gone in the morning. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.
According to this theory, sleep inertia may occur because of excess adenosine - possibly there because of over-exhaustion prior to sleep. It may also be one explanation for why you wake up tired.
2. Light Exposure
One way to control your adenosine is with light exposure. In fact, the two are connected by your eyes.
The more sunlight you get, the more wakeful you are during the day. And the more blue light you get at night - usually from TV and smartphone screens – the more it delays the feeling of sleepiness.
Not only can it delay sleep, though. Studies have shown that it can also lower its quality.
Another way to lower the quality of your sleep is by lowering the fluids in your body.
One 2019 study found that, out of 20,000 participants, those who had 6 hours of sleep were much more likely to be dehydrated than those who got a full 8 hours.
However, it’s important not to over-hydrate, either, as that can lead to a different type of nighttime interruption that will leave you waking up feeling tired.
4. Inconsistent Sleep
Ever find yourself losing out on sleep one night, then trying to claw it back some other time?
While it’s possible to make up for sleep debt by snoozing more the next night, going to bed and waking up at different times is a recipe for morning fatigue. It’s also one factor contributing to poor long-term health in shift workers.
When you lose out on sleep one night, you may still wake up tired even after what seems like a full snooze the next night. This can even apply to less severe cases, like staying up late on weekends and trying to switch back for the work week. The phenomenon is known as social jet lag.
5. Stress, Depression, And Anxiety
If you suffer from mental illness, you may have encountered issues with sleep. Morning dullness is a side effect common among depression and anxiety patients, and it can also be a side-effect of certain medical treatments.
Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with a mental disorder, stresses from work or life can also negatively impact sleep
Sometimes stresses from life impact sleep, and sometimes they can impact your overall energy levels. But fatigue doesn’t always come from outside sources.
There are several medical conditions unrelated to sleep that may be impacting your energy levels, and these should be assessed by a doctor. Here are a few possible issues related to fatigue:
- Autoimmune disorders like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Hormone imbalances
7. Sleep Environment
To avoid waking up tired and with no energy, improvements to your sleep environment can go a long way. Here are a few changes to consider:
- Keep the room cool. 15-19 degrees Celsius is optimal.
- Keep screens out of the room.
- Find your optimal bedding. Weighted blankets like our Cotton Napper can relieve stress and help with sleep.
- Body pillows. If you have joint or back pain, our Cuddler may help keep it in check.
- No lights. If necessary, you may want to try eye masks or black-out curtains.
8. Sedentary Lifestyle
You can set your room up to be a sleeping paradise, but if your body isn’t tired, it might not matter.
A 2017 research review found that lower daytime physical activity levels were associated with higher rates of insomnia and sleep disturbances.
Obstructive sleep apnea rates are also higher, likely because obesity is linked to this sleep disorder.
9. Sleep Disorders
Last, but not least, sleep disorders can make mornings much more difficult by interrupting sleep throughout the night.
In the case of insomnia, this might be obvious as you’re rolling around in the middle of the night trying to fall back asleep. But other disorders, like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome can also lead to countless nighttime wakeups that you may not notice.
If you think you might have a sleep disorder, it might be another possible reason you’re waking up feeling tired.
How To Get Rid Of Morning Grogginess
There’s a theme among the possible reasons for morning grogginess: poor sleep. And if you want to know how not to wake up tired, that’s a good place to start.
For those who have sleep, mental, or physical disorders, clearing the morning fog may take a little more work. But no matter the situation, these tips will set a solid foundation:
- Be mindful of lighting. Get sunlight throughout the day, dim the lights at night, and avoid screens in the hour before bed.
- Set a nightly routine. Wind down by reading, listening to podcasts, meditating, or going about mundane chores.
- Set up for sleep. That means cool temperatures, a smart phone-free zone, and possibly stress-relieving bedding like our knitted weighted blanket or a body pillow like our Cuddler.
- Give sleep herbs a try. Studies are still limited, but there are several herbal remedies that may help limit interruptions to your sleep.
- Exercise. This help stabilize your energy levels while also improving sleep.
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How To Boost Morning Energy
Night owls are a real thing, and they’re often at their worst in the early hours of the day. So if you’re the type who struggles to roll out of bed, the best way to get a boost might be to wake up later. The ultimate goal is to not need an alarm clock to wake up.
However, because of work and life commitments, that’s not always achievable. So, if you want to be at your best bright and early, here are a few things to try:
- Get natural, outdoor light. High-wattage lamps can be a substitute, but do your best to get sunlight first thing in the morning to set your circadian rhythm.
- Exercise first thing. The dopamine and blood flow from exercise at the start of the day can make you feel fresh.
- Try caffeine. It’s not for everyone, but a little caffeine shortly after waking up goes a long way to promoting alertness. If coffee is too much, try black or green tea.
When To Talk To Your Doctor
Sometimes efforts toward improving sleep through diet, exercise, and better sleep hygiene fall short. So if you’ve tried everything, it may be time to seek out a medical professional.
If you’ve ever received comments from friends or partners about snoring throughout the night or other irregular patterns like twitching or sleep walking, consider making the trip even sooner.
Still have questions? Here are some common ones when it comes to waking up exhausted.
Why Do I Wake Up Tired After 8 Hours Of Sleep?
You may be waking up tired after 8 hours of sleep because your sleep is inefficient. In other words, you’re waking up several times throughout the night, consciously or unconsciously. The reason for this can have to do with sleep disorders like sleep apnea and insomnia, or it can be related to consuming substances like alcohol and caffeine before bed.
There’s also the possibility that you may need more sleep. Some people need 9 hours or more each night rather than 8.
Why Am I Always Tired And Have No Energy Female?
Females may be tired and have no energy because of underlying conditions such as illnesses, menopause hot flashes, or sleep disorders. They may also not be sleeping efficiently, which could be improved by better sleep hygiene and a regular exercise routine.
Studies have found that women tend to need more sleep than men, and the reason may have to do with the professional and home workload. So, relieving stress could be another factor in low energy for women.
Why Am I Tired In The Morning And Energetic At Night?
Those who are tired in the morning and energetic at night may have an evening-biased chronotype - a genetic factor that affects energy levels. It’s one reason that some are more productive at night while others prefer the morning. It’s also more common in teens and 20-year-olds.
You can determine your chronotype with genetic testing, or you can get a rough idea with subjective surveys like the morningness-eveningness questionnaire.
However, a simpler explanation could be caffeine over-consumption. Experimenting with less coffee and tea, especially later in the day, may solve your problems.
Why Am I Tired 2 Hours After Waking Up?
If you’re tired two hours after waking up, you’re likely not getting enough sleep throughout the night. The amount of sleep needed for the average adult is 7-9 hours, but even if you’re in bed for that long, it doesn’t mean that it was an efficient sleep.
Waking up several times throughout the night can impact sleep efficiency. Sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea may be at play, but sleep environment could also be a factor
Waking Up Exhausted And Sore
If you’re waking up exhausted and sore, your sleep position may be at fault. For example, side sleeping can put pressure on the shoulders, and stomach sleeping can do the same for your back. A full night in these positions may impact sleep efficiency and lead to discomfort come morning.
The solution depends on what type of aches you’re dealing with. Shoulder pain from side sleeping may improve from using our Cuddler. It can also help make other sleeping positions more stable depending on how you use the body pillow.
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Why Do My Muscles Feel Weak When I Wake Up?
Your muscles likely feel weak when you wake up because of a phenomenon known as ‘morning muscle weakness.’ The exact cause is still unknown, but it may be related to low nerve activity or low release and uptake of inorganic phosphates like calcium in the muscles after waking.
Some studies have found that humans are 5-10% weaker in the morning hours and don’t hit peak strength until the afternoon hours.
You may be able to prevent waking up tired and with no energy with a consistent nightly routine and good daytime habits. Stress-relieving tools like our Cotton Napper weighted blanket or Cuddler body pillow may also help you drift off for better sleep and wake up revitalized.