Rise and shine takes on a whole new meaning when you’re struggling to get out of bed in the morning. You may have been told to “just suck it up” and push through the fatigue, but if you’re constantly waking up tired, there’s a chance that something more serious is going on. There are many potential reasons why you wake up tired everyday. The good news is that there are also many potential solutions. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common reasons for fatigue and what you can do to start feeling more rested.
1. You Have A High Sleep Debt
Sleep debt, also known as sleep deficit, is the difference between the amount of sleep you need and the amount of sleep you actually get. When you have a sleep debt, it means you have not been getting enough quality shut-eye on a regular basis.
If you’re in a constant state of sleep debt, your body never has a chance to fully recover from fatigue. This can lead to a host of other problems, including difficulty concentrating, irritability, and even depression (2).
To address sleep debt, it’s not enough to look at having a single night of sleep. Instead, you need to focus on getting enough sleep on a regular basis. Usually keeping track of your sleep patterns for a week or two can give you a good idea of how much sleep you actually need.
Paying off your sleep debt can be a gradual process, but it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough restful sleep on a regular basis.
2. You Have A Poor Sleep Environment
To fall asleep and stay asleep, your body needs to be in a state of complete relaxation. This can be difficult to achieve if your sleep environment is not conducive to rest.
Some common sleep environment problems include:
- Too much light in the room
- Too much noise in the room
- An uncomfortable mattress or pillow
- A room that’s too hot or too cold
If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, take a close look at your sleeping quarters. Making a few simple changes, such as investing in blackout curtains or using a white noise machine, can make a world of difference.
3. You’re Exercising Too Late In The Evening
Exercise is good for you. It helps improve your cardiovascular health, strengthen your muscles, and can even boost your mood.
But if you’re exercising too close to bedtime, that exercise can actually have the opposite effect.
When you exercise, your body temperature rises. This increase in body temperature can make it difficult to fall asleep. In addition, exercise triggers the release of adrenaline, a hormone that can make you feel more alert (4).
To avoid exercise-induced insomnia, finish your workout at least three hours before bedtime. This can make it easier for your body to wind down and prepare for sleep.
4. You’re Eating Too Much Sugar
A little sugar can give you a quick energy boost, but eating too much of it can actually lead to fatigue. That’s because when your blood sugar spikes quickly, it’s often followed by a sharp drop. This can leave you feeling tired, irritable, and even dizzy (3).
Furthermore, sugar can disrupt your sleep patterns. Consuming sugary foods or drinks before bed can make it difficult to fall asleep and leads to restless nights.
To avoid fatigue-inducing blood sugar swings, limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks throughout the day. When you do have something sweet, pair it with a source of protein or healthy fat to help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
5. You’re Eating Too Late At Night
In addition to affecting your blood sugar levels, late-night eating can also disrupt your sleep. That’s because digesting food takes energy. When you eat a big meal right before bed, your body has to work overtime to break down the food, likely making it difficult to fall asleep (5).
To promote restful sleep, avoid eating large meals within two hours of bedtime. If you’re hungry at night, opt for a light snack that won’t weigh you down.
Some ideal night-time snacks include:
- A handful of nuts
- A slice of whole-grain toast with peanut butter
- A small bowl of oatmeal
- A cup of herbal tea
- A bowl of yogurt with berries
6. You Have A Caffeine Sensitivity
Caffeine is a stimulant that can improve your focus and energy levels. However, if you’re sensitive to caffeine, even small amounts can lead to sleeplessness. This is especially true if you’re drinking caffeinated beverages late in the day (6).
To avoid caffeine-related fatigue, limit your intake to no more than 400 milligrams per day. This is equivalent to about four cups of coffee. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you will probably need to cut back even further.
Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages after midday, since caffeine has a half-life of five to six hours. This means it takes that long for your body to eliminate half of the caffeine you consume.
Some caffeinated beverages to limit or avoid include:
- Energy drinks
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7. You’re Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Drinking alcohol can make you feel drowsy. In fact, it’s often used as a sleep aid. However, drinking too much alcohol can actually disrupt your sleep. That’s because alcohol prevents you from entering deep sleep, the most restorative phase of sleep. As a result, you may wake up feeling tired and groggy (1).
Furthermore, you’re bound to need more toilet breaks during the night if you’ve been drinking alcohol before bed. This can further disrupt your sleep and leave you feeling exhausted in the morning.
To avoid alcohol-induced fatigue, limit yourself to one or two drinks per day. If you’re going to drink alcohol, do so early in the evening so your body has time to metabolize the alcohol before bedtime.
8. You’re Needing To Pee A Lot
Needing to pee frequently throughout the night can disrupt your sleep and leave you feeling exhausted in the morning. There are a number of reasons why you might need to pee more at night, including:
- Drinking too much fluid before bed
- Certain medications, such as diuretics and beta-blockers
- Alcohol and/or caffeine
- An overactive bladder
- Urinary tract infections
If you find yourself needing to use the restroom more than usual at night, talk to your doctor. They may be able to help identify the underlying cause and recommend treatment options.
Limiting your fluid intake before bed and going to the bathroom before you go to sleep can help reduce the number of times you need to get up during the night.
9. You Have Sleep Apnea, Or Other Sleep Disorders
If you have sleep apnea, you may not even realize it. This condition causes your breathing to be interrupted during sleep, which can lead to fatigue during the day.
Usually, sleep apnea is diagnosed with a sleep study. Some symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, gasping for air during sleep, and waking up with a headache or dry mouth.
If you have sleep apnea, treatment options are available. One common treatment is the use of a CPAP machine, which helps keep your airways open while you sleep.
Consulting with a sleep specialist can help you determine the best course of action if you think you may have sleep apnea.Other sleep disorders that can cause fatigue include:
- Insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep)
- Restless legs syndrome (a tingling or crawling sensation in the legs that can make it difficult to sleep)
- Narcolepsy (a condition that causes excessive daytime sleepiness).
With each of these disorders, there are treatment options available. Consulting with a sleep specialist can help you determine the best course of action.
10. You’re Stressed Out
Stress can take a toll on your body in many ways, one of which is fatigue. When you’re stressed, your body releases several hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
These hormones are meant to help you deal with stressful situations, but they can also have a negative impact on your body if they’re constantly being released.
Chronic stress can also lead to problems such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression. These conditions can further contribute to fatigue. Finally, stress can also lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as overeating, drinking alcohol, or using drugs that are known to interfere with sleep quality and quantity (7).
If you’re struggling with stress, there are many things you can do to help manage it. Some stress-relieving techniques include exercise, relaxation exercises (like yoga or meditation), and journaling.
You may also want to consider talking to a therapist, who can help you develop other healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress.
11.You’re Not Eating A Healthy Diet
What you eat (or don’t eat) can also impact how tired you feel. A diet that’s high in ultra processed foods and low in nutrients can lead to fatigue.
Here’s why: some ingredients in ultra processed foods, such as sugar and caffeine, can give you a temporary energy boost. But that boost is usually followed by a crash, which can leave you feeling tired and sluggish.
Furthermore, ultra processed foods are often high in unhealthy fats, which can lead to weight gain and other problems such as type 2 diabetes. And carrying around extra weight can also lead to fatigue (9).
On the other hand, a healthy diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein can give you sustained energy throughout the day. This is because these foods contain nutrients that help support your body and brain.
Nutrient-dense foods also supply the body with some nutrients that are involved in sleep regulation such as:
- magnesium: found in leafy green vegetables, nuts, and seeds. This nutrient is involved in the production of melatonin, which helps regulate sleep-wake cycles.
- tryptophan: an amino acid found in poultry, eggs, cheese, and tofu. This amino acid is converted into serotonin, which is then converted into melatonin.
- calcium: found in dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and tofu. This nutrient also helps with the production of melatonin.
- potassium: found in bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, and avocados. This nutrient helps regulate muscle function, which can support sleep quality.
- vitamin D: found in fatty fish, mushrooms, and fortified foods. This nutrient is involved in calcium absorption, which is important for sleep regulation.
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12. You Have An Undiagnosed Medical Condition
There are many medical conditions that can cause fatigue. Some common examples include:
- Anemia: This condition develops when you have a low level of iron in your blood, or sometimes for other reasons. Iron is needed to produce hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to your cells. Without enough oxygen, your cells can’t function properly, and you may feel tired.
- Thyroid problems: The thyroid is a gland in the neck that produces hormones that regulate metabolism. If the thyroid isn’t functioning properly, it can lead to fatigue.
- Diabetes: This condition occurs when there is too much sugar (glucose) in the blood. The body needs insulin to help move glucose into the cells, where it’s used for energy. If you have diabetes, your body may not be able to produce enough insulin or use it effectively, leading to fatigue.
- Sleep disorders: As mentioned earlier, conditions such as insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy can all interfere with sleep and lead to fatigue.
- Heart problems: Conditions that affect the heart, such as congestive heart failure and arrhythmias, can make it difficult for the heart to pump blood efficiently. This can lead to fatigue.
If you’re frequently tired and don’t know why, it’s important to see a doctor. They can order tests to check for any underlying medical conditions.
Is It Sleep Inertia? When You Shouldn’t Worry About Morning Grogginess
Many people don’t know that morning grogginess is a normal part of the sleep process. It’s called sleep inertia, and it refers to the feeling of grogginess and disorientation that normally occurs when you first wake up.
Sleep inertia is caused by the fact that your body is transitioning from sleep to wakefulness. During sleep, your body slows down and rests. One of the processes that take place while you are waking up is the flushing out of adenosine, a chemical that makes you feel sleepy (8).
When you wake up, your adenosine levels should be low, but sometimes the body is still in the process of flushing out adenosine. This can make you feel groggy and disoriented for a short period of time. Sleep inertia usually lasts for 15-30 minutes, but it can last up to 2 hours.
However, if you’re feeling groggy and disoriented for longer than 2 hours, it may be something more than sleep inertia. You may refer to one of the causes of fatigue outlined in this article and its accompanying solution.
Waking Up Tired And No Energy: The Bottom Line
Constantly waking up tired can be caused by a variety of things, from sleep deprivation to underlying medical conditions. If you’re frequently tired and don’t know why, make a few lifestyle changes or see a doctor to rule out any underlying causes.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Alcohol and Sleep (2022, sleepfoundation.org)
- Extent and Health Consequences of Chronic Sleep Loss and Sleep Disorders (2006, nih.gov)
- Energy, tiredness, and tension effects of a sugar snack versus moderate exercise (1987, nih.gov)
- Exercising too close to bedtime can result in a bad night’s sleep (2021, studyfinds.org)
- Is Eating Before Bed Bad for You? (2022, clevelandclinic.org)
- No Thanks, Coffee Keeps Me Awake”: Individual Caffeine Sensitivity Depends on ADORA2A Genotype (2012, nih.gov)
- Stress effects on the body (2018, apa.org)
- Sleep Inertia (2022, sleepfoundation.org)
- The Hidden Dangers of Fast and Processed Food (2018, nih.gov)