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What to Do? I Wake Up So Tired, Part 1

What to Do? I Wake Up So Tired, Part 1

Thursday, April 07, 2022

Getting a good night's sleep shouldn’t be hard. Lay down, close your eyes, and sleep, right? For many of us, however, we still wake up tired, groggy, and irritable in the morning.

While it is normal to feel tired in the moments just after waking, feeling tired longer than that can indicate a more significant problem with your sleep. The good news is that you can take steps to change that. You might not be or become a morning person, but you can make yourself more productive throughout the day with just a little extra effort.

In this two-part blog series, we will look at the behavioral and physical reasons why people wake up tired and discuss some solutions that anyone can implement into their daily lives to help them wake up better rested.


What to Do? I Wake Up So Tired, Part 1

The first thing to understand is everyone feels a bit groggy when they first wake up in the morning. This sleep inertia is the transitional period when our brain switches from sleep mode to being active. Hormone and chemical levels need to balance out appropriately, which takes time.

For some people, it is a quick process; for others, it can take upwards of an hour. If you are groggy throughout the day, that’s when you have an issue.

Let’s look at some behavioral changes you can make to your evening and morning routines. Good habits right before and after sleep can help you feel energized and refreshed all day.

Focus Your Evening on Sleep

Probably the most important thing you can do to combat a general feeling of tiredness is to ensure that you are, in fact, getting your needed amount of restful sleep. Life can often make this difficult with all the stress of work, worry about the future, or perhaps having to raise children.

But there are a few helpful strategies you can try to help keep your mind and body focused on getting a night of good sleep.

  • Schedule: Set aside time to sleep and stick to it even on weekends. Going to bed and waking up on a schedule gets your body and brain into a rhythm.
  • Avoid Stimulants: We all know drinking coffee can disrupt our ability to sleep, but make sure to cut other caffeine sources well before the evening. Tea can often have a calming effect, but you may be setting yourself up for trouble if it isn't decaf.
  • Don’t Snack: Limit food and drink consumption in the hour or two leading up to sleep to avoid waking up to use the bathroom or indigestion.
  • Your Sanctuary: Dedicate your bedroom to getting sleep. Aim for an environment that stays cool, dark, and quiet. If you are a light sleeper who wakes up at any noise or suffers from tinnitus, consider utilizing a fan or white noise machine to help level out your surroundings.
  • No Screens: This one might be the most difficult to implement these days. Try to avoid looking at screens or electronic devices in the hour before sleep. Not only do they absorb our attention for longer than we intend, but they can also increase stress levels, and artificial light can trick our brains into thinking it is still day.

Jump Start Your Morning

If you feel like you have the evening routine down and still feel groggy all day, it might be time to focus some attention on your morning routine. Here are a few easy recommendations to help your brain flow more smoothly and quickly out of that sleep inertia phase.

  • No Snoozing: It might feel like that extra hit of fifteen minutes will help, but you will do more harm than good pressing snooze. Our sleep is governed by cycles of sleep. Snooze ensures you will always interrupt one. Try instead to modify your schedule by fifteen minutes one way or the other to better align with coming out of REM sleep. And in the worst-case scenario, set the alarm 90 minutes before you want to wake up, then go back to sleep, as this will almost guarantee you get through a complete REM cycle.
  • Water: While you are asleep, your body is slowly dehydrating. When you wake up, be sure to get a glass of water into your system pronto. And no, coffee doesn’t count here, just plain old water.
  • Get Moving: If your morning routine can accommodate, plan on squeezing in 15 to 30 minutes of exercise or low impact yoga. Getting your muscles moving again after sleep releases a flood of endorphins that can boost energy levels and brain function for a considerable portion of the day.
  • Fuel Your Body: Most of us grew up hearing breakfast was the most important meal of the day. That might not necessarily be true, but that doesn’t mean skipping it is okay. Give your body some fuel for the morning. Even a light snack can make a world of difference. Avoid sugary options; they won’t fill you up and will have you crashing from a blood-sugar spike.
  • Greet the Sun: Sunlight naturally signals your body it is time to get active and bumps serotonin levels. Open your curtains as soon as you wake up, and even if you work from home, take a few minutes to walk outside in the morning to lower your stress when starting the day.

Dig a Little Deeper

If you have tried everything you can think of, set good habits, and still can’t seem to get a night of sleep that has you feeling energized throughout the day, it may be time to consider the possibility you suffer from some form of sleep disorder.

Sleep Disorders

The most common culprits are medical issues such as tongue thrust, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome. But your sleep issues may also be caused by underlying health problems like thyroid disorders, asthma, or heartburn. No matter the cause, your best bet is to seek a medical professional's help in determining the cause and a plan to address it.

In our next post, What to Do? I Wake Up So Tired, Part 2, we will look specifically at some of these sleep disorders and discuss what causes them, common symptoms, and the type of treatments available.

Tongue Thrust

If you are already aware that you suffer from snoring or breathing issues caused by a tongue thrust, that may be the source of your troubled sleep and daily fatigue. Our program, IJustWantTo® Correct My Tongue Thrust, has helped many people achieve a better night's sleep.

For more information on this simple program, you can visit our store page and send us a question. We are happy to discuss your situation and want to help get you on the right track to a life full of energy.

Click here to read part two of this series.

Janet M. Bennett

Written by:

Janet Bennett, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, is a Speech Pathologist in private practice in Asheville, NC, since 1977. She specializes in treating tongue thrust, a swallowing disorder that can result in buckteeth, an open bite, a lisp, snoring, and other problems that have not yet been made known to most people.