Do you ever wake up after a full eight hours of sleep and still feel exhausted, grouchy or worse: overwhelmed with anxiety? It can be frustrating to feel like you’re doing everything right when it comes to your shut-eye, only for your energy to wane from the moment you open your eyes. The good news is that there are a range of reasons why you might be waking up exhausted and plenty of easy ways you can fix it and incease your energy levels.
How much sleep should you get?
The amount of sleep each person needs varies, whilst some can manage on six or seven hours, eight for others is not negotiable. There is no template for the right amount of sleep. We are all different and based on what other activities you have going on in your life will also be a determining factor as to how much sleep you need.
Why do I wake up tired?
If you’re getting enough sleep, then you should ideally wake feeling refreshed. Whilst there are several things that can impact your ability to wake feeling like this, in most cases however, it’s lifestyle factors that are responsible for fatigue such as poor sleep quality or quantity, or poorly managed stress.
There could be a number of reasons you’re getting enough sleep yet still tired; I’ll list five here that maybe something to review in your lifestyle choices.
- Hormones; A hormone imbalance can impact your energy levels. For example, too much cortisol, the stress hormone, can zap you of energy and disrupt sleep. Hormonal changes can affect your energy too. It may-be time to see your GP and get a blood test done to assess your hormone levels, make some lifestyle changes and review again in time.
- Sleep apnoea; This is a condition where the throat gets blocked, either partially or fully, while you’re asleep. The loss of oxygen will wake you briefly, often without you even realising it. In severe cases, it can interrupt sleep hundreds of times a night, leaving you exhausted.
- Mental health; Short- or long-term experiences relating to mental health such as; anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder can lead to excessive tiredness.
- Thyroid issues; Poor thyroid function can interfere with your sleep. Hypothyroidism in particular can make you feel tired more easily, even if you’re getting enough sleep. Another reason to see your GP for a review and assessment of a blood test.
5. Nutrient deficiencies and hydration; A lack of certain nutrients such as iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin D can leave you feeling fatigued. Dehydration can also be a reason for poor sleep, in particular in warmer weather and alcohol consumption. (see more below re alcohol).
Is alcohol making you tired?
If you’re experiencing stress, such as an increased workload or personal issues, it’s tempting to rely on a drink or two to help you unwind in the evening. Whilst this might make you feel better short term, alcohol can steal your chance of a good night’s sleep. Alcohol consumption can negatively impact sleep quality and how you wake in the morning.
Alcohol can affect sleep quality in myriad ways, disrupting the circadian cycle, blocking restorative REM sleep, aggravating breathing problems such as snoring and even inducing sleep apnoea. And that’s on top of the extra through-the-night bathroom breaks you may need thanks to its diuretic effect.
If you are continuing to wake up feeling groggy it is time to dig deeper into your overall health. There could be more than poor sleep to be considered, especially with mood disorders.
How to wake up feeling refreshed:
The importance of a routine is essential to ensuring a quality night’s sleep. Creating a ritual to wind-down before bed will support your body and mind to prepare for sleep and calm the brain. To create a pre-sleep ritual, try bringing in some of the suggestions here:
- No screens an hour before bed; No more social media scrolling; please! The blue light from screens blocks the production of melatonin, the hormone essential for sleep. We all know this, yet continue to “take our phones to bed”. Ease yourself into leaving the device out of your bedroom one/two night/s a week and note the difference.
- Reduce caffeine in the afternoon; No more coffee in the afternoon, particularly after 2pm, is likely to improve your sleep. We all know this, so a gentle reminder here, try swapping out a coffee for a herbal tea peppermint is a great one to refresh and offer an afternoon “pick me up”, add some ice and make it more refeshing as a chilled drink.
- Get active; Aim for regular physical activity, ideally 30 minutes most days and in sunlight, this helps circadian rhythms that regulate sleep. A yoga practice in studio or via video conference can also help to relax and gently stretch your body (especially after sitting during the day). Try a yin style of yoga for deep stretching and relaxation.
If you are in need of more support to manage stress related matters that are interrupting your sleep please reach out for a complimentary chat.
Please note: The tips throughout this article serve as broad information and should not replace any advice you have been given by your medical practitioner.