Last Updated: February 18, 2021

We all want to wake up (in the morning) feeling refreshed and charged up than we did when we went to bed (the evening before). It is another thing, however, when we are always waking up exhausted and weak.

We may actually feel like we slept for eternity – as per the recommended hours, but in reality and for no clear reason, some of our days start with nagging morning fatigue!

Yes, it happens all the time and can be so damn frustrating.


Why you keep waking up exhausted and weak

Here is the thing, sleep is a natural and wonderful experience and was meant to remain so until the new-age lifestyle in the 21st-century dented it irreparably. Here is how:

Our hectic productive and private lifestyles, artificial living & workspaces, artificial night-time and day-time settings, our eating habits, etc, have all interfered with our biological and body clock!

The good news is, we can amend our mistakes in order to achieve better sleep hygiene.

Save for sleep problems caused by medical complications we can start by correcting our mistakes as explained below:

alarm clock and caffeine can leave you waking up exhausted and weak
(Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem from Pexels)

1. Sleep inertia and REM miskicks

Many times the inability to wake up correctly is nothing more than sleep inertia.

So what is inertia?

Sleep inertia is the sudden awakening from sleep when you feel you are still deep asleep. The body is forced to wake up due to one reason or another.

Usually, you will experience sleep inertia when the alarm clock jolts you up, or due to REM (rapid eye movement) sleep disturbance.

In the REM stage of sleep, we experience a very deep state of sleep which is characterized by dreams. These dreams can also get out of control and force us to wake up suddenly.

When this happens, we may feel exhausted and weak for a little while!

morning sleep inertia is experienced for 15 to 30 minutes after waking.

Wikipedia

In some people, sleep inertia can last up to 4 hours!

We can reduce the chances of sleep inertia by making use of the natural body clock, otherwise known as the circadian rhythm instead of using alarm clocks! We can also cut down on REM disturbances by reducing our exposure to violent activities and movies.


2. Poor and irregular sleeping hours

A poor and irregular sleep routine is bound to leave you waking up exhausted and weak.

Ask breastfeeding mothers and you will probably understand.

This is how:

When you go to sleep at the wrong time you will definitely wake up at the wrong time, and if you sleep for less than the recommended hours, you are bound to experience weakness and fatigue in the morning.

People who sleep early in the night usually sleep deep into the morning. Those that sleep late will be forced to wake up early, or sleep through the morning hours due to morning fatigue.

The normal sleeping hours should start at 9 pm up until 5 – 6 am, and 7 – 8 hours are recommended for adults, and upwards of 8 hours are recommended for children.

As a reminder, sleep is only useful at night, and not during the day.

In what is known as the circadian rhythm or human body clock, you are supposed to sleep at night and stay awake during the day, and not vice versa.

The human sleep cycle is controlled by the melatonin hormone which is only released at night to facilitate the sleep-wake cycle. Natural melatonin is not released during the day and therefore cannot facilitate sleep during this time.

Failure to sleep at night will lead to what is known as sleep debt, which usually manifests in drowsiness and fatigue in the morning and during the day.


3. Bad sleeping hygiene & environment!

A bad sleeping environment is bad enough to mess up your night sleep and therefore impact the morning mood.

Strong sleep hygiene means having both a bedroom environment and daily routines that promote consistent, uninterrupted sleep.

Sleep Foundation

A bad bed, extreme temperature, noise in the background, snoring roommates, etc., are all illustrations of a bad sleeping environment.

Worse still, a bedroom lit up with electric bulbs and blue light from electronic devices can interfere with sleep quality.

The blue light from the smartphone and laptop screen is known to interfere with the release of melatonin hormone, and EMF from electronic devices can surely mess up brain activity.

Poor sleeping environment and hygiene will make you wake up frequently and miss out on NonREM and REM sleep stages. This will leave you waking up exhausted and weak!


4. Stimulants & depressants before bedtime

Many of the drinks and eats you take before bedtime are reason enough for you to stay wakeful at night.

They often act on the central nervous system to increase mental alertness and brain function, reducing the feeling of sleepiness.

Caffeine before bedtime will stimulate the brain to stay awake long into the night.

A combination of prescription drugs to treat obesity and asthma, taken before bedtime will lead to a state of wakefulness deep into the night.

Elsewhere, smoking will stimulate the brain to stay awake, while alcohol and depressants before bedtime will trigger a chain of events that culminate into frequent urination. Too much alcohol will also leave you feeling like a mess in the morning with a hangover.

Intake of too much water and junk before bedtime will force you to wake up frequently to urinate and binge eat and leave you waking up exhausted and weak the morning after.


5. Unhealthy living and medical complications

Your daily lifestyle can determine how well you sleep at night, let alone wake up in the morning. Anything from the basics of not working out to nutritional deficits can be recipes for disaster.

Lack of physical wellness leaves your body feeling tired for the most part of the day. When you spend all day slouched in your chairbefore your phone, the computer, and inside the car, you are definitely asking for trouble.

Likewise, a lack of nutritional foods can lead to general body fatigue and weakness. The same is true with indulgence in junk food, binge eating, excess alcohol, etc.

Besides the everyday circumstances that mess up the sleep-wake cycle, medical conditions and other factors listed below can interfere with your sleep, and morning time wellness:


What you & I can do to stop waking up exhausted and weak!

  • Avoid alarm clocks if you can.
  • Sleep early and wake up early.
  • Beware of snoring roommates.
  • Make sure your bedroom is safe from intrusions.
  • Avoid very hot and cold temperatures.
  • Turn off the lights in the bedroom.
  • Ensure one-hour screen-free time before bedtime.
  • Do not sleep with your smartphone or laptop.
  • Engage in one form of physical activity or another every day. At least a minimum of 30 minutes of MVPA for every adult.
  • Your last sip of alcohol and caffeine should be 3 – 5 hours before bedtime.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Eat a healthy balance of nutritious meals in fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy.