We all want to wake up refreshed and buoyed than we did when we went to bed the evening before. It is another story, however, when we are routinely 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
Most of our troubles during the day actually happen because of the wrong things we do during the day, and how we sleep at night.
Here is the thing; daylight and night hours are natural and wonderful experiences and were meant to remain so until our 21st-century lifestyles dented them irreparably.
Here is how:
Our hectic lifestyles, artificial living & workspaces, artificial night-time/day-time settings, our eating habits, and mounting stress levels, have all interfered with our biological body clock and overall wellbeing!
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:
1. Sleep inertia and REM miskicks
Many times the inability to wake up correctly is nothing more than sleep inertia.
What is inertia?
Sleep inertia is the sudden awakening from sleep when you are actually still deep asleep. Due to one reason or another, your body is abruptly jolted out of sleep, making you sit up in some form of shock!
You will experience sleep inertia when the alarm clock jolts you up, or due to external noise outside the bedroom. Sometimes, inertia will happen due to REM (rapid eye movement) sleep disturbance.
In the REM stage of sleep, you will experience a very deep state of sleep which is characterized by dreams. These dreams can also get out of control and force you to wake up suddenly.
When this happens, you 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!
You can reduce the instances of sleep inertia by using the natural body clock, otherwise known as the circadian rhythm instead of using alarm clocks!
You can also cut down on REM disturbances by reducing your exposure to violent activities and movies. Elsewhere, sleep in a house that is free from external noises and other disturbances such as factories, entertainment centers, etc.
2. 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 for children.
A reminder though that 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 & unhealthy lifestyle!
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.
Poor sleeping environment and hygiene will make you wake up frequently and miss out on NonREM and REM sleep stages.
Besides sleep, your daily lifestyle routines 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 chair before 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.
Lastly, your own snoring can lead to a fatigued morning:
The most underappreciated cause of fatigue in patients I see in my practice is sleep apnea.Endocrine Today
All or a combination of the above will definitely leave you waking up exhausted and weak!
4. Stimulants & depressants before bedtime
Many of the drinks and eats you take before bedtime are reasons 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. Likewise, binge eating will leave you waking up exhausted and weak the morning after.
5. Adrenal depletion and other medical complications
Adrenal depletion happens when the adrenal glands perform below normal expectations. This diagnosis is what a section of medical practitioners call adrenal fatigue.
Besides morning tiredness, other contributory symptoms to adrenal fatigue include weight loss, poor stress response, brain fog, craving for salty foods, nausea, vomiting pain, and weak muscles.
If you experience any of these symptoms, your doctor may suggest you have a blood test to measure your cortisol levels.HealthDirect
Of course, the same symptoms can also point to medical conditions of the heart, lungs, kidney, liver, and others such as anemia, sleep apnea, infections, mental illnesses, and hormonal handicaps.
An appropriate medical diagnosis needs to be done to clarify the underlying cause.
What is adrenal fatigue, and cortisol?
Adrenals are two small glands located at the top of the kidneys. They produce cortisol and multiple other hormones.
Cortisol, also called the stress hormone, is a steroid hormone for regulating the body’s response to stress or danger. It is also released every morning to prepare the body to wake up and stay awake during the day.
(This is in contrast to the melatonin hormone released early in the night to prepare the body to sleep.)
Cortisol is also released following periods of physical exercise. The hormonal spike the body to manage the ensuing physical demands while increasing the metabolism of glucose and body alertness.
A regulated level of cortisol is good for the body, while too much or little of the same is bad for your health.
Aside from being released in the morning cortisol is released into the bloodstream every time you are stressed, angry, or out of sorts. This allows the body to respond accordingly in what is known as fight or flight mode.
However, persistent stress levels can lead to reduced levels of cortisol in the body! This then leads to the depletion of the adrenals and the ultimate mixup of the hormone.
When this happens you will experience low energy levels and multiple other symptoms mentioned above.
Besides adrenal fatigue, 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:
- depression and stress at work
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- thyroid disease
- sleep apnea
- nutritional deficiency sleep disorder
The answer to curbing adrenal fatigue and other medical complications lies in cutting down stress levels, eating healthy, regular exercise, and healthy sleep routines.
Where personal indulgence becomes a problem, you may want to consult your family doctor for guidance and treatment.
What you 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.
- Control your anger, depression and other life stresses.
- Eat a healthy balance of nutritious meals in fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy.