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.
Most of our troubles in the morning actually happen because of the wrong things we do during the day, and how we sleep at night.
Here is the thing, daylight and darkness at night are natural and wonderful experiences, and were meant to remain so until our lifestyle in the 21st century 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 wellbeing!
As a result,
- We now sleep for only a few hours at night
- We sleep with electric lights on
- Our bedrooms are littered with EMF emitting devices
- Our offices use artificial light instead of natural light during the day
- We abuse drugs, alcohol and other substances when we should be sleeping.
The good news is, we can amend our mistakes and achieve better sleep hygiene.
Save for sleep problems caused by medical complications we can start by correcting our mistakes, as explained below:
Find out why you keep waking up exhausted and weak, and what you can do
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 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 rapid eye movement (REM) 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 alarm clocks!
You can also cut down on REM disturbances by reducing your exposure to violent activities and movies. Elsewhere, sleep in a house free from external noises and disturbances produced by 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. If you sleep for less than the recommended hours, you will 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 around 9 pm 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 hormone known as melatonin, 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.
In the morning, the cortisol hormone is released to facilitate wakefulness during the day.
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. In the long, sleep deprivation is a precursor to medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and psychosis!
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.
Light from electric bulbs, smartphones, and laptop screens will interfere with the release of melatonin hormone, and EMF from all 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.
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 most 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 diet 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 going to bed 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.
Taking 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 will happen 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, 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, and liver. Others are anemia, sleep apnea, infections, mental illnesses, and hormonal handicaps.
– 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 allows the body to manage the physical demands, while increasing glucose metabolism and body alertness.
A regulated level of cortisol is good for the body, while too much or too little is bad.
Apart from being released in the morning, cortisol is released into the bloodstream every time you are stressed, angry, or out of sorts. This increases the heart rate and blood pressure, to allow 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 mix-up of the hormone.
When this happens you will experience low energy levels and multiple other symptoms mentioned above.
Besides adrenal fatigue, medical conditions, and other factors listed below can interfere with your sleep and morning wellness:
- depression and stress at work
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- thyroid disease
- sleep apnea
- nutritional deficiency sleep disorder
What you can do to stop waking up exhausted and weak!
The answer to morning fatigue lies in cutting down stress levels, eating healthy, regular exercise, and healthy sleep routines.
- Avoid alarm clocks if you can.
- Sleep early and wake up early.
- Beware of snoring by you and roommates.
- Make sure your bedroom is safe from EMF.
- Beware of very hot and cold temperatures in the bedroom.
- 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 at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) everyday.
- Your last sip of alcohol and caffeine should be 3 – 5 hours before bedtime.
- Drink less alcohol and caffeine, and more water during the day.
- Do not smoke.
- Control your anger, depression and other life stresses.
- Eat a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy.
Where personal indulgence becomes a problem, you may want to consult your family doctor for guidance and treatment.
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