Why Do I Keep Waking Up Tired?

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It’s not unusual to wake up feeling a bit groggy. For many people, it’s nothing a cup of coffee or shower can’t fix But if you regularly wake up tired, especially if you continue to feel fatigued throughout the day, there may be something else going on.

Here’s a look at some common causes of waking up tired:

Chances are, your morning grogginess is just sleep inertia, which is a normal part of the waking process. Your brain typically doesn’t instantly wake up after sleeping. It transitions gradually to a wakeful state.

During this transition period, you may feel groggy or disoriented. If you aren’t careful, you can easily fall back asleep.

Sleep inertia slows down your motor and cognitive skills, which is why it sometimes feels impossible to do anything right after you wake up.

Sleep inertia can last anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour, though it typically improves within 15 to 60 minutes.

If within the first few hours of falling asleep, you suddenly wake up from a deep sleep and are in a confused state, you may have sleep drunkenness’

Also called confusional arousals, sleep drunkenness is a sleep disorder that bypasses the inertia phase. An episode may last for up to 30 to 40 minutes You may not even remember it occurred when you wake up to start the day.

You’re more likely to experience symptoms of sleep inertia or sleep drunkenness when you:

  • don’t get enough sleep
  • wake up abruptly from a deep sleep
  • set your alarm for earlier than usual

Sleep inertia can also be worsened by shift work sleep disorder/ obstructive sleep apnea and certain types of circadian rhythm sleep disorder

WHAT YOU CAN DOSleep inertia is a natural part of waking up, but you can limit its effects by:

  • regularly getting a full night’s sleep
  • limiting naps to less than 30 minutes
  • drinking coffee or another caffeinated beverage when you get up

If your symptoms persist, visit your primary healthcare provider. They can rule out an underlying sleep disorder.

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