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9 Reasons Why You Wake Up Tired

You are in the middle of a great dream only to be interrupted by the dreaded alarm. You wonder why your alarm is going off so much earlier than when you set it only to find out it is, indeed, time to get up. You feel groggy and disoriented, and hit the snooze button (which certainly isn’t helping your wake-up routine).

Five minutes later the alarm goes off again, and you still feel exhausted. Does this sound familiar? Let’s look at the nine reasons why you might wake up tired.

1. Staying Up Too Late

Life is busy and sometimes it seems there are simply not enough hours in the day. When you are up late getting things done or out with friends, sleep is compromised. We often say to ourselves “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” and then spend the next day dreaming of our beds. In order to wake up feeling refreshed each day, you should aim to get between 7-8 hours of sleep each night—7.5 hours is the ideal number.

Professional woman working on her laptop with a cup of coffee at night.

2. Sleeping Too Long

Whether you tend to oversleep in general or try to catch up on missed hours from the night before, it is possible you are getting too many hours of sleep. It may come as a surprise that you cannot catch up on missed hours of sleep. If you only sleep for 5 hours one night, sleeping 10 hours the next night will most likely still leave you exhausted.

The best thing to do when this happens is to aim for that magic number of 7.5 hours in order to manage your sleep patterns.It is also a good idea to stick to the best sleep schedule; try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day for your best night’s sleep, and subsequently, your most rejuvenated mornings.

3. Restless Leg Syndrome

After a long day of sitting, you may feel an uncomfortable sensation in your legs causing you to toss and turn, unable to keep your legs still. This experience is referred to as Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). RLS is a common combination of sleep movement disorders. In order to relieve the symptoms associated with RLS, you must move your legs. This often happens at nighttime while you are lying in bed, making it difficult to fall asleep.

Restless legs wrapped around a blue blanket.

In order to prevent RLS symptoms, be sure to stand and take short walks throughout the day. There are also several helpful dynamic stretching exercises for restless leg syndrome, such as leg swings and marching in place.

4. There Are Too Many Distractions

If you live on a busy street or in a city it is likely you have many distractions surrounding you. Noise and bright lights are the common culprits that could prevent you from getting the 7.5 hours of sleep your body needs.

Paper thin walls in your apartment through which you can hear your neighbor’s conversations, or noisy cars out on the street are often not an ideal environment to fall asleep fast.

Man lying in bed looking at his phone, blue light shining through window and lamp on the table.

When it comes to light and sound while you try to sleep, consistency is key. o block out these distractions,use a fan, a sound machine, or a sound app on your phone. You should also purchase quality blinds or curtains to keep unwanted or flashing light out of your bedroom.

5. The Bedroom Too Dark to Wake Up

Although you want your bedroom to be dark as you fall asleep, this may make it more difficult to get out of bed in the morning. Blackout curtains and dark walls prevent natural lighting from entering your room, which send signals to your brain to power on for the day.

It is a lot easier to wake up with natural sunlight shining through your bedroom than waking up to a pitch black bedroom. If you work odd hours requiring you to sleep during the day, try using a night light in your room if you must have blackout curtains to fall asleep.

6. Reliance On Sleep Aids

Sleep supplements can be purchased over-the-counter by individuals who have difficulty sleeping. However, if you do not consult a doctor before taking a sleep aid, you may take the wrong one. Many sleep aid side effects can disrupt your body’s natural sleep cycles which leaving you exhausted the next day.

Man lying in bed with sleeping pills and a glass of water on his nightstand.

If you suspect you have a sleep disorder, it is important to visit your primary care doctor for the best recommendations or medication for your needs. You should also follow up with your doctor after a few weeks in case the dosage needs to be adjusted or they could switch you to another medication that works better for you.

A more natural alternative to heavy sleep aids is Melatonin, a hormone produced by your pineal gland to induce sleep. Once again, make sure to consult with your doctor first before taking anything new.

7. You Are Not In The Right Mental State

If you find yourself tossing and turning at night despite feeling tired, perhaps there are so many things running through your mind that you cannot seem to shut down. If you find yourself experiencing this scenario more often than not, you may have symptoms of depression, stress, or anxiety.

Woman sitting on bed looking depressed or anxious.

All of these things can lead to sleep deprivation, or they may cause you to sleep too much. Either way, you will be left feeling constantly tired or as though you never have enough energy. Too much stress is unhealthy and causes a lot of negative effects on your body.

It is important to find positive coping strategies to manage these symptoms. Seek support from a health provider, support group, or family member. You can also journal before bed to process your thoughts and feelings or make lists to reduce stress.

8. An Improper Diet

What you eat during the day plays a vital role in your quality of sleep. If you eat fried and junk foods throughout the day, you set yourself up for a restless night of sleep.These foods can cause heartburn, indigestion, and other GI issues. Trying to sleep when you have a belly ache can cause a lot of discomfort.

Girl eating a hamburger

It is also important to stay hydrated; drinking too much before you go to sleep will keep you running to the bathroom all night, but drinking enough water throughout the day is a wise choice. Dehydration may cause muscle cramps especially when you are lying down.

Eat a well-balanced diet full of proteins, vegetables, whole grains and fruits to help you wake up energized every morning.

9. You Need to Exercise More

Staying physically active is important for a healthy lifestyle. If you spend the majority of your day sitting, sleeping will be an issue for you. Try to perform 30 minutes of physical activity each day, even when you feel too tired. You can practice yoga, strength training, walking, jogging or even dancing; the key is to find the right exercise program that you will enjoy doing.

Man in hoodie and workout clothes stretching his legs against the railing on a bridge.

Exercising each day, even if it is something light, is one of the best things you can do for yourself for a good night’s sleep. This will keep your muscles and bones strong and flexible.

To Sum Up…

If you find yourself feeling exhausted and hitting the snooze button each morning, it may be time to reevaluate your daily habits. Sleep should be a priority, not a negotiation. A good night of sleep leads to so many positive benefits that will help you live life to the fullest.

Woman waking up with a smile while her partner sleeps behind her.


Author Bio

Aaron Stevenson is a public educator, health freak, and sleep enthusiast at SnoozeEZ. Aaron studies, researches, and blogs about all things sleep. This guy loves talking about sleep, but don’t disturb him while he’s actually sleeping!