Hitting the snooze button one too many times, feeling groggy, and yearning for that extra cup of coffee can all be signs that something is wrong with our sleep. Sleep becomes strained as we get older, and our patterns and habits can cause us to wake up tired, even if we think we’re getting plenty of shut-eye.
Get ready to feel revived. We’ve got everything you need to know about how sleep works, how to get quality sleep, and how to feel more energized during your day. Hint: It doesn’t require energy drinks or illegal drugs.
Why Do I Wake Up Tired?
Unless you’re a morning person, you probably don’t bounce out of bed immediately feeling ready to conquer a Mount Everest-like to-do list. Feeling tired and a little foggy when you wake up is normal. This is called sleep inertia and refers to the time it takes your body to transition from sleep to wakefulness.
Sleep inertia can last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, after which you should feel more awake and alert. If not, there could be a deeper issue with the quality of your sleep.
Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. You might need more or less, depending on how active you are. For instance, if you engage in a particularly lengthy or heavy workout, you probably need more sleep.
The amount of sleep you need is calculated on a nightly basis. Missing a night of sleep creates sleep debt or a lack of sleep that compounds. Just like that interest rate on your credit card, sleep debt accumulates night after night that you don’t sleep.
Here’s an example. If you need seven hours of sleep every night but only get five hours, you’ve created a sleep debt of two hours. If you repeat that pattern for five days, you have ten hours of sleep debt.
The only way to eliminate the sleep debt is to pay it down with (you guessed it) more sleep.
Poor Sleep Hygiene
Yes, there’s a right way and a wrong way to sleep. Falling into bed every night with your laptop or smartphone, sleeping in a hot room, or working out just before bed are all examples of poor sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene refers to the routine you take every night before bed and the environment in which you sleep. A good sleep hygiene routine might look like this:
- Finish exercise no later than three hours before bedtime
- Unplug from devices (like televisions, smartphones, and tablets) within an hour of going to bed to minimize blue light exposure
- Darken your room and turn the air conditioner down a few degrees
- Turn on a fan to help circulate air flow, add white noise, and create a good sleep environment
The steps you take before bed play a huge role in whether or not you get restful sleep or whether you’ll be staring at your alarm clock all night.
Caffeine or Alcohol Consumption
Caffeine can seem like your fastest solution when you have daytime grogginess. The problem with caffeine is that it has a half-life. That means that five hours after you’ve consumed caffeine, half of it still remains in your system.
If you drink a cup of coffee at 4:00 p.m. to help you finish your work day, half the caffeine inside will still be floating around in your bloodstream at 9:00 p.m., when you might be attempting to sleep.
Drinking a nightcap might seem like the perfect remedy for helping ease you into a good night’s sleep, especially if falling asleep is problematic. While alcohol may produce drowsiness that initially helps you fall asleep, it interferes with your body’s ability to reach deep sleep.
Your sleep patterns repeat throughout the night, switching from NREM to REM sleep and back again. Good quality sleep involves about 4-5 sleep cycle patterns, and alcohol has been shown to disrupt it, causing you to spend less time in REM sleep.
Drinking alcohol before bed also causes more wakefulness during the night. This is due to the digestion of the alcohol and the activity of the liver.
A diet filled with empty calories and insufficient nutrients can lead to sleep disruption and morning fatigue. A diet low in nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, D, E, and K were associated with more sleep problems.
Most of us can admit we don’t always make the best dietary choices, but if you’re depleted of one of these key nutrients, your sleep could be suffering, and your quality of life could suffer too.
If you have a sleep disorder (like sleep apnea or narcolepsy), discussing a treatment plan with your doctor or healthcare provider is best. They might recommend participation in a sleep study to help determine whether your medical condition is causing you to experience daytime sleepiness.
How Can I Support My Sleep and Energy?
Dealing with daytime tiredness is bothersome. It limits your ability to stay sharp, focused, and squeeze the most out of every day.
You can take steps to improve the quality of your sleep. Here are a few ways you can enjoy better sleep at night and higher energy levels during the day.
Don’t Eat Too Close to Bedtime
You could be self-sabotaging if you’re a night owl who loves to prowl in the kitchen. Eating right before you hit the sack can cause your blood sugar levels to spike, signaling your body that it’s time to be awake. Certain foods, like spicy foods, may also cause you to experience digestive issues like heartburn, which could make it difficult to sleep.
Not to mention, eating a heavy snack (we’re looking at you, pint of ice cream) before you go to bed isn’t the best way to support your body’s needs before bed or support your dietary goals during the day.
If you frequently feel hungry before bed, try fueling up on more calories or nutrient-dense foods during the day.
Maintain a Balanced Diet
A balanced diet pays dividends into your sleep bank. Eating healthfully is one of the easiest ways to support your overall wellness and take better care of yourself. Once you adopt a healthier, more nutrient-rich diet, you’ll notice an increase in the ability to get a full night of sleep and a more consistent, sustainable energy during the day.
An easy way to fill in dietary gaps and care for yourself is by adding a whole-food supplement. L’Evate You Vitality Daily Greens is a greens powder that contains 30 superfoods and nine greens in every scoop. You’ll get the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body craves to help keep your body functioning at full throttle.
L’Evate You Vitality Daily Greens also contains:
- M-Charge Complex, our proprietary ingredient blend designed to support mitochondria function and help you stay energized throughout your day.
- Digestive blend. Each scoop contains probiotics to help restore gut flora and prebiotics to support them.
- Antioxidant and anti-aging blend. Powerful antioxidants to help fight off oxidative stress that can damage cells and lead to unwanted health conditions.
- Mushroom blend. Our blend of mushrooms helps support healthy cholesterol and sodium levels, mood, and cognitive function.
Eating healthfully on the goal isn’t always easy, but with our greens powder, it can be.
Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Consistency is the key to success with virtually anything you attempt to accomplish. Being consistent in your sleep routine is essential for it to work. Repeat the same process before you go to bed each night, and try to go to sleep and wake up at the same times each day.
This will help your body produce melatonin when it’s needed and help signal your body that it’s time for sleep.
Revamp Your Sleep Habits
Spacing out in front of a show or scrolling your social media feed may feel relaxing, but it doesn’t help you wind down. Reevaluate your sleep hygiene and make changes that support better sleep.
- Avoid screens. Blue light can interfere with your body’s circadian rhythm. Avoid it by turning off the TV and unplugging from your smartphone and tablet.
- Dim the lights. Bright lights inhibit the production of melatonin. Dim the lights in your bedroom a half hour before it’s time to close your eyes to help prepare your body for sleep. If you have windows in your room that allow intrusive light, consider buying blackout curtains.
- Give yourself at least half an hour to wind down before bed. Try relaxing activities like reading a book, journaling, or listening to meditative music.
- Make sure your bedroom is comfortable. Ideally, a cooler temperature is best for inducing sleep. If you find you wake up hot, consider less bedding. If your mattress is too firm or too soft, replace it.
- Many people find white noise helpful for sleeping. A fan, white noise machine, or smartphone app may produce white noise that helps you fall asleep better.
Your sleep habits are essential for helping you get to sleep and stay asleep. If one piece of the puzzle is missing, you could end up missing out on sleep.
Get Enough Exercise
Not spending enough of your energy during the day can result in a body that simply isn’t tired when it should be. Regular exercise helps expend energy and prepare your body for sleep.
Be sure to finish exercising at least three hours before you plan to go to bed. Exercising too close to bedtime can interfere with your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
The Bottom Line
Waking up tired is frustrating, but the reason why it’s happening is probably an easy fix. Support your health and your sleep by taking steps to optimize your health and regulate your sleep cycles. L’Evate You has solutions to help you support your health and your whole body, so you can enjoy a happier, more energetic lifestyle.
Module 7. Napping, an Important Fatigue Countermeasure, Sleep Inertia | NIOSH | CDC
Healthy Sleep Habits | American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Alcohol and Sleep | Sleep Foundation.org
Nutrition and Sleep: Diet’s Effect on Sleep | Sleep Foundation