Feeling Like I Can’t Wake Up: Causes, And How To Beat It

Updated August 10, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

Ever felt like you’re stuck in a bad sleep routine? You’re not alone. Most people feel like they are struggling to get the right amount of sleep at some point in their lives. Some wake up at 3 am and can't get back to sleep anymore. However, waking up in the morning and feeling tired all day can be debilitating for some people.

If you want to improve your sleep habits and feel refreshed when you wake up every day, the first step is to understand why you are struggling. This article will tell you about some of the most common causes of sleep issues and what you can do to beat them.

Remember, if you feel like you are really struggling with a sleep disorder, you should see your physician or find an online doctor. They will provide the medical advice, diagnosis, and treatments you need to overcome your sleep disorder and get your sleep inertia back to normal.

What Is Sleep Inertia?

If It’s Hard To Wake Up In The Morning, Changes May Be In Order

If you’re constantly tired in the morning or feel like you can’t wake up on time, you might be struggling with a sleep disorder that is causing you to experience sleep inertia.

Sleep inertia, sometimes called sleep drunkenness or excessive sleepiness, is the transitional state between sleep and consciousness. It’s that hazy, can’t-get-out-of-bed feeling that makes it so hard to get your day started. We are all familiar with it, but some of us experience it more often than others — it’s what makes you feel like you can never wake up. Medically reviewed studies have found that sleep inertia can have some dangerous consequences for physical and mental health.

If you feel like you are always struggling with morning fatigue, consider talking to a doctor. Sleep paralysis, obstructive sleep apnea, or another treatable sleep disorder might be causing that excessive sleepiness in the morning. Medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment will help. You can also try a few at-home tricks to reduce morning fatigue and get better quality sleep.

Sleep Quality And Mental Health

Getting a good night’s sleep matters — more than you might think. Several medically reviewed studies point to a link between sleep deprivation and mental health issues. In fact, according to the APA, just an extra 60-90 minutes of sleep per night can improve your concentration and memory, boost your mood, and treat all kinds of mental and physical health issues.

It’s common to experience anxiety in the morning if poor sleep quality is impacting your mental health. Not only do you feel tired when you wake up, but you may have racing thoughts or anxiety as soon as you get out of bed. This is a common consequence of sleep inertia. Anxiety in the morning can impact your whole day and can be exasperated by drinking caffeine — which is difficult to avoid when you’re tired!

Getting that extra 60-90 minutes of sleep every night will help to tackle mental health issues. Medically reviewed treatments for sleep disorders, along with small changes to your daily routine, can help you to get the quality sleep you need to stay healthy.

Medical Conditions That Impact Sleep Quality

Several legitimate medically reviewed and studied conditions can impact your sleep and cause you to experience sleep inertia. While day-to-day changes can do a lot to help you improve your sleep and wake up refreshed if you are struggling with a serious sleep disorder, getting medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment is the best way forward.

Here are some common medical conditions and sleep disorders that can cause you to feel like you can’t wake up:

Obstructive sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes breathing to stop irregularly and start during sleep. If you snore loudly and always wake up and instantly feel tired in the morning, you might be struggling with sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep caused by this condition can seriously disrupt your circadian rhythm (sleep patterns) and make it much harder to wake up on time.

Sleep Paralysis: Sleep paralysis is a symptom commonly associated with serious sleep disorders. During sleep paralysis, you might feel like you are awake but can’t move. It’s also common for people experiencing sleep paralysis to have racing thoughts or anxiety or to feel like they are in a waking nightmare.

While sleep paralysis isn’t harmful on its own, it can cause obstructive sleep and worsen sleep inertia. If you regularly experience sleep paralysis, you should talk to a doctor about the best diagnosis or treatment.

Ilona Titova/EyeEm

Insomnia: Chronic insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders. If you have insomnia, you might have a hard time falling asleep, wake up in the middle of the night, and experience morning fatigue or anxiety in the mornings. Insomnia can also be a symptom of serious mental health issues, like anxiety and depression. A licensed therapist will provide medical advice to overcome insomnia and get a better night’s sleep.

Chronic Fatigue: Like sleep paralysis, chronic fatigue is a symptom associated with several medical conditions. While morning fatigue is usually caused by poor sleep quality, chronic fatigue, or feeling like you’re tired all day, no matter what could be a sign of a more serious condition. Modern research on fatigue shows that it should be taken seriously — if you feel like you’re tired all the time, consider talking to an online doctor or therapist.

Work Sleep Disorder: Shift work sleep disorder can impact people who work night shifts. If you must regularly adjust to sleeping during the day, instead of at night, that change to your circadian rhythm might lead to insomnia or other sleep-related issues. It might help to talk to your co-workers or other people who deal with shift work sleep. Hearing related stories can be a great way to get some advice and learn how to normalize your sleep schedule around your job.

Fatigue-Fighting Hacks To Supercharge Your Mornings

We’ve covered some of the disorders and conditions that can impact your sleep inertia. But aside from medically reviewed treatments, what can you do to shake that feeling that you can’t wake up?

Here are a few fatigue-fighting hacks to supercharge your mornings. These little changes to your daily routine can go a long way to help you beat sleep inertia, get better sleep, and wake up feeling like you have the energy you need to tackle your day.

  1. Get Moving:

Exercise is one of the best ways to tackle sleep inertia. You might have trouble waking up in the morning for many reasons, including obstructive sleep or sleep deprivation caused by your shift work schedule. But if you want to shake off that sleepiness, don’t take the chance to hit snooze again. Get up, and get moving.

You don’t need an intense morning exercise routine — even just light stretching or a quick walk will help.

  1. Stay Hydrated:

Did you know you can lose sleep to dehydration? Just like when you’re exercising, your body needs plenty of water to get through a full night’s sleep. While most of us are tempted to reach for a caffeinated beverage first thing in the morning, one of the best things you can do for your body and mind is to start with water instead. Drinking caffeine in the mornings is okay — make sure you stay hydrated by having water first.

Drinking alcohol before bed will also dehydrate you. If you have a drink at night, it’s recommended to drink plenty of water before you go to bed so that you don’t lose any sleep to dehydration.

  1. Avoid Spending Too Much Time In Bed:

If you lay in bed for several hours before bedtime, you might have issues falling asleep or waking up on time. Medically reviewed research has shown that staying out of bed until you are really ready to fall asleep can improve your sleep quality — you should think of your bed as a place of relaxation, not a place for working, reading, or watching TV.

  1. Limit Screen Time:
Getty/Vadym Pastukh
If It’s Hard To Wake Up In The Morning, Changes May Be In Order

Smartphones, laptops, and television screens all admit a blue light that encourages us to stay awake and alert. So, if you’re looking at a screen right before bed, you might struggle to fall asleep, even if you feel tired.

You should also be conscious of the types of media you are consuming before bedtime. Medically reviewed studies show that fast-paced shows and movies can lead you to experience racing thoughts, as well as night terrors or lucid dreams after you fall asleep. For better sleep, spend at least an hour away from your phone or TV before you go to bed.

Getting Help

Feeling like you can’t wake up in the morning, dealing with anxiety in the morning, or struggling to fall asleep at night are all challenges that a licensed online therapist can help you with. Alongside trying some of those fatigue-fighting hacks to supercharge your morning, you might want to consider seeking medically reviewed advice from a professional.

You might be struggling to wake up in the morning for several reasons. Hopefully, this article gave you some insight into some of the common causes of sleep disorders and how to overcome them. For additional information, medically reviewed treatments, and advice on other health topics, it might help find online therapy services like Regain. There’s never any shame in getting professional help!

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