You know the feeling: You went to bed when you should have, but you still woke up feeling foggy. Here’s how to wake up feeling rested in spite of this annoying sluggishness.
Don’t Interrupt Your Sleep at Night
According to the National Sleep Foundation, getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night is enough for most adults. If your normal sleep schedule puts you within this range, check your sleep quality instead. Interrupting your body’s natural 90-minute sleep cycles is often a reason for not waking up refreshed.
Do you have pets in your bed, a sick child, an aching back, a new baby, a neighbor’s party, a snoring partner or frequent trips to the bathroom? Experiment with your longstanding situation by not allowing animals in the bed, talking to your partner about snoring remedies or reducing your evening fluid intake to see if your sleep improves.
Stick to a Schedule
Going to bed later than normal may make it harder to fall asleep and cause you to wake up feeling “off.” The same thing happens when you take a long daytime nap. Your personal body clock tells you when to go to sleep and when to wake up naturally. This consistency in daily bedtime and wake time is key to feeling rested.
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Don’t Eat Too Late
Your digestive system is not meant to work hard while you’re unconscious, so if you eat a heavy late-night meal, you may struggle to fall (and stay) asleep because you’ve thrown your stomach off of its normal schedule. The National Sleep Foundation advises eating your last meal a few hours before bedtime. In addition, drinking alcohol and using nicotine or caffeine in the evening creates a stimulant effect that can take hours to wear off.
Exercise at the Right Time
Depending on your personal body clock, when and where you work out can have a profound influence on your sleep quality. If you’re an early riser, for example, run outdoors in the morning. This offers early activity and sunlight exposure that helps you sleep more soundly at the end of the day. If you want to stay up later, exercise in the late afternoon to let its energizing effects keep you awake even after the sun goes down.
Check Your Medications
So many prescriptions and over-the-counter products can cause restlessness, so check your medications and the prescribing instructions to make sure they’re not disturbing your sleep. Supplements such as the B-complex vitamins stimulate energy and can disrupt a sleep session, so take these early in the day.
Keep a Sleep Diary (or an App)
To delve deeper into your lifestyle, sleep habits and how you feel during the day, keep a sleep diary for a week to uncover clues as to what might be sapping your energy. Further, the SleepyTime app can help you determine the best time to go to bed and wake up, allowing you to avoid waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle, groggy and annoyed.
You may very well be getting that nightly seven to nine hours, but waking up tired after working through these options may warrant a visit to the doctor to determine whether you have a more difficult condition. Sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, mouth breathing, teeth-grinding, frequent nighttime urination (nocturia) and sleep-related acid reflux can all lead to fitful, interrupted sleep and waking less than rested.
Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.