Waking up Tired and No Energy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Every single person wakes up without energy from time to time or feels more tired than they were before they fell asleep. For the most part, waking up without energy is not a serious medical problem or a source of concern.

If the person wakes up with tiredness and fatigue more and more frequently, it can mean changing sleep habits is necessary. Keep reading this post to find out the reasons you keep waking up tired and no energy, and how to wake up in the morning and not feel tired.

Factors That Affect Energy Levels

Before we focus on the reasons for waking up with no energy, it’s important to address an important subject – factors that influence your energy levels during the day. You see, energy fuels your body and allows you to perform basic functions. But its levels don’t remain the same during the day, they fluctuate, go up and down and change under certain circumstances. The key factors that may influence energy levels include:

  • Nutrition – The most important factor that influences the levels of energy in the body is your diet. Foods you eat can either boost your energy or impair it
  • Physical activity – What you do with energy intake (food) matters a lot in how energetic you are during the day 
  • Hormonal balance – Hormones regulate a wide array of processes in our body, so it comes as no wonder imbalances of a certain hormone or more of them can affect our energy. Good examples here are thyroid hormones and testosterone, or estrogen in cases of why am I so tired lately female questions
  • Sleep – How much you sleep directly influences your energy levels. Sleep is when you “recharge” your batteries, relax, and get ready for the next day. For that reason, sleep deprivation can deplete your energy levels and cause fatigue
  • Other factors – Besides the abovementioned, other factors that affect your daily energy levels include water intake, stress, medications, oxygen uptake, general health, and wellbeing. Menopause could be behind low energy levels in females, for example
Factors That Affect Energy Levels

Why Do I Waking up Tired and No Energy?

Waking up tired after eight hours of sleep happens due to several possible reasons. They are: sleep inertia, exposure to blue light, lack of sleep hygiene practice, unhealthy lifestyle, sleep disorders. Below, we’re going to address these causes.

Sleep Inertia

Sleep inertia is a normal part of the waking process; it’s a feeling of disorientation, grogginess, drowsiness, and cognitive impairment immediately after waking up. That happens because when you’re waking up, the brain doesn’t automatically become alert or awoken.

It transitions to the wakeful state gradually. If you’re not careful enough, you can fall asleep again. Have you ever woken up due to an alarm, turned it off, and fell asleep right after? Well, you fell asleep due to sleep inertia, your brain wasn’t awake entirely.

For that reason, one of the biggest causes of fatigue after waking up is sleeping inertia, because it slows down cognitive and motor skills. Duration of sleep inertia ranges from a few minutes up to an hour.

The actual cause of sleep inertia remains unknown, but scientists theorize it could be a protective mechanism that helps maintain sleep in moments of unwanted waking. So, if you’re wondering “why am I always tired and have no energy”, this could be the reason.

Speaking of sleep inertia, it’s also useful to mention a state of sleep drunkenness. If you wake up suddenly after a few hours of deep sleep and are in a confused state, you’re experiencing sleep drunkenness or confusional arousal.

In this state, your brain isn’t fully awake but you can still perform basic functions like walking and talking. One episode of sleep drunkenness lasts up to 30 or 40 minutes. Some people don’t even remember they had it.

You are more likely to experience these problems and sudden episodes of extreme fatigue if you don’t get enough sleep generally, work in shifts, or if you set your alarm earlier than usual.

SOLUTION: Certain lifestyle modifications can help manage or avoid sleep inertia. To avoid this problem you may want to strive to get enough sleep and limit your daily power naps to a maximum of 30 minutes. Drink a cup of coffee after waking up and strive to sleep in a room that isn’t too hot or cold.

Lack of Sleep Hygiene Practice

Sleep hygiene is defined as a practice and habit necessary for good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness. Lack of adequate sleep hygiene can impair quality sleep. Some examples of poor sleep hygiene include having a bad nighttime routine, long nap times during the day, looking at phones or laptops within two hours before sleep, a too hot/bright/loud sleep environment, and having a bad pillow or mattress.

Since inadequate sleep hygiene impairs the quality of sleep, you are bound to wake up tired in the morning and feel like your energy levels are low. Sometimes you wake up frequently during the night or struggle to fall asleep. In the morning it may feel like you haven’t slept at all, even though you did, and tiredness doesn’t allow you to focus on work or daily errands.

SOLUTION: As much as lack of sleep hygiene is a frustrating problem, it’s still manageable. How to stop feeling tired in the morning? The most important thing here is that you need to be in the best position to sleep every night. For that reason, you should strive to have a regular sleep schedule.

By that, we mean your bedtime and waking times should be the same every day. It also helps to have a pre-bed routine, pleasant bedroom environment, and healthy habits during the day. Also, your daily naps should not be too long as they could disrupt your bedtime routine and thereby impair sleep hygiene.

Blue Light Exposure

Exposure to blue light during the night is a common cause of waking up tired and without energy. The greatest source of blue light during the night is, as you can guess, technology such as a laptop, tablet, phone, or TV. These devices may be entertaining, but they could be preventing you from getting a much-needed good night’s rest.

As a result, you feel tired in the morning and have no energy to go through the day. It’s not uncommon for people to say I wake up tired and have no energy, but they kept watching TV too long and had serious exposure to blue light the night before.

Why does this happen? First of all, blue light is not necessarily a bad thing. During daylight, it can make us more alert and boost our mood. But this is not the effect you want to achieve in bed when the whole focus is on getting enough sleep. Plus, blue light may suppress the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that controls your circadian rhythm.

SOLUTION: There’s a lot you can do to fix this problem and finally get quality sleep that will increase energy levels, instead of decreasing them. Make sure to avoid screen time for at least two to three hours before bedtime.

At night you may want to use dim red lights, which don’t exhibit such a powerful melatonin-suppressing effect. It’s also useful to expose yourself to a lot of bright light during the day and use blue-blocking glasses at night when using electronics.

Nowadays there are apps and device features with blue light filters that reduce your exposure to this type of light. These are not just limited to tablets and phones, there is software such as f.lux that you can use on your laptop or computer too.

Unhealthy Lifestyle

We wake up tired due to tons of reasons. An unhealthy lifestyle is one of them. A sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise can impair the quality of your sleep and cause no energy after waking up.

Getting some exercise during the day can help us get a good night’s rest. But exercise needs to be during the day because at night it can delay sleep. This is why a person can have no energy in the morning but does at night. Other unhealthy lifestyle-related factors that could lead to no energy after sleeping all night include a high intake of fatty, greasy food, especially close to bedtime.

The same applies to alcohol and caffeine. Not spending enough time in the sun can also have the same result. Stress is a major contributor to your energy and sleep quality too. 

SOLUTION: The solution to the above mentioned problem is pretty obvious. The goal is to adopt healthy lifestyle habits that will improve your wellbeing and thereby quality of sleep. Regular exercise is crucial, but strive to do your workouts in the morning or during the day.

A well-balanced diet can do wonders for your energy levels and quality of sleep. Instead of ignoring stress, you should be proactive and manage it by doing something relaxing that helps you feel better e.g. deep breathing technique. Try not to eat snacks at night and avoid alcohol and caffeine close to bedtime. Go out and try to spend some time in the sun and fresh air (don’t forget sunscreen). 

Sleep Disorders

Sometimes our sleep is poor, even if our lifestyle is healthy. Now you’re probably wondering why am I always tired even though I get enough sleep? If that happens to you, it could indicate you have a sleep disorder. People who suspect they have a sleep disorder need to visit their doctor, who will diagnose the problem and recommend the most suitable treatment.

Sleep Disorders

The most common sleep disorder is sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type of sleep apnea, affects between 2% and 9% of adults in the US, but the prevalence could be bigger since many cases are undiagnosed. Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder and it causes periodic pauses in breathing during sleep.

Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, waking up with a dry mouth, gasping for air during sleep, headache in the morning, no energy even after sleeping. People often do not realize that they have this disorder, but their partners and significant others do.

Some people may complain that I woke up with no energy to their partners only for their significant other to share that they’re hearing loud snoring, which encourages a person to see the doctor. 

Another common sleep disorder is insomnia. Numbers show about 30% to 35% of adults have brief symptoms of insomnia, 15% to 20% have short-term insomnia disorder, and 10% of adults in the US have chronic insomnia.

Insomnia is a sleep disorder wherein a person has difficulties falling or staying asleep. People with insomnia often wake up during the night, wake up too early, and have problems going back to sleep. They may also experience tiredness after waking, irritability during the day, depression, and low energy. Short-term insomnia is common and usually triggered by stress and may cause no energy after sleeping.

Sleep movement disorders may also lead to waking up tired with no energy. Basically, sleep movement disorders are conditions indicated by movement before or during sleep. In turn, it’s difficult for a person to fall or stay asleep. These disorders include restless leg syndrome, bruxism (teeth grinding during sleep), and periodic limb movement disorder.

SOLUTION: if you keep waking up with no energy due to a sleep disorder, you need to manage that specific problem. In case you don’t have a diagnosed sleep disorder, and you keep waking up tired despite a healthy lifestyle and other factors, you may want to see the doctor who will diagnose the problem.

Upon diagnosis, you will receive the most suitable treatment recommendation. To tackle bruxism you may need to wear a mouthguard in bed. Sleep apnea treatment requires weight loss and the use of devices that will make it easier for you to breathe when sleeping.

Conclusion

If you have ever wondered why you wake up tired and with no energy, this post explained the most common culprits. It all comes down to the quality of sleep you’re getting.

For that reason, a healthy lifestyle is crucial. Remember, a healthy lifestyle improves the quality of your sleep and thereby helps you feel energized and alert in the morning.

FAQs

  1. Why Do I Have No Energy When I Wake Up?

Waking up without energy is a common problem. The most common reason is sleep inertia, a normal part of the sleeping process. It means your brain is not instantly awake, rather it gradually goes to a wakeful state. In other words, you don’t have energy when you wake up because various factors influence the body’s ability to get a good night’s rest.

  1. Why Am I So Tired When I Wake Up Every Morning?

You may be tired after waking up due to several reasons ranging from sleep inertia to exposure to blue lights, unhealthy lifestyle, lack of proper sleep hygiene, and sleep disorders. All these problems are manageable, though.

  1. Is Tiredness a Symptom of COVID?

Yes. One of the symptoms of COVID-19 is tiredness or fatigue.

  1. Why Am I So Tired Even Though I Slept Well?

There are many reasons you are tired after sleep. One of the reasons can be that you went to bed too late or you have a sleep disorder that is yet to be diagnosed. Sometimes you just need more sleep. For an adult, seven to nine hours of sleep is required to function normally during the day.

Dr Ahmed Zayed

Dr. Ahmed Zayed holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, Dr. Ahmed spends his time outside the hospital, either reading or at the gym.

Wholesomealive.com -a blog about Healthy Living
Logo