Do We Get Enough Sleep and Why Do We Wake Up Feeling Tired?

Do We Get Enough Sleep and Why Do We Wake Up Feeling Tired?

Have you ever felt sluggish, tired, lethargic, and sleepy even after having a full night’s rest? It is common to feel dead tired and sleepy in the day. These symptoms which happen during the daytime can be linked to your health and sleep habits.

There are various reasons why you might undergo daytime drowsiness and before you go to a doctor or take any medications, you need to understand on why it happens and how you can overcome it.

Having Right Amount of Sleep at Night

Are you sleeping regularly for 8 hours every night however, you are still tired in the day? So, what could be the reason? Eight hours of sleep is just a guideline. The eight-hour sleep guideline is routinely researched as the number of sleeps which most people need to have. But it won’t work for everybody, and keep in mind that you need to adjust a lot (maybe a little) to make sure that you get it right.

Fine Tuning Your Body Clock

Just like too little sleep, too much sleep can be quite bad. You need to dial to your personal body clock to feel refreshed, and ready to handle the day to day activities. For this you need to find out the correct time you must get up in the morning. For that you must count back 7.5 hours as the best time to get out of your bed in the morning. Here, this 7.5 hour is a great and perfect benchmark as for an average person, five ninety-minute sleep cycles alternating among sleep and deep sleep is needed.

Frankly, it is better if one wakes up in between a deep sleep cycle than the middle of one. If you wake up in middle of the REM then it can really make you feel groggy the whole day. And if you wake at the time of the non-REM, then you will really feel alert and attentive the entire day. There is no harm in trying this 7.5 hour of sleep duration and you might test it for three to four days. Most importantly, if you can wake up by yourself before the alarm goes off, then this is the perfect bedtime for you.

Now if you are really trusting or go for the alarm clock wake up schedule, then it is better if you move your bedtime back to fifteen minutes every three to four days till you can wake up yourself before the alarm goes off.

As your body slowly perfects the internal sleep clock, you will easily be able to remain consistent to it. Keep in mind that the less you vary from the normal sleep pattern, the more and better alert you will be the whole day, thereby making sure that you do the day-to-day functions in the proper manner.

Is There A Neurobiological Reason?

While the previous few hours that you wake up right in the morning, you would have spent most of your time in the REM sleep, and that too dreaming. Here, the interesting part is that your brain would be in the active state while it is dreaming and will have consumed a huge amount of the energy molecules called as ATP. Here the ‘A’ stands for the adenosine.

Now the release and production of the adenosine present in your brain is simply linked to the metabolic activity while you are sleeping and there is somewhat a direct correlation among the increasing levels of drowsiness and the adenosine present in your brain. Why?

Well, it is simple, as the adenosine is nothing but a neurotransmitter which turns off the neurons activity that is responsible for making you attentive and aroused. Therefore, you end up waking up drowsy as the adenosine debris is collected by your brain while you are dreaming.

With Whom You Slept Last Night?

There were couple of researches done by various medical and scientific universities and they used the metrics of couples who sleep in pair. The sleep quality of these couples was investigated and that too for the proper balance of the REM and non-REM sleep, even including the subjective view of how they are sleeping.

As per this research, for women who share their bed with men, it has a negative effect on the sleep quality. But having sex before sleep mitigated the subjective report of the women without compromising the objective results that is making a balance among the REM and non-REM which are still abnormal.

But for men, the sleep efficiency won’t get reduced because of the presences of a female partner irrespective of whether they are having sexual contact. But in comparison for women, the subjective quality of the sleep patter of men sleeping alone is low.

So, it means that men benefit a lot when sleeping with women while women don’t get any benefit from sleeping with men, unless there is sexual contact that precedes the sleep and there are chances that their sleep might suffer too.

Going to Bed Late at Night

Individuals who stay out late and tend to get up late performs best and are active both physically and mentally, and that too in the late evening or afternoon. However, evening individuals are more likely to suffer from poor quality sleep and other sleep disorders like daytime dysfunction and sleep related anxiety when compared to the morning-type individuals.

Here the more disconcerting aspect is that late bedtime is commonly related to decreased hippocampal volume among the healthy and young individuals. Most importantly, the reduction in the hippocampus is often related or you can say leads to impaired learning and memory abilities.

Going to Bed Hungry

What you had before bedtime will also improve the chances of having a good sleep at night. Various studies have shown that eating some candy or anything sweet will create drowsiness. Sugar levels which are elevated will increase the neuron’s activity which can in turn promote sleep.

These so-called sleep neurons are located in the region of the brain that doesn’t have the blood-brain barrier, so when the presences of sugar is sensed in the blood, it will really make you drowsy. This is the reason why you might feel like taking a small nap after having a huge meal. Plus, this is one of the major evidences showing the basic need of sugar for your brain in order to do the day to day functions.

What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

Although scientists haven’t been able to make the discovery of why we sleep, they have indeed discovered that we need to have somewhat 6-8 hours of sleep every day. By not getting enough sleep, we are more likely going to feel irritated and sometimes pick fights and our focus will be entirely on the negative feelings and memories. The emotional volatility is simply possible because of the impaired ability that the frontal lobes must have to maintain control over the emotional limbic system.

In addition, you won’t be able to follow most of the conversations and most likely, there are chances for you to lose focus while the conversation happens. The sleep deprivation will reduce the memory storage and sometimes you might end up remembering events which never occurred. There are chances that extreme sleep will also lead to making unwanted decisions and there is a possibility of having extreme visual hallucination.

Keep in mind that by not getting enough amount of sleep on consistent basis, will sometimes put you at the risk of various diseases like cancer, developing autoimmune disorder, depression and metabolic syndrome. Now the question that comes to your mind is why, well, recent studies and experiments have proven that sleep is necessary for purging the brain to do normal activities and remove abnormality. Also, it helps to delete the unwanted toxins, proteins which can easily accumulate and sometimes increases the chances of having dementia during the old age.

Sleeping in Dark Bedroom

Some of you might love sleeping in utter darkness, however, you never realize that the blackout curtains of yours might sometimes the major culprit for the tiredness. Without the daylight seeping into your window, your internal clock won’t know the difference from day and night. Also, the exposure to sunshine in the early morning is a signal to your brain that the time has arrived for you to wake up and make you feel more refreshed.

Late Night Gadgets & Technology

In today’s era, it is quite hard to be disconnected from the world. However, the harsh and bright blue light from your laptop, TV and phone will stimulate your brain and it will make the difficult for you at night when you hit the sack. It is important that you shut off or avoid using any technology an hour before going to bed. If that is not possible, you can at least power down the phone, just save the Instagram scrolling for the next day.

Huge Amount of Distractions

Being in a busy city and living the fast phase life, you might find it tough to tune into the barking of the dogs and honking of the cars, especially at night. Getting up at middle of the night will make you feel extra tired the next day.

So, for removing such kind of unnecessary distractions, you can invest in gadgets like white noise machine or run the fan at low so that you can cut out the sound which might wake you up. You even have the option to silence the outdoor noises but there is absolute control over the noise inside your home. You need to think about fixing the running toilet of yours and get your phone to silent mode as sometimes the 2 or 3 am notification might really affect your slumber.

Huge Rounds of Coffee

Most dieticians and health experts feel that one needs to avoid consuming caffeinated beverages at mid-afternoon or earlier. Studies show that caffeine will interrupt the melatonin flow, which is nothing but a chemical that puts one to sleep and drinking a bunch of coffee each day will really harm your sleep pattern. Also, by being awake, the caffeine will lead to heartburn and will make sleeping quite uncomfortable

Food Consumed

Sometimes you might have a bad sleep cycle due to the food that you had. A healthy lifestyle will lead to healthier sleep which is specifically for your diet. Food items which are high in fat, sugar and processed carbs are often associated to daytime sleepiness.

Plus, you need to avoid food items which can cause indigestion, heartburn, and acid reflux like tomato sauce, spicy food and even citrus fruits. Heartburn increases when you are lying down as the acids will creep into your esophagus and will in turn burn the sensitive lining.

Not Being A Morning Person

As per science and medical studies, there are two kinds of people, night and morning people; these are directly related to your circadian system. Now the circadian system is nothing but a region consisting of 20,000 nerve cells which can keep body on schedule all around the day, right from regulating the hormone levels and when you are feeling tired.

Some people might be ‘phase advanced’ which means that you will feel tired sometimes early in the evening. While there are ‘phase delayed’ which means they won’t be tired until it is late at night. Of course, you might not be a morning person which is your body’s biology, still you can easily hack this changeable system.

By sticking to regimented sleep pattern and schedule and by removing all kinds of unnecessary light before hitting the sack will assist you in being tired earlier and getting up earlier in the morning.

To conclude, a good night sleep isn’t the amount of the shuteye you get every day. It is important that you sleep in a quality environment which can encourage your sleep. So, it means that you need to part from the blinds of the sunlight and turn off your device and avoid taking caffeine and eating good food. It does good for your body in the long run and helps in weight management.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.

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