Why Do I Wake Up Sleepy

It’s a paradox too many of us are accustomed to: waking up tired.

You’ve had what seems to have been a decent amount of sleep overnight, yet you feel like you’re riding in a fog. All you want to do is stay in bed under the covers and delay the inevitable journey to whatever you’re supposed to or not supposed to do with your day.

But a lot of this is completely natural, so don’t get too worried about it. Sleep inertia is a common symptom of waking up, the result of leftover adenosine, the hormone that causes us to feel tired and ready to go to bed.

Most of it dissipates during the restorative processes taking place in your brain overnight, but there’s an annoying few drops left that can take 30 to 90 minutes to go away.

Depending on what time you got up and when you need to get out of the house, sleep inertia can be dangerous if you’re not alert enough to drive or do other complex tasks. There are some things you can do to help yourself snap out of it, like rehydrating after going that eight or so hours without water, seeking out some sunshine, meditating first thing or squeezing in a workout.


Poor sleep habits — Do you have a scheduled bedtime aligned with the amount of sleep you need? Do you try to avoid eating, drinking and electronic devices 60 to 90 minutes before bedtime? Are you a nonsmoker?

Do you use nicotine at all, or drink alcohol or caffeine too close to bedtime?

Insomnia — It can occur for short periods during stressful events or be related to other health conditions such as chronic pain, depression, anxiety, diabetes, cancer, asthma, overactive thyroid and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

Talk to your health care provider if you suspect a medical issue might be costing you sleep.

Sleep apnea — This common disorder is evidenced by loud snoring, periods of not breathing
or gasping for air while asleep and a morning headache often, but not always, accompanied
by insomnia.

Medication — Some prescription drugs interrupt the normal sleep cycle, as can over-the-counter medications for colds and allergies, pain relief and herbal remedies.