Quick Ways to Banish Morning Fatigue

fatigue

We all have those days when we don’t feel like leaving bed. 

But for many people, morning fatigue is a regular thing.

If you wake up tired, you’ll also feel fatigued for the rest of the day. 

The problem is that it quickly becomes a vicious circle of life, hard to break free from. 

Not only does this make your day feel unproductive and never-ending, but it also hampers your willpower and motivation to do your regular routines. Sipping coffee doesn’t solve it, either.

There could be many reasons for morning fatigue, and the best strategy to beat it is to understand the leading cause and work on it.

What causes morning fatigue?

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Sometimes, it is okay to feel groggy in the morning, but it should not be an everyday story as it may happen due to some underlying reason. 

Here are some explanations for why you get up tired in the morning.

Inadequate Sleep

Poor sleep health can significantly affect your energy levels. 

It may occur due to stress and unhealthy lifestyle habits. Good quality sleep is essential to keep your energy levels up and wake up refreshed every morning.

Poor sleep health alters the balance of hunger hormones, increases the cravings for sugary and fatty foods, and increases the risk of obesity, which can further hamper our energy levels.

An individual with sleep deprivation may experience drowsiness and difficulty concentrating and performing fine motor tasks 1).

Sleep Disorders

Morning fatigue is common among people with sleep disorders. These are the conditions in which the person finds sleeping difficult. 

1. Sleep Apnea

A sleep disorder in which breathing halts during sleep at periodic intervals. Snoring, morning headaches, waking up tired with a dry mouth, breathlessness, and wheezing while sleeping are common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea.

2. Insomnia

Insomnia or lack of sleep may occur due to stress, trauma, or new surroundings. It can be characterized by low energy levels, upset mood, tiredness on walking, irritability, and frequent waking up 2

Insomnia can be acute or chronic. Acute insomnia usually lasts from a night to some weeks, while people with chronic insomnia might experience it for a month or more.

3. Restless Leg Syndrome

In this sleep disorder, there is an irresistible whim to move and shake the legs to alleviate the uncomfortable sensation. People who experience daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and irritability tend to suffer from restless leg syndrome. This condition is more prevalent at night.

4. Narcolepsy

In this neurological condition, a person suddenly feels sleepy and extremely tired during the daytime. This daytime sleepiness or sleep attacks may happen multiple times a week. 

Narcolepsy affects the brain’s potential to regulate sleep-wake cycles. Some signs and symptoms are excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep paralysis, hallucinations, insomnia, and cataplexy (loss of muscle control).

Poor Sleep Hygiene

An unfavourable sleep environment can also affect sleep quality. 

For instance, experiencing constant back pain and stiffness with morning fatigue could be due to a flawed mattress or pillow.

Morning fatigue can also occur if the bedroom temperature is too high or too low, making it difficult to sleep. 

Faulty Dietary and Lifestyle Practices

Our day-to-day activities impact our sleep health to a great extent. Here are some factors to consider if morning fatigue is routine for you.

1. Sedentary Lifestyle

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Having a regular exercise schedule helps relieve everyday stress and promotes healthy sleep. Exercise has been associated with better sleep, and researchers say that exercise can also decrease the severity of obstructive sleep apnea. 

Therefore, exercise could be a valuable behavioural therapy for banishing morning fatigue 3.

2. Alcohol Intake

Source: Freepik

Morning fatigue could be an outcome of alcohol abuse. It has been observed that people with alcohol-related issues often have insomnia, sleep disorders, and constant fatigue.

Studies suggest people who use alcohol as a sleep aid are more tired and show lower daytime alertness. Alcohol intake before sleep is linked with a greater fatigue risk and severe daytime sleepiness 4

3. Intake of foods near bedtime that interrupt sleep

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Late-night meals and intake of fried, spicy, and fatty foods near bedtime can cause indigestion issues affecting sleep quality.

Similarly, caffeine intake before bedtime can also result in morning fatigue because caffeine, a stimulant, alerts our mind but blocks adenosine (a sleep-promoting chemical) receptors. 

Blue Light Effect

Do you habitually use mobile phones or tabs or watch TV right before bedtime? 

If the answer is yes and it is time to change it!

These electronic gadgets emit blue light or artificial light with a blue wavelength. Blue light tends to reduce the secretion of the melatonin hormone 5. This hormone accounts for a healthy circadian rhythm or natural sleep-wake cycle.

Source: Freepik

Low melatonin levels are correlated with an increased risk of conditions like diabetes, heart diseases, neurological conditions, and endocrine disorders 6.

Continuous disruptive sleep makes the person more likely to suffer from morning fatigue, and it is not just the sleep; blue light exposure before bed can also consequence in various health diseases.

Nutritional Deficiency

Another critical factor that determines our energy levels is our food choices.

Vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, iron, magnesium, vitamin C, and zinc are vital for energy metabolism and the smooth functioning of various metabolic processes. 

A lack of a well-balanced diet may cause deficiency conditions like anaemia, joint pain, muscle loss, and hypothyroidism, making us feel tired and lethargic throughout the day.

Hence, adequate intake of vitamins and minerals is vital for normal cognitive function and to enhance well-being by decreasing mental and physical fatigue. To fill the dietary gaps, one can also opt for multivitamin supplements. 

How to Get Rid of Tiredness or Fatigue After Waking Up

After understanding the causes, it is essential to explore how to prevent or reduce them. Let’s discuss simple ways to overcome morning fatigue and begin your day supercharged.

1. Have a glass of water after getting up

Dehydration has been linked with fatigue. We need water to function correctly. It lubricates our joints, regulates body temperature, and supports digestion and transport of oxygen and nutrients. 

Drink a glass of water after waking up to freshen your entire body. One may also add a few drops of lemon to it. 

2. Practice Yoga

Practising yoga and some stretching exercises in the morning helps improve muscle and joint flexibility, promote blood circulation, and aid in waking up in the morning.

A study 7 was conducted on 65 older men and women to evaluate the effect of yoga practice on sleep quality. Researchers concluded that yoga participants had fewer sleep disturbances and good sleep quality. 

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Another study performed in 2012 also stated that yoga is a safe and effective therapeutic intervention to attenuate chronic fatigue and related health symptoms 8.

Yoga benefits all age groups. It can help improve mental health issues and enhance sleep quality. Some common yoga asanas recommended during bedtime are standing forward bend (Uttanasana), corpse poses (Savasana), reclined butterfly (Bhadrasana), and legs up the wall (viparita karani). 

3. Enjoy a nutritious breakfast

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A nutrient-dense protein-rich breakfast is superb to kick-start your day. It helps fight fatigue and boost metabolism.

Opt for healthy options like eggs with toast, whey protein shake, fruit smoothie, paneer sandwich, and muesli with milk.

4. Reduce caffeine intake

A cup of coffee may be your escape route to knock out fatigue, but it may make you feel more fatigued later in the day.  

Excess caffeine intake can make you feel anxious and jittery. Hence, avoid beginning your day with caffeine or carbonated beverages containing caffeine.

If you like coffee, have a small cup instead of a big mug.

5. Wash your face after waking up

Spattering cold water on the face or a cold water shower in the morning is a helpful tip to activate your senses, improve blood circulation and boost alertness. 

6. Avoid sugar intake till lunch

Sugar intake in the morning might give you an instant energy bout, but eventually, you might feel drained. It is because sudden glucose spikes do not last long and cause a sudden drop. 

So if you are fond of eating breakfast cereals, read the nutrition facts and added sugar content thoroughly before buying.

7. Maintain a bedtime routine

Adequate sleep hygiene is a fruitful remedy for many health-related issues, including morning fatigue.

Fix your sleep and wake timings and stick to that even on weekends. Use a comfortable pillow and mattress and maintain a pleasant room temperature. Avoid heavy meals and blue light exposure an hour before bedtime.

These small changes in your habits can help maintain the internal biological clock, fall asleep quickly, and beat morning fatigue.

8. Exercising your breathing

Breathing exercises increase oxygen supply to cells and help us feel more awake and energetic. 

Deep breathing improves blood and oxygen flow to the brain to function optimally. It improves circulation, and energy levels, helps the body eliminate toxins, and reduces stress. It creates a connection between the mind and the body that may lead to greater self-awareness, mindfulness, and clear thinking 9.

9. Get sun-kissed

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Take out time for an early morning short walk. It helps boost serotonin levels and makes you energized. 

Numerous studies have linked sufficient sunlight exposure with lesser chances of depression, anxiety, and fatigue 10.

Sunlight regulates circadian rhythm and reduces stress. In addition, it is a natural vitamin D source, a nutrient essentially required to synthesize the sleep hormone – melatonin.

10. Keep stress under control

Stress eats up a lot of energy; therefore, it is better to introduce some relaxation activities in your daily routine to bust stress and improve energy levels. 

One can practice meditation, listen to music, spend quality time with friends and family, or play any of your favourite sports.

11. Minimize blue light exposure

Sunlight naturally supports our healthy circadian rhythms, but artificial lights can disrupt them because it is available 24/7 to us. 

These are some tips for handling light exposure at bedtime.

  • Turn off all the room lights at bedtime.
  • One can use an eye mask as it is convenient and non-addictive.
  • Avoid using electronic gadgets at bedtime.
  • During the day, go out and have some sunshine.
  • Wear glasses that have blue-light protection.
  • Limit your screen time as the day ends.

Why do I feel so tired in the morning?

There could be multiple reasons to feel tired in the morning, like sleep inertia, caffeine dependency, excess alcohol intake, and nutritional deficiencies.

Why am I so tired in the morning after 8 hours of sleep?

Even after 8 hours of sleep, one might feel sleepy or drowsy due to reasons like thyroid disease, a sedentary lifestyle, poor sleep hygiene, dehydration, and anaemia.

How do I wake up refreshed?

Maintain a bedtime routine.
Exercise regularly.
Avoid heavy meals at bedtime.
Avoid caffeine intake near bedtime.
Sleep in a sleep-friendly environment.
Avoid using mobile phones, laptops, etc., one hour before bedtime.

How to banish my sleepiness during day hours?

Maintain consistency with your sleep and wake-up time.
Exercise regularly.
Stay hydrated.
Avoid or limit alcohol intake.
Avoid late-night meals or snacks.

How do I get rid of sleep and feel fresh while studying?

Keep your room well-lit.
Take out 5-10 minutes in between and move.
Maintain hydration.
Sit upright.
Avoid staying hungry.

Is there any way to help with morning ‘brain fog’?

Consume a nutritious diet.
Maintain a healthy sleep schedule.
Exercise regularly.
Consume antioxidant-rich foods.
Keep your stress levels low.
Try supplements like Fish Oil, Multivitamins, and Ginkgo Biloba.

Why do I feel like sleeping when I try to concentrate?

There could be many reasons to feel sleepy and unable to focus.
Sleep deprivation.
Too much stress and anxiety.
Sedentary lifestyle.
Unhealthy diet.
A side effect of certain medications.

Is tea or coffee better for staying awake at the office?

Although both tea and coffee contain stimulants and can help you stay awake during work hours, there is no replacement for quality sleep and a healthy lifestyle.
Hence, it is better to improve sleep quality and reduce caffeine dependency.

References
  1. Mathew, G. M., Martinova, A., Armstrong, F., & Konstantinov, V. (2018). The role of sleep deprivation and fatigue in the perception of task difficulty and use of heuristics. Sleep Science11(2[]
  2. Fortier-Brochu, M., Beaulieu-Bonneau, S., Ivers, H., & Morin, C. M. (2010). Relations between sleep, fatigue, and health-related quality of life in individuals with insomnia. Journal of Psychosomatic Research69(5), 475–483[]
  3. Kline, C. E. (2014). The Bidirectional Relationship Between Exercise and Sleep. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine8(6), 375–379[]
  4. Stein, M. D., & Friedmann, P. D. (2006). Disturbed Sleep and Its Relationship to Alcohol Use. Substance Abuse26(1), 1–13[]
  5. Tähkämö, L., Partonen, T., & Pesonen, A. K. (2018). A systematic review of light exposure impact on human circadian rhythm. Chronobiology International36(2), 151–170[]
  6. Hardeland, R. (2012). Neurobiology, Pathophysiology, and Treatment of Melatonin Deficiency and Dysfunction. The Scientific World Journal2012, 1–18[]
  7. Bankar, M., Chaudhari, S., & Chaudhari, K. (2013). Impact of Long-term Yoga practice on sleep quality and Quality of Life in the elderly. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine4(1), 28[]
  8. Boehm, K., Ostermann, T., Milazzo, S., & Büssing, A. (2012). Effects of Yoga Interventions on Fatigue: A Meta-Analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine2012, 1–9[]
  9. The Effect of Breathing Exercise on Fatigue and Stress in Patients with Coronary Artery Diseases: A Randomized Controlled Trial. La Prensa Medica102(2[]
  10. Knippenberg, S., Damoiseaux, J., Bol, Y., Hupperts, R., Taylor, B. V., Ponsonby, A. L., Dwyer, T., Simpson, S., & van der Mei, I. A. F. (2013). Higher levels of reported sun exposure and not vitamin D status are associated with less depressive symptoms and fatigue in multiple sclerosis. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica129(2), 123–131[]
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