What Is Morning Fatigue?
Although it is not considered to be a serious medical condition, morning fatigue can be a serious drain on your life. Morning fatigue is the technical term for that feeling you get when you've slept plenty, but you're still tired. You wake up feeling tired. However, if you go back to sleep, you find that it doesn't help and that you still wake up tired.
There is no medical "cure" for this problem, as it isn't really a disease. It would be more accurate to describe morning fatigue as a symptom of other problems. Addressing this problem is not a straight and direct route. It is virtually impossible to know exactly why you are having this problem, but there are a variety of known solutions, and most of them are nothing more than simple behavior adjustments.
How Can I Stop Morning Fatigue?
In most cases, morning fatigue can be corrected through a change in your habits or your environment. You will need to examine the habits of your life as a whole and make corrections where necessary. It wouldn't be a bad idea to keep a journal and experiment with different methods. By tracking your results, you can get a better idea of what works for you and what doesn't. Each morning, rate your general energy level on a scale of one to ten and write it down.
Now that you have your journal, you are ready to begin. Look at the various methods below and start implementing them as soon as you can. You can try them one by one or in combination, depending on your preference.
Improve Your Body's Clock
Your body has a natural "sleep clock." The mechanics of this are a matter of detailed biology, but all you really need to know is that the body naturally rests in 90-minute cycles. During this time, the body and the brain are in varied states of rest and awakening. If you awaken at a time when your sleep cycle is at its deepest, you will retain a feeling that your rest has been interrupted (because it has). If, on the other hand, you wake up at a time when your sleep cycle is at its lightest, your body will feel much more ready to be awake.
This is why you should never use the snooze button. Napping for 5-10 more minutes isn't going to make you any less tired. In fact, it may cause you to wake up feeling even worse. It's all a question of timing. If you think about it, this explains a whole lot. Sometimes, you wake up, and you seem to practically bounce out of bed, ready to tackle whatever needs to be done. Other mornings, you barely crawl out of bed and mumble every curse word in the book as you reach for the coffee pot. It's not about the length of your sleep session; it's about the timing.
You can remedy this by trying to sleep in increments of 90 minutes. Setting your alarms in accordance with this principle can help a lot. If you wake up slightly before your alarm goes off (I don't know about you, but this happens to me frequently), go ahead and get up, since your body is obviously ready to do so.
Artificial blue light tricks the body's sleep cycle into thinking that it is daytime when it is dark outside. This is why sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods of time can disrupt the body's sleep cycle. It seems fair to assume that the same problem would exist with television and cellphones as well. Avoiding these things for a couple of hours before bedtime is a good idea. Try reading a book or doing something else that doesn't involve staring at a screen. If you don't enjoy reading, I recommend the use of audiobooks.
Practice Better Sleep Habits
Random actions produce random results. Correspondingly, a random sleep pattern will tend to produce random results in terms of how rested you feel. Morning fatigue, in many instances, is simply the eventual result of a random or semi-random sleep schedule that disrupts the body's natural clock and makes it want to sleep when it isn't time to sleep.
You can remedy this by setting a firm bedtime for yourself and sticking to it. This takes discipline, as you do not have your parents to put you to bed on time as you probably did when you were young. Setting a wake-up time is equally important, to ensure that you get the proper length of sleep. As stated before, you should try to time your sleep in increments of 90 minutes, but you should also aim to 6-8 hours of sleep each night to ensure that your body is getting the rest that it needs.
Anything you do to live a healthier lifestyle is likely to help your sleep issues. Good health, in general, leads to more restful sleep, but this is just a general rule. To be more specific, you should start with good hydration. Think about it like this: would it be unpleasant to go 6-8 hours without a drink of water or any other liquid? Well, your body does that every day. When you wake up, you need some water to get your body's systems going again. Your body is a machine, and hydration is one of the main things that keep it running.
The following study might be of interest. The study found that young women subjected to mild levels of dehydration experienced problems with concentration, task completion, headaches, and general moodiness. Considering that the subjects were only dehydrated to a mild degree, this is somewhat surprising.
You should try to get some light exercise in the morning. Anything that gets the blood flowing is likely to make you feel more awake. On a deeper level, this will kind of shock your body into realizing that the sleep cycle is over and it's time to get moving again. This exercise can take whatever form you like, but it need not be overly harsh. A few simple calisthenics or even just some stretching might be all you need. You might also try a cold shower, although that method is more than a little bit harsh.
Increase Sleep Quality
There are many things you can do to increase the general quality of your sleep. My personal favorite is a pre-sleep meditation. For those of you who have never meditated, rest assured that it isn't complicated. Meditation is simply the act of putting your mind in a different state of being through relaxation and focus.
You could literally research meditation methods all day, as there are a ridiculous number of different methods. But if you just want to try it out, do this: Sit in a quiet room, in a comfortable position. Some good music can help, but avoid anything with lyrics. Begin by trying to empty your mind of all conscious thought. You cannot rid yourself of unconscious thoughts, but that's fine. Just focus on quiet, dark nothingness. Do this until you feel that you have reached a state of complete emptiness.
At this point, begin focusing on something again. It might be an image in your mind or a certain set of words. Focus on this one thing and this one thing only. This can be used as a way to seek answers for life's various problems. It can also be used as a way to relax and clear your head. It doesn't rely upon any specific religious ideas, as all religions practice meditation in one way or another.
Or maybe you don't want to fool with that, and you want a more physical solution? Well, have you ever thought about soundproofing your bedroom? By doing this, you can ensure that outside noises will not keep you awake at night. This can be a real plus for those who live by the railroad tracks or near an airport or any other noisy location. Soundproofing a single room is really not that expensive, and not particularly difficult either. They even make designer soundproofing if you really want it to look nice.
There is always a possibility that your morning fatigue could be linked to a real medical condition. While this phenomenon is commonly experienced by many people, extreme cases are likely to indicate a larger problem. These problems can include anemia, sleep apnea, thyroid problems, coeliac's disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, glandular fever, or maybe just excessive stress and anxiety.
If your morning fatigue is more than just a minor issue and is accompanied by other negative symptoms, you might want to get checked out by your doctor and make sure that you don't have any of the above-listed health conditions. I don't want to encourage you to be paranoid, but it's always better to be safe now than to be sorry later.