Why Do I Wake Up Tired? 10 Possible Reasons

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Why do I wake up tired? Yeah, we’ve all been there. You know you’ve been having a harder time waking up in the morning, so you’ve been going to bed earlier to try to get more sleep.

But it never seems to matter how much sleep you get, you always greet the dawn as exhausted as you were when your head first hit that pillow. This is not only frustrating, but it’s also potentially detrimental to your life. 

Lack of sleep is a serious issue and for many of us, it’s as perplexing as it is discouraging. We’re going to give you a few reasons you might not be getting enough or quality sleep during the night and possibly some solutions on how to rectify this for the future. So here’s to a happy, healthy sleep with ten reasons why it might be avoiding you. 


   Sleep Apnea

Plenty of people snore while they sleep, but not that many people are as aware of it as they probably should be. Sleep apnea occurs when snoring happens at night. This is caused by your breathing passageways becoming blocked or closed, making breathing difficult.

In most cases, you stop breathing for a few seconds before the passageway opens up again. When this happens, you’ll suddenly begin gasping and sputtering, which may even wake you up.

This disrupts your natural sleep cycles, preventing the entering of REM sleep, which is the section of the cycle in which dreams are created. 

It’s also the most restful section, meaning we’re being denied the most restorative aspects of sleep. If you snore and you find yourself continually exhausted, see your doctor right away for help.

They may send you to a sleep center for a sleep study. This is where you’ll be hooked up to sensors to monitor you while you sleep to look for any issues that might be present. If you do have sleep apnea, you’ll be prescribed to wear a C-PAP machine, which you operate with a mask over your face.

This mask forces air into your passageways, preventing them from closing up and allowing you to breathe more easily at night. This prevents you from stopping breathing and allows you to fully enter REM sleep for proper, restorative rest that you so desperately need. 

The CPAP machines are a bit of a pain to get used to, but once you’ve adjusted to them, you won’t be able to imagine sleeping without them. Heck, you probably won’t want to try after experiencing what they can do for you.

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  Acid Reflux, AKA, Heartburn

Heartburn is annoying as hell and everyone knows it. But when acid reflux creates it in the middle of the night when you’re trying to sleep, it can bring about a whole new level of frustration.

The burning pain can wake even the soundest of snoozers and it’s often hard to get rid of. It’s usually caused by eating too close to bedtime, or else eating high-fat spicy, or acidic foods. 

Try to avoid medication for it, since it might upset your stomach, disrupting sleep even more. If it’s still a problem, try to drink about 8 oz of water mixed with a tablespoon of baking soda.

This should help to cool the reflux and temporarily soothe it, making it easier to fall asleep. Try to also sleep on your left side, since many seem to report that it helps.

  Clenching Teeth/Jaw

Bruxism. Ever heard of it? Yeah, we hadn’t either until we wrote this. It’s a condition that may be hard to find since you don’t even know you’re doing it. Your partner may complain about nighttime gnashing, or else you’ll wake up with a sore jaw in the morning.

Those are good indicators that you have a tendency to clench your teeth or jaws too hard while you sleep. Your dentist can usually tell right away if you’re grinding your teeth at night and may prescribe you with a nightguard to help ease the tension a bit and save your teeth

The grinding can actually do harm to your teeth in the long run, slowly chipping them down and wearing away the enamel, so your dentist will most certainly be concerned for their health in that case.

This is what the nightguard is geared to help defend against. Not only will it protect your teeth from the unneeded wear and tear, it’ll also ease tension on the jaw, leading to less clenching, better sleep, and alleviated pain in the morning.

   The Need to Go

If you feel like you constantly have to use the bathroom at night, that could certainly keep you awake. This is an unfortunate side effect for many as they age since the bladder begins to lose some of its retention, making it harder to hold it during the night.

Even without this incontinence, your brain may be misfiring signals to the bladder whether you need to go or not, which can wake you up constantly. Even if you don’t wake up during this mental rigamarole, you’ll still feel exhausted from it upon awakening. 

Before going to bed, try to cut back on the drinks; coffee, tea, alcohol, etc. Use the bathroom first and foremost to empty your bladder entirely and make it easier for you to sleep through the urges.

If the problem persists, you may want to schedule a doctor’s visit to make sure there isn’t anything more sinister going on behind the scenes. Either way, you’ll feel a lot better when you can sleep through the night without a perceived visit to the porcelain throne. 


Restless Leg Syndrome is a particularly tricky one since you might annoy your partner by moving too much at night, or else wake up utterly tangled in blankets. Doctors aren’t sure what causes it, but they do know that it’s a condition where you constantly feel like you have to move your legs.

It can last the whole night or it can be periodic and infrequent. Either way, this constant sensation of signals is bound to disrupt whatever quality sleep you might have gotten, making you feel exhausted and drained before you even walk out the door. 

This one is well known for disrupting REM sleep and can possibly be triggered by any number of underlying conditions, such as thyroid problems and diabetes.

You can take medicine for it, as well as increase your intake of leafy vegetables for more vitamin B and folic acid. With RLS, you’ll often wonder “why do I wake up tired?” and often never even realize that your own body is royally screwing around with you.

   You’re Not Going to Bed at Your Body’s          Favorite Time

Believe it or not, your body has its own preferential bedtime. Some people are early birds, others are night owls, but very few can do both.

Sadly though, this one can’t always be helped, since job schedules aren’t as flexible as our body’s needs. Even having the full eight hours of sleep, if you’re a night owl going to bed too early and waking up too early, your brain will struggle to stop producing melatonin for sleep

Experiment with different bedtimes and waking times to try to find the combination your body reacts the best to. Once you figure it out, you may be surprised by how refreshed you feel when you wake up the following morning.

  You’re Staying in Bed For Too Long

You might be tempted to hit the snooze button a few dozen times every morning. Seriously, you need to stop that. You’re sabotaging yourself.

The average snooze is only about 7-9 minutes, meaning you’re not getting back into the proper REM sleep you need for deep, restorative sleep. If you have to have a snooze, try to limit it to just one use. 

Otherwise, set your alarm to one or two minutes before you actually need to be up to allow your brain a little time to adjust. This helps your brain better wake up and stop the production of sleep-inducing melatonin before you get started for the day.

It should help you feel a little less groggy and more awake faster. If you’re constantly hitting the snooze button and still asking “why do I wake up tired?”…Yeah. That’s probably why. Stop doing that.

  Poor Sleep Habits/Environment

You might be a bit confused on this one, but hear us out. Many people have different ways of winding down at night before settling in. Some people read, others write in their journals, and others play games or scroll through their phones for a bit.

That last one may be the issue. Backlit screens rely on blue light, which sends your brain false signals that it’s time to be awake and moving about. It now thinks it’s daytime when the complete opposite is true. This interrupts your circadian rhythm, which leads to poor sleep quality. 

You also might have an issue with your bedroom, strange as it sounds. Your room might not actually be dark enough, so ditching all electronics might be the course of action you have to take.

Your room should be entirely dark in an ideal world. If this isn’t doable, then settle for a soft light crack or else a nightlight on the wall. You also might not have your room at the optimal temperature for sleep. 

Cooler temperatures lead to better sleep, so if you’re keeping the heat on full blast, try turning it off and opening the window. If you get too cold, pile on the blankets instead of turning the heat up.

This makes it easier to control your heat output by simply removing the blankets, so it then becomes easier to sleep better.

  Lifestyle Choices

This one probably goes without saying. A healthy lifestyle leads to a healthy…well, life. The more you exercise throughout the day, the more tired and in need of rest your muscles will be, which accentuates the healing factor of REM sleep.

Throughout the day, try to make healthier, better-eating choices and supplement your diet with vitamins. We also recommend that you avoid highly caffeinated foods and drinks, as well as sugary things, which creates only a temporary surge in energy but eventually leads to a crash.

Fatty and processed foods are also a no-no since their nutritional benefit is small and the energy output they create is tiny. Spicy foods close to bedtime are also out since it’s well documented that they can cause heartburn which is made worse when lying down. 

If you struggle with heartburn already, you probably already know this, so make the smarter choice to avoid such edibles before bedtime. In general, healthier food choices and more exercise throughout the day are bound to lead to better, more refreshing sleep during the night.


This is the disorder where your body doesn’t produce enough iron. Women, in particular, tend to suffer from this disorder as a result of menstruation literally bleeding iron every single month.

In men and postmenopausal women, it can be triggered by issues in the stomach or intestines, likely an ulcer in such cases, or else caused by NSAID pain relievers. 

It usually creates a feeling of sluggishness and extreme fatigue. Of course, the opposite is also true, in which someone has too much iron, which can create similar degrading effects.

For heavy iron deficiency, it’s recommended to eat foods that are high in iron, as well as take iron supplements. Red meat is the best source of iron, as well as the fastest and most easily absorbed by the body once consumed. 

Try to add red meat and iron supplements into your diet if you’re known to suffer from anemia, but be sure to contact your doctor for professional advice, especially if the problem worsens.


So, if you’re still wondering “why do I wake up tired?”, you’re not alone. Lack of sleep is a potentially crippling problem that far too many people struggle with, and the solution is almost never clear-cut black and white.

If you’re struggling with getting enough or good quality sleep, you may want to consult your doctor for help. They order you to visit a sleep clinic and undergo a sleep study to look for any underlying causes.

But take heart in the knowledge that you can be helped and that good sleep is just around the corner

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After 8 years as a sleep expert in a couple of mattress stores and seeing thousands of people experiences with many brands, he decided to write and put all of these years of experience into help guides so others can make the right decision when buying sleep products without having to suffer sleepless nights as a result of choosing the wrong mattress.

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