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Feeling Unrested After Sleep: What’s the Cause?

If you still feel tired after you’ve had a full night’s sleep this could mean that you need to improve your sleep hygiene, you have a sleep disorder, or it could be a symptom of a more serious medical condition. Since consistent fatigue can mean so many different things, it’s important to see a doctor so you can be correctly diagnosed and treated.  In some cases, you can improve your feelings of fatigue simply by making healthy lifestyle changes, while in other cases you may require medical treatment.  Here’s a list of what may be the cause and what you can do to improve the quality of your sleep.

Why You May Feel Unrested

If you still feel unrested after a full night’s sleep, this usually means that you have poor sleep hygiene.  Sleep hygiene refers to the lifestyle choices one makes that are directly connected to the quantity and quality of the sleep that they have. Examples of poor sleep hygiene include:

  • Not exercising during the day
  • Not going to sleep or waking up at the same time every day
  • Over or under sleeping
  • Drinking caffeinated beverages (especially later in the day)
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Having a vitamin deficiency
  • Not maintaining a healthy weight
  • Not eating a balanced diet that’s rich in antioxidants
  • Regular sleep deprivation
  • Using handheld electronics before bed

Things You Can Do to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

Below are some things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene and, by extension, hopefully resolve the issue of feeling unrested when you wake up:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day; even on weekends.
  • It’s also important to know just how much sleep you personally require. If you’re unsure of the amount of sleep you need, try experimenting with different durations each week.
  • Be sure to exercise daily, particularly in the morning as this will help keep you energized and alert for the rest of the day.
  • Start maintaining a healthier, more balanced diet, and limiting your caffeine intake. Ideally, you should not consume any more caffeine from 3pm onwards.
  • Try adding a relaxation regimen to your nightly routines, such as meditation or yoga breathing, right before bed.
  • Make sure you have a cool, comfortable and quiet sleep environment.

Another measure worth taking is to keep a sleep journal to record your behavior right before bed, as well as if you woke up during the night and other factors that may be contributing to you feeling unrested. That way, you can address possible problem areas and see if such efforts improve your sleep quality and allow you to feel more rested.

In addition to the above, you should also remember that there are a number of mental and physical health issues that can cause fatigue. Some include:

  • Anemia
  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Heart disease
  • Stress
  • Hypertension
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Thyroid disease

Be sure to tell your doctor if you’re affected by any of these disorders or diseases, because they can increase your risk of sleep issues. Once you’ve been properly diagnosed, a combination of medical treatment and lifestyle changes should help improve feelings of unrest.

Sleep Disorders

It’s important to talk to a doctor about your sleep habits and any other symptoms you may be experiencing in addition to your fatigue. For example, feeling tired all the time and waking up with a sore throat or pain in the neck can be an indication of sleep apnea, which is a common and potentially life-threatening sleep disorder.

Sleep apnea is characterized by an obstruction of the airways during sleep. People who have sleep apnea usually snore excessively, and because they cannot breathe properly, they cannot get sufficient deep sleep. In serious cases, the obstruction prevents air from entering the lungs and those affected can wake up gasping for breath several times a night. Decreased muscle tone, old age, brain injury, having naturally narrow airways, and obesity are all factors that may cause sleep apnea.

Other sleep disorders that can lead to unrest are insomnia, delayed sleep phase disorder, Bruxism (teeth grinding), restless leg syndrome, and circadian rhythm sleep disorder.

Address Your Feelings of Unrest

Now that you know more about why you may be feeling unrested after sleeping, make sure to take steps to improve your sleep hygiene and see if it makes a significant difference in the quality of your sleep.  If you have further questions or concerns, or you find that improving your sleep hygiene is not resolving your issue, get in contact with Dr. Mayank Shukla.

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