Why Do I Feel So Tired When I Wake Up?

Always waking up tired no matter how much you sleep? You’ve setup your bedroom for sleep. You’ve settled into a good sleep routine and are even getting the required 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. So, why do you wake up feeling like you never closed your eyes?

Sleeping doesn’t always mean sleeping soundly. Sleep can be disrupted by both internal and external factors.

waking up tired

Why Do I Feel So Tired When I Wake Up?

External Factors

Bedroom Temperature

The temperature of your bedroom can negatively affect your quality of sleep. It’s recommended that you keep the thermostat setting at about 65 degrees for sleep.

While you may be thinking “wow, that’s cold!”, having it much higher isn’t recommended.

A person turns over during sleep an average of 13 times an hour. There is an upper limit to the number of times you should be moving a night.

Having a higher temperature can cause restlessness and added movement that will reduce the quality of sleep by preventing you from reaching REM sleep.

Bad Mattress

Most of us have, at some point in time, ended up on a mattress that was way overdue it’s final meeting with the dump. If you could just move a little more to the left and get that spring out of your rib cage, you’ll be okay, right?

Trying to sleep on an uncomfortable mattress is a lot like camping, and not the “glamping” kind, the sleeping bag on the ground kind. Your body must adjust to the mattress leaving some spots unsupported and others feeling like you are laying on a rock (or spring).

Ensure that you are replacing that mattress as required to ensure a good night’s rest. This is the most popular reason why people wake up tired.

Too Much Noise

What do neighbors’ dogs and babies have in common? Well, besides drooling, too much noise! In the city, it’s all too common to hear everything your neighbors are doing, along with emergency response vehicles and loud traffic all night long.

If you find yourself exhausted after waking up it may be because you wake up to noises. You may want to invest in a white noise machine. These machines produce a fan-like sound that is constant and will drown out all the other not-constant noises. I have one, and now, I can’t sleep without it!


It is not surprising that light can impact your sleep. What is surprising is that even when it’s no longer on, it can impact your quality of sleep.

Cell phones and screen time before bed can have lasting affects during the night. They inhibit a natural sleep chemical, your body produces, called melatonin. With reduced melatonin it can be harder to get to sleep or stay asleep.

Internal Factors

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a serious sleep disorder that affects your breathing. Patients that have this disorder stop breathing for short periods many times a night.

This is very disruptive to sleep and could potentially have some serious side effects. If you or a loved one suspects Sleep Apnea, it’s important to see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Restless leg syndrome

There is not a cause identified yet for Restless leg syndrome, which causes the person to have an almost uncontrollable need to move their leg. The need to move is preceded by an uncomfortable sensation that can feel like burning, pulling, tugging or pins and needles.

There are theories about what causes this syndrome, some of which include an imbalance in brain chemicals, anemia, or other deficiency.

More research is needed to determine the cause, but you can treat the symptoms with ice packs, warm baths, and avoiding caffeine.

Night terrors

Typically, night terrors are experienced in childhood, however, some adults can be affected too.

While you might think “I would know if I were having night terrors” one of the hallmark signs that it is a night terror is that fact that you don’t wake up from it.

During a night terror a person can sit up, scream, and even sleepwalk which are all things that could leave you feeling exhausted while you are awake.

If you don’t have a sleep partner to tell you this is happening, you might try a nanny cam to see if you are getting more action than rest.


Having narcolepsy might seem like something you should know if you have or not, but Narcolepsy is very misunderstood. A lot of people think if you have Narcolepsy you just randomly fall asleep no matter where you are or what you are doing.

What really happens is that a gradual, but overwhelming urge, to go to sleep comes over you and you usually have time to get to a place to take a nap. Of course, this is not the only symptom, but it’s the most recognized one.

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects your sleep/wake cycle and by disrupting your nighttime sleep, it leaves you with excessive daytime tiredness.

It can actually be hard to spot, so if you are overly tired during the day and can’t pinpoint the issue, you may want to check for other Narcolepsy symptoms and get a sleep study appointment discussed below.


If you wake up feeling like your body didn’t get any rest, you may consider parasomnias as the cause.

Parasomnias causes you to have abnormal movements while you sleep. It can include things like sleep walking, sleep talking or things like clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth.

Sleep walking can be dangerous, so if you think you may be experiencing this, it is important to look into it immediately. When you do sleep, make sure you’ve locked the house up tight.

Sleep Study

While the external causes of sleep disruption are easily remedied, the internal causes of sleep disruption may be a little harder to find and fix.

However, there is something that can be done to determine if you are affected by these internal factors. 

A sleep study is a test that is performed while you are sleeping. You can have one done at a sleep unit of a hospital or a clinic dedicated to sleep disorders.

While you sleep, sensors track everything from your heart rate to your eye movements and may help you identify the root cause of your daytime tiredness.

If you have addressed all the external factors and are still waking up tired, you may want to invest in a sleep study to ensure you aren’t suffering one of the many internal factors for sleep disruption.