Ever wake up feeling sleepy, like you didn’t get any rest the night before? Are you struggling to sit up, wondering ‘Why did I wake up tired after getting eight hours of sleep?’ You’re far from alone.
An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans experience chronic or ongoing sleep disorders , including insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, sleep paralysis and many more. Persistent sleep issues can lead to several serious detrimental effects, including declined mental and physical health, injury, declined productivity and a higher risk of death .
People who regularly wake up tired despite getting eight hours of seemingly deep sleep may have a number of sleep problems and disorders. Depending on the diagnosis, several potential methods could help alleviate or resolve the issue. Read on to understand more about this sleep conundrum and how you might be able to address your chronic feelings of grogginess
Understanding Sleep Needs and Quality–Do I Need 8 Hours of Sleep?
You often hear that eight hours of sleep per night is the goal, and for many that's true. However, not everyone has the same sleep requirements. While it remains true that most adults require eight hours, numerous researchers note that sleep needs tend to vary between six and nine hours of rest per every 24 hours .
Numerous factors determine our sleep needs, including, genetics, health factors, lifestyle and others unique differentiators.
Numerous studies over the years have identified 'short sleep genes,' which promote shorter cycles, with some ranging four to six hours. The gene was first discovered in 2009, making it one of the more emerging fields of study over the past 1.5 decades. Thanks to increasingly sophisticated tools, researchers are now able to assess a person's unique sleep needs on a genetic level, something once previously considered impossible .
But it isn’t just about the duration of sleep. A person’s self-assessment of their sleep quality plays a critical role in satisfying sleep needs. Four metrics are used to measure sleep quality :
- Sleep efficiency
- Sleep latency
- Sleep duration
- Wake after sleep onset
Numerous physiological, psychological, and environmental factors can impact sleep quality. These factors include:
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Circadian Rhythm
- Mental State
- Room Temperature
- Electronics in Use
- Family/Social Commitments
Mental and Physical Health Factors
Even if we can find a way to sleep when stressed or otherwise mentalled taxed, our sleep quality can suffer. Years of anecdotes suggest people waking up defeated, deflated, exhausted or otherwise far from their ideal state in the morning.
While mental health can impact our sleep, the more troubling concern may be the adverse impact subpar sleep has on our mental states. Some reports have suggested that a sleep disorder like insomnia can increase a person's chances of developing anxiety or depression, with the odds potentially increasing between 10x and 17x .
No matter if mental health is the root cause of your sleep issues, or if it’s a symptom of a deeper problem, you need to seek help. Leaving your sleep issues and/or mental health untreated is almost certainly going to lead to deeper, more adverse health effects, including death in the gravest of circumstances. Consider speaking to a trusted physician as well as sleep and mental health specialists to identify and address these root causes.
Improving Sleep Hygiene and Environment
Recent studies have shined a brighter light on our environments and their impact on our sleep quality. Environment is a broader term than some may think. Temperature, light, noise levels, smells and pollution all play parts in how well we sleep. Additional factors, such as our social networks and neighborhood safety play significant roles as well .
Consider the mental and physical effects on people trying to sleep in communities ravaged by war or persistent violence. Constant bombs, gunfire, vehicle movement and other loud noises no doubt make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Even if a person is able to sleep through the night, the stress is surely going to loom over them.
Moving from loud or dangerous communities is easier said than done. But it is rather feasible to manage environmental factors like temperature, smell and some noise or light levels.
Using a fan or space heater may resolve indoor temperature issues. Smells might be offset by an air neutralizer, like Ozium, perhaps. Ear plugs and noise-canceling headphones could help mute or drown out many moderate to low noise annoyances. Blackout curtains can help eliminate any light coming in during your sleep, and may also help keep a room warm if you're using an insulated curtain.
Lifestyle and Behavioral Aspects
Sleep and the development of sleep-related disorders is a large, complex field of study. Numerous lifestyle factors in and out of our control can impact sleep quality. Diet and screen time use are choices largely within our control.
Meanwhile, factors like aging remind us that our sleep will change over time, even if we do everything recommended . Some of the most commonly cited lifestyle factors to impact sleep quality include:
- Diet and nutrition
- Pet ownership
- Physical activity levels
- Media exposure (TV, social media)
- Screen time
- Reading habits (books vs. digital media)
- Daytime sedentary behavior
- Regularity of daily social rhythms
Possible solutions will be determined based on the issues you’re struggling with. You may need to change your diet or eating schedule, perhaps cutting out commonly detrimental sleep elements, like sugar or late night snacking. You may need to adjust your pet’s feeding, play and/or bathroom schedule, especially for any dog or cat owners with animals that like to wake up in the middle of the night. Cutting down screen time is difficult these days.
If you can’t put the phone or tablet down, consider using blue light glasses, which can protect you from eye strain and reduce the chances of interrupted sleep cycles . If you can’t pinpoint any issues on your own, consider speaking to a medical professional before the issue becomes too severe.
Addressing Sleep Debt and Circadian Rhythms
Our body has an internal clock called our circadian rhythm, which guides and dictates our schedule, determining how much rest and time awake we need during a 24-hour period. Alterations to our circadian rhythm can significantly impact our health, notably our energy levels and sleep quality. Circadian rhythm based sleep disruptions have long been linked to adverse health results, negatively possibly affecting our energy, mental health, metabolism and much more.
Keeping a consistent sleep schedule is essential to maintaining your circadian rhythm. However, that isn't a luxury everyone is afforded. Various types of individuals experience shifts in the circadian rhythms, and in most cases, these factors are out of their control.
Elder adults experience natural shifts in the internal clock as they age. Shift workers are often subject to swinging schedules, with little to no schedule consistency. While these groups can attempt to prepare for shifts in their schedules, sometimes all they can do is cope as best they can and hope their bodies adjust to their new normal soon enough.
Rather than wait for that day to possibly come, many have turned to various sleep aids and medications over the years. We here at Snoozy created our line of sleep gummies to provide consumers with an option that uses natural ingredients like cannabis, melatonin. chamomile and other popular options–and they’re pretty tasty too!
Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Quality
Figuring out why you feel tired after getting eight hours of sleep is a complex effort. The cause of the issue could stem from one or more critical factors. Some of these factors, including diet, sleep schedule, screen time and pets, could be totally or largely within your control.
However, numerous other possible causes, including age, work schedule, neighborhood, and physical or mental health could be out of your control. While you can identify these issues on your own in some cases, it’s wise to seek the advice of a trusted medical professional who can help test, assess and identify possible causes and solutions to any sleep issues and related conditions.
Fixing your sleep problems and disorders can be a simple or confusing task, depending on your unique circumstances. Unfortunately, there is no uniform problem or treatment, leaving us to make educated guesses and check for the ideal results in the ensuing days and weeks after implementing any changes. This process can become frustrating for anyone unable to pinpoint and address the solution quickly. Sadly, millions of people experience this frustration every year.
Seek help if you find yourself struggling. Some may choose over-the-counter solutions and other natural and synthesized remedies. But rather than guessing, reach out to a medical professional who can help you through your unique circumstances and best possible solutions.