Sleep Inertia Is The Reason Why You’re Not A Morning Person
Ever find yourself feeling disoriented and sleepy after having your morning coffee or even way before lunchtime? If that’s a normal occurrence for you, you may be experiencing sleep inertia.
What is Sleep Inertia?
To define it simply, sleep inertia is the state of when your body’s transition from sleeping upon waking up happens too suddenly, which causes you to feel lethargic throughout the day.
With the hustle culture, it’s evident how many people are having trouble getting a night of good sleep. For me, I witness a lot of people who simply get through the day dragging their feet, fuelled by coffee and shutting their eyes for a quick one-minute snooze. Sure, this may seem the ‘culture’ which everyone has to go through to survive, but this would definitely cost one later in life.
While everyone may feel that sleep inertia is something that can’t be helped with, there are few habits that can be put into practice that can potentially turn our lives around. Our bedtime and morning routine is crucial when it comes to phasing out sleep inertia.
Journal and clear your mind before bed.
To start, you need to go to bed with an empty mind. For many, we tend to bring our issues to bed and sleep with our thoughts constantly racing our minds. We think of the mistakes we’ve made or the chances we’ve missed, causing us to have sleep inertia, feeling groggy when we wake up – as our mind goes back to our last thoughts the night before. If you do find it hard to not think when you’re in bed, try to write down your thoughts in a journal. This would help clear your mind for a good night’s sleep.
If you tend to have anxiety before going to sleep, here’s a helpful article to help you overcome this.
Create a calm sanctuary for your sleep.
Also, make sure that you are entering a sleep space that is a calm sanctuary for you. Small things like sounds, lighting and feel are important to put you into a good sleeping state, as a way to not wake up in a less-than-ideal groggy state. Try switching to soft sheets, warm lighting or soft sounds; these can help you transition into a good sleep state so you can enjoy your sleep without having to wake up feeling lethargic.
Now that we’ve covered some of the things that can help put us in a good sleep state to avoid sleep inertia, it’s also essential to build a morning wake-up routine and how we can best optimise them.
How do I get rid of sleep inertia?
1. Take it slow
When you push your body to carry out a slight physical change, it will wake your mind up to want to start the day. Don’t start the day off immediately as this might lead you into a ‘rush’ state. Take the time to look around your room, the view outside the window or just admiring your beautiful sheets. Sit up in your bed for a minute straight and only then, get out of your bed to start the day.
2. Avoid mindless scrolling within the first hour.
We’re all guilty of checking our phones the moment we wake up. It’s almost natural for us to want to know, for fear we might miss out on any important updates or notifications. However, you need to try to spend some time for yourself to think and stretch before “checking in” with the world because this might lead you to spend unnecessary time in bed, mindlessly scrolling on your phone.
Of course, this doesn’t mean having to ignore the phone altogether. The idea is not to detach or dissociate yourself from reality but to work to build boundaries so you can have a better day. Upon waking up, just spend a quick few minutes to check on the time to make sure you’re on track and glance through your notifications to see if there’s anything pressing. Once you access the situation, put your phone back down and start your day. It might be hard at first, but this would really help you transition from feeling sleepy to feeling awake.
3. Hydrate yourself.
Hydrating yourself first thing in the morning is said to be able to wake you up. Aside from the other known benefits of water, drinking a glass of water upon waking up promotes brain activity. At night, your body actually loses water; so it’s vital to replenish yourself in the morning. Also, always make it a point to drink water before coffee so that your body receives the nutrients needed from water first before you start your day.
4. Go out for some fresh air on days when you can.
We know physical activity early in the morning seems like the hardest thing to do, but doing a short physical activity like taking a short walk helps to boost your energy. If you find it hard to start, dedicate a short amount of time starting from five minutes to either spend time walking around your room or walking up and down the stairs. This would definitely help alleviate stiffness and help you feel fresh throughout the day.
It’s arguably difficult for some of us with extremely tight schedules to take some time out to exercise, instead, try to maximise your weekends with physical activities. This way, you’d be able to put in more time and crunch more demanding workouts! Here are 4 simple ways you can get started with exercise when you feel out of shape.
Optimising the best morning wake-up routine to leave behind sleep inertia can be a tough challenge to tackle. All these steps work hand in hand to ensure that you get the best sleep and wake-up routine. Ultimately, you’ll find it easier to function in the morning and sooner or later, learn to be a morning person.