Common sense tells us that you need 7-8 hours of sleep to recharge your body for the next day. Out of habit, you did the same last night and got yourself 8 hours of sleep. But instead of feeling refreshed this morning, you wake up tired and feeling awful — the exact opposite of what you’re normally expecting!
Well, the most obvious reason you might wake up feeling that way, is simply because you didn’t get a ‘good quality’ sleep. Getting good quality sleep is definitely not as simple as having 7 to 8 hours in bed. Even if you logged in for the right number of hours, there’s a chance that you can still get poor quality sleep. Here are some reasons you’re feeling exhausted in the morning—and some simple tips to combat that.
You have a bad sleeping posture.
If you sleep in a bad or abnormal position, chances are you are more likely to be grumpy the next day no matter how many hours of sleep you get. An abnormal and prolonged lying position for several hours during sleep can compromise your body’s ability to function and recover and worse, it can also cause soreness in some parts of your body when you wake up.
For instance, if you sleep on your side all night without changing positions, it can create significant flexion at the hip and lower back, according to Benjamin Domb, MD, founder of the American Hip Institute. Other than that, it can also cause the dreaded “dead arm” and finger numbness from this position as sleeping on your arm for too long can cut off blood flow and nerve function.
Quick Fix: If you’re most comfortable sleeping on your side, it’s a good idea to sleep with a pillow between your knees (fig.1), or use a pillow under the knee of the “top” leg to avoid hurting your hips and maintain proper hip alignment. If you sleep on your arm, try adding a pillow to your neck, but make sure that your head isn’t propped up too high on pillows.
Maybe it’s time for a new pillow.
That big, extra soft, fluffy pillow may appear perfect, but sometimes it can give you the opposite effect of comfort, which is torment. The truth is, lying down with your head overly elevated makes your spine crooked and misaligned. According to Shawn Stevenson (BS, FDN, and organizer of the Advance Integrative Health Alliance), too much pillow elevation resembles strolling around for eight hours during the day with your neck tilted down. No wonder you get terrible neck pains in the morning!
Quick Fix: To ensure that you’re maintaining the natural straight position of your spine, it is recommended that you use an adjustable pillow that best support your neck but doesn’t elevate your head too much (fig.2), like the Complete Sleeprrr Memory Pillow (fig.3).
Using gadgets minutes before you sleep.
Ok, this may be the simplest yet hardest habit to break. However, keep into mind that the artificial blue light emitting from your cellphone, tablet, laptop, television set, e-reader, portable game console, or any similar devices, tricks your brain into believing it needs to stay awake because it associates light with daytime. Robert Rosenberg, (DO, FCCP, Arizona sleep medicine specialist), says that this blue light, suppresses the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin which controls your sleep and wake cycles. This effect can disrupt your circadian rhythm, which in turn leads to poorer sleep at night and feeling rundown during the day.
Quick Fix: Make sure to not use any electronic devices 90 minutes before bed. This seems a bit hard, but this is worth trying if you want to get the best out of your 8-hr sleep.
You unconsciously grind or clench your teeth at night.
If you wake up in the morning with a sore jaw or/ with a dull headache, it’s most likely a case of Sleep Bruxism, says Kathy Gruver, PhD, a massage therapist in Santa Monica, CA. Sleep Bruxism is a condition where a person grinds, gnashes, or clenches his teeth unconsciously at night. This condition is often the result of too much stress, making you unable to relax your facial and jaw muscles during sleep.
Quick Fix: Try to eliminate soda, coffee, and energy drinks and try not to eat too much chocolate during the day. Caffeine is a stimulant which will make it more difficult for you to relax your mind and the muscles of your jaw, especially at night.
Another helpful tip is to relax before sleep. It is important to reduce stress before bed so that you’re more relaxed during the night and therefore less likely to grind your teeth. You can try massaging the muscles in your neck, shoulders, and face before you go to sleep or you can try using a warm, damp cloth to the jaw area right before your bedtime to help break the cycle. If this becomes a recurring problem, consider seeing your dentist for a mouth guard, which keeps your teeth from grinding down.
You had alcohol last night.
At first, alcohol seems like it has a soothing effect because it makes it easier for you to fall asleep. But in reality, alcohol is a depressant which will make it more difficult for you to sleep healthily. What it actually does is it disrupts your normal sleep cycle, making you experience a less restful, more shallow sleep— a type of sleep which is not restorative.
Quick Fix: Of course an occasional glass of alcohol won’t hurt, but if you really want to get a full, restful sleep, limit yourself to one drink a night and have it a couple of hours (about 3-4 hours) before bedtime.
You may have Sleep Apnea.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. If you find yourself gasping for breath or snoring loudly in the middle of the night, or feel chronically tired even after a full night’s sleep, this condition might be the cause.
According to Alaska Sleep Education Center, Sleep Apnea is caused by blockage of the upper respiratory airways, which makes you unable to get an adequate breath in. When your airway becomes cut off, the level of oxygen lowers in your blood, alarming the brain to wake itself to reopen your airway. This ‘awakening’ is usually so brief that you don’t remember it, but it does make you produce a snorting, choking or gasping sound everytime this happens. This pattern can repeat itself five to 30 times or more each hour depending on the severity of the apnea. When you’re waked multiple times through the night, your body and mind don’t get the rest they need to function, leaving you tired and drained when you wake up.
How to fix it: Before anything else, seek medical advice regarding your condition to get proper diagnosis. If you are diagnosed to have a mild case of sleep apnea, it can often be treated with weight loss and alcohol avoidance before bedtime. If you’ve got a moderate to severe case, you’ll need to use a device like a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or a similar machine that uses positive airway pressure to help you breathe.
Chiropractic for a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is very important for the overall well being of a person as it helps the body and the brain to function properly. Unlike prescribed drugs, caffeine or alcohol, Chiropractic care and wellness adjustments will help you relax naturally to get your body ready for sleep. It corrects spinal misalignments, sleeping positions and reduces nerve system interference. These spinal subluxations compress the nerves which impedes your body’s natural ability to heal, rest and recover. Our team of chiropractors will adjust these subluxations with safe and careful techniques to get your body to function normally. Aside from this, we will also recommend changes in your diet and their lifestyle, which will help to reduce your sleeping issues.
For any health related advice, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would be more than happy to help you address problems that may be causing you sleepless nights.