Ever feel as though you've had a full night sleep but still wake tired and exhausted? While you're not alone, this is not normal.
"We should wake feeling rested," Dr Christopher Magee, Deputy Director at the Centre for Health Initiatives and Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology at University of Wollongong told The Huffington Post Australia. "Not necessarily energetic and full of vigour immediately after waking up, but people should feel rested and that they’ve had a good sleep. Feelings of excessive sleepiness and fatigue during the day could be indicative of poor sleep."
"Even if people do get 'enough' sleep, the quality of the sleep could be poor. If sleep is fragmented (e.g., regular awakenings during the night), it can limit the amount of time people spend in deeper sleep. This could contribute to feelings of lethargy and fatigue during the day," said Magee.
Dr Magee suggests assessing your lifestyle to see if you can discern what is causing you to wake in the morning still feeling tired, even though you feel like you slept all night.
"A number of factors could contribute to poor sleep. These include lifestyle factors such as consumption of alcohol (initially this helps to induce sleep, but ultimately it leads to disrupted sleep later in the night), irregular bedtimes and wake times (these affect the biological regulation of sleep), shift work, jet lag, and an unhealthy diet. Emotional problems such as stress and anxiety can also impair the quality and amount of sleep, as can sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnoea, and restless leg syndrome," said Magee.
Making small changes to your routine can have a big impact in the quality of sleep, including what time you consume coffee and technology.
"In the absence of any underlying medical conditions or sleep disorder, lifestyle changes that may aid better sleep include: regular physical activity (but not too close to bedtimes), avoiding alcohol near bedtime, avoiding excessive consumption of caffeine (particularly in the afternoon and evening), limiting screen time (television and computer usage) near bedtime, and maintaining a healthy diet. Maintaining regular bedtimes and wake times is also very important for promoting good sleep," said Magee.
While feeling energised is important for productivity in life and in work, Magee warns against reaching for that double shot espresso.
"It would be important to avoid trying to compensate fatigue with excessive caffeine consumption, because this could further impair sleep. One thing that some workplaces are doing is introducing sleep pods. There is evidence that a short nap at work (e.g., 10 – 15 minutes) during the day can be very effective in re-energising individuals."
"The occasional night of poor sleep is probably quite normal and not cause for concern. If sleep problems persist over a long period of time and are having a large impact on daily functioning, then it is probably a good idea to seek advice from a health professional," said Magee.