You sleep for seven to eight hours practically every night, so why are you still waking up tired? We expect that if we follow the golden rule of sleep, we should feel well rested, but there’s more to a good night’s sleep than just how long we snooze. Sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta says you need to use the “two Qs” to evaluate your sleep. He explains, “If you’re getting the good quantity sleep, the next question is, ‘Am I getting good quality sleep?”
There are many reasons you may not be getting the quality sleep you need to feel rested and refreshed in the morning, including:
- Fatigue - Some chronic conditions, including pain conditions, metabolic or thyroid conditions and anemia, can cause fatigue. You may also just need more sleep than the seven hours you’re getting.
- Sedentary lifestyle - If you’re not usually very active, the body can get used to only having to expend low levels of energy, so you may feel more tired than you should when just doing basic daily activities, according to Jennifer Martin, professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Working toward the WHO’s recommendation of getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity a week may help.
- Inconsistent sleep - If your sleep schedule is all over the place or you stay up late and sleep in on the weekends, it can feel like jet lag and leave you struggling to get back on track with sleep. The more consistent your sleep routine, the better it is for quality sleep.
- Dehydration - Not drinking enough water can leave us feeling less alert and more tired. The Institute of Medicine recommends women drink 91-ounces of fluids daily, and 125-ounces for men. That includes all fluids and water-rich foods, so try to make sure you’re staying hydrated.
- Poor sleep environment - Good sleep hygiene includes a cool, dark and quiet bedroom, as well avoiding caffeine within six hours of bedtime and not having alcohol or spicy foods at least two hours before bed.
- Sleep partner problems - The person or pet you share a bed with also has a big impact on your sleep. If they snore or toss and turn, it can keep you from getting the rest you need and it may be time to sleep apart in order to sleep better.