Still Tired After Eight Hours of Sleep?

By Mel Sim

Five reasons why and what you should do about it…

You go to bed early to make sure you get that seven to eight hours of sleep as recommended. So why do you still wake up feeling oh-so-tired?

Truth is, it is not the quantity of sleep that you get but rather the quality of sleep, which will determine whether you wake up fresh in the morning or groggy as if you didn’t sleep at all! What affects your quality of sleep? Here are five things you might want to reconsider…

#1 What chronotype are you?
Chrono what? Simply put, everyone has a specific chronotype, whether they are an early bird or a night owl. And this will impact their performance. Some of us work better first thing in the morning while others are more creative and productive late at night! It is closely related to your circadian rhythm which controls the day-to-day sleep-wake cycle and while you can train your body to be a certain type by adhering to a strict schedule, sometimes it just exists on a more permanent basis!

Solution: The thing to do is to work with it. You can start by taking this quiz by Dr. Michael Breus aka The Sleep Doctor who wrote a whole book about chronotype (and the audiobook is free on Amazon with Audible!). From there, you can learn to work with your body’s chronotype to find out what works for you and how to make it fit into your 9-to-5 so you don’t wake up tired anymore!

#2 Logging into social media one last time before sleep? Think again
We are all guilty of it – looking through our IG feed just to pass time before we sleep. The problem with this is the blue light! Yup, that light from your gadget is suppressing the production of melatonin (a sleep hormone) and it is affecting your sleep quality. You may actually be sleeping… but the sleep isn’t ideal as the lack of melatonin disrupts your body’s circadian rhythm.

Solution: Avoid screen time at least an hour before bed! Leave the social media scrolling to the next day at the breakfast table if you want to wake up refreshed. It’s a tough habit to break but one that’s necessary for your sleep quality.

#3 Your sleep environment
Too hot, too cold? Too bright, too loud (no thanks to the neighbour!)? Too messy, too uncomfortable (blame it on the mattress). All of these will make a huge difference between waking up feeling like you had the best sleep of your life or feeling absolutely knackered still.

Solution: The best thing to do is to aim for the ideal sleep environment… for you. Adjust your temperature to something you are comfortable with (research shows that between 16ºC and 19 ºC is ideal but again, it’s up to your own preferences). Shop around for a good mattress (medium firm is recommended) and pillow (good sleep is worth the investment!). If your room gets too bright at night no thanks to the street lamp just outside, consider using blackout blinds. Also, did you know that people slept more in rooms painted in pastel hues of blue according to this survey? So you might want to reconsider giving your room a sleep makeover!

#4 Your toilet breaks wake you up too often
No wonder you’re not feeling rested; you’re going for pee breaks too often! Drinking too much liquid close to bedtime will make you frequently get up to urinate (your bladder can only hold so much). Then there is also excessive urination at night, nocturia, which may be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

Solution: First, cut down on the liquids at least two hours before bedtime. But if you still wake up often to pee even after doing this, speak to your doctor about the possibility of nocturia.

#5 You slept too much
Yes, there is such a thing! The thing is sleep is a personal matter. Even if experts say eight hours of sleep is ideal, you might not even need that much as sleep needs can vary from person to person.

Solution: Keep a sleep diary. Jot down how many hours you sleep and see how you feel the next day. This way, you can work out what works best for you. Remember that this might change depending on what’s going on in your life, whether you are experiencing stress, have too much on your mind, or am fighting off an ailment. Once you’ve figured out what works for you, make sure you do this even on weekends so you can regulate your sleep pattern which is important for quality sleep.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

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