Health

Reasons you still feel crazy tired after sleeping

If you always wake up tired, try reducing caffeine & tech time

You go to bed diligently at 11pm, setting your alarm for 7am the next morning. That is a solid eight hours of sleep, yet you wake feeling as though you have not slept in years.

The grogginess and fatigue follow you throughout the day and all you can think of is climbing back into bed.

What gives? Here are five reasons why you might still feel tired after sleeping for seven or eight hours each night.

YOU HAVE SLEEP APNEA

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition where your airway becomes partially or completely blocked during sleep, causing you to briefly stop breathing throughout the night.

When this happens, your body becomes temporarily starved of oxygen and this can cause your brain to jolt awake so that you can breathe normally.

This disruption of sleep can happen so suddenly that you don't fully wake up or remember the episodes even if they occur multiple times a night.

According to a study done by Jurong Health Services, one in three Singaporeans suffers from moderate to severe sleep apnea and one in 10 suffers from severe sleep apnea.

What is worse is that it is a condition that is often under-diagnosed since many patients don't even know they have it.

Common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include snoring, waking up with a headache in the morning, excessive daytime sleepiness and insomnia. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to complications such as high blood pressure or heart problems.

YOU HAD A DRINK BEFORE SLEEPING

While alcohol may momentarily make you feel sleepy, it actually disrupts your sleep later on and may cause you to wake up prematurely.

According to the National Sleep Foundation in the US, your body's production of sleep-inducing adenosine is increased immediately after drinking.

This can make you feel drowsy quickly, helping you fall asleep faster. But adenosine levels after consuming alcohol drop just as quickly and may trigger you to wake up before you are truly rested.

Alcohol is also said to block REM sleep, the stage at which your body undergoes repair and restoration, so you wake up feeling more tired.

YOU EXERCISED TOO CLOSE TO BEDTIME

The verdict is still out for this one as there is not enough scientific evidence to prove the correlation between late-night exercise and disrupted sleep.

That said, it is also not surprising that anecdotally, many people have said that it's harder to fall asleep if they exercise just before bedtime.

When you exercise, your adrenaline levels and heart rate rise, and this can make it more difficult to wind down and drift off to dreamland after.

This is especially so if you are going hard with high-intensity interval training or a fast-paced Zumba routine.

If you must work out at night, try squeezing in relaxing stretches or a gentle yoga flow before bedtime to calm your senses and slow your breathing and heart rate. This will also promote more restful sleep.

YOU HAD A CUPPA DURING TEATIME

It is a no-brainer that caffeine affects sleep, but it may be hard to estimate just when that cut-off point is to avoid feeling the buzz before bedtime.

In a small-scale study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, researchers found that taking caffeine even six hours before bedtime resulted in significant sleep disturbances later at night.

Try avoiding coffee or tea beyond lunchtime so your body has enough time to fully break down the caffeine before bed.

Watch out for caffeine in the less obvious suspects such as soft drinks, coffee-flavoured desserts and energy drinks.

YOU ENGAGED IN SCREEN TIME JUST BEFORE BED

Do you have a habit of scrolling through your Instagram feed just before bed? Or worse, watching YouTube videos in the dark when you are already tucked in?

These tech habits are seriously affecting your sleep quality.

The blue light emitted by the screens on your computers, mobile phones, television and tablets all play a part in suppressing your body's natural production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycles.

When this happens, your circadian rhythm is affected and it can be harder to fall into deep restful sleep. Try avoiding screen time an hour before bed and turning your phone to night mode in the evenings so your exposure to blue light is minimised.

This article first appeared in Shape (www.shape.com.sg)

MEDICAL & HEALTH