Many people struggle to wake up or pull themselves out of bed in the mornings. We all know how it feels to hit “snooze” on the alarm… but sometimes, waking up seems almost impossible. Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality are problematic for your physical and mental health regardless of the reasons. That being said, knowing the underlying cause can help you determine the right steps for getting your sleep on track. Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons you may have difficulty waking up, and the small changes you can make to help you feel ready to take on the world every morning.
Can’t Pull Me Out of Bed
One of the most common reasons a person feels they can’t wake up is that they just don’t get quality sleep. They wake up feeling exhausted and can’t pull themselves out of bed. If this is the reason you feel you can’t wake up in the morning, you may only need to adjust some of your daily habits.
Here are some things you can try.
Go to Sleep Earlier
You may not be getting enough sleep. If you’re trying to cram all your sleep into four to six hours, your body is likely telling you that you need to stay in bed a bit longer. Of course, often you have to get up in the morning. And that means you may need to hit the pillow earlier in the evening.
Going to bed early may not always be the fun choice, but your body and mind will thank you. Studies have repeatedly shown that we function much less efficiently on even slightly less sleep. Not only that, but lack of sleep may contribute to mental health conditions, like anxiety and depression.
Drink Your Caffeine Earlier
Even if you feel tired at bedtime and fall asleep easily, drinking caffeine in the evening can disrupt your sleep quality. What that means is that although you think you were asleep all night, your sleep cycles aren’t working quite the same as they would if you did not have caffeine. Your brain remains in a more hyper state during the night.
The result is that you get poor sleep and wake up still feeling exhausted. Of course, that’s going to make it difficult to pull yourself out of bed. You don’t have to give up caffeine to alleviate this problem. Just try pulling back the time of your last caffeinated beverage so you have at least four hours for it to wear off before you sleep.
Getting enough exercise every day helps you sleep better at night. This one takes more effort than going to bed early and adjusting your caffeine intake. But once you get into the routine of exercising, it will likely become something you look forward to because it makes you feel great.
If you’re too exhausted to pull yourself out of bed each day, taking a look at your daily habits can help.
You Can’t Wake Up-This Is Not a Dream
Many people experience episodes where they think they are awake, yet they can’t move or speak. This phenomenon is called sleep paralysis, and it’s fairly common. Millions of people report episodes of sleep paralysis each year.
When you have this experience, it is just your body moving through the sleep cycle less efficiently. It may feel like you’re awake, and you may even be partially aware of sights or sounds near you. But you can’t completely trust your senses in this state.
In addition to being unable to move, many people who experience sleep paralysis also report hearing or seeing things that were not there. That’s because your mind is still literally in a partial dream state. Some people refer to this as liminal dreaming, that is, sights or sounds your mind projects when you are in a state of waking or falling asleep. You are in between sleep and wakefulness.
Sleep paralysis is not a sign of any mental health problem, and most people who experience it have no medical cause for these episodes. Even though this phenomenon is harmless and quite common, it can be scary. If you have frequent episodes of sleep paralysis, it’s a good idea to review the above sleep habits. It’s possible that poor sleep quality is causing the problem. Alcohol, nicotine, sleep medicine and other drugs may also exacerbate sleep paralysis.
Trying to Wake Up but Can’t Open My Eyes
Some people try all the tips for getting better sleep, including an earlier bedtime (sleep schedule), avoiding caffeine, and getting more exercise, and they still can’t seem to wake up on time or feel rested. For some, they just can’t make their bodies fall asleep any earlier. Or they don’t feel rested in the morning, despite getting seven or eight hours of sleep.
If you’ve tried everything to wake up on time and you still feel like you just can’t open your eyes, you may have a sleep phase disorder or circadian disorder. These are inherited differences in sleep patterns, and they are usually not treatable. That means, unfortunately, that no matter what you do, you may never be able to follow the same sleep and wake patterns the majority of people follow.
The type of sleep phase disorder that results in later sleep and waking times is called delayed sleep phase syndrome. People with this tendency usually feel their natural urge to fall asleep between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m., as opposed to the “normal” range of about 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.
You can talk to a sleep professional about ways to mitigate this problem so you can function better, especially at work. That being said, for many with delayed sleep phase syndrome, the healthiest and most effective strategy is to find a work schedule that allows you to follow your natural sleep and waking pattern.
Finally, let’s talk about the feeling of being in a sleep state.
Wake Me Up Inside
If you’re able to get out of bed but still feel mentally asleep, you may have a different problem that is not a sleep disorder. Feeling like you are dead or asleep on the inside while continuing to go through the motions of living is a symptom of depression and possibly other mental health issues.
In addition to depression, other potential mental health issues may include, Anxiety, Body dysmorphic disorder, Dissociative identity disorder or Depersonalization disorder
This is not an exhaustive list, and you should not attempt to diagnose a mental health issue by yourself. Temporary psychiatric crises can also occur that make you feel you are acting in ways you have no control over. Adverse reactions to certain medications can sometimes cause this.
How someone.health can help
If you’ve tried all the usual tricks to get a better night’s sleep but it’s not working, it might be time to talk to someone ho can give medical advice. Whether it’s day-to-day stress, depression, or something more serious, one of our psychologists can help.