‘Junk sleep’ could be the reason why you wake up feeling tired in the morning

Falling asleep in the first place is only half of the battle – if you often feel tired when you wake up in the morning, the quality of sleep you’re getting could be to blame.

Ask anyone how they’re doing these days, and the chances are you’ll get something along the lines of “Tired” in reply.

For many people, exhaustion has become a default way of being, and the prospect of getting out of bed in the morning has become increasingly difficult.

But why are so many of us feeling tired when we wake up in the morning, and is there anything we can do to feel more energised at the start of the day? According to sleep expert Dr Katharine Hall, the answer could lie in what’s known as ‘junk sleep’.

Dr Hall – speaking on behalf of Happy Beds and Somnus Therapy – explains that junk sleep is a term coined by The Sleep Council to describe sleep that is not long or good enough in quality in to restore the brain’s functionality for the next day. 

In short, it’s the kind of restless, rubbish sleep that leaves you feeling drowsy throughout the day – not ideal when you’ve got lots of things to do. 

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“The cause of junk sleep is predominantly due to one main issue, which is the persistent and excessive use of electronic devices, especially before sleep,” Dr Hall explains.

In this way, while you may not find that using electronic devices stops you from sleeping altogether, it may be making your sleep quality worse without you even realising it.

“Too much blue light from the screens of your electronic devices can significantly affect your quality of sleep,” Dr Hall expands. “Blue light suppresses the release of melatonin – a hormone which causes us to feel drowsy – so even though we may be grateful for the benefits of blue light during the day, it can cause difficulty when we’re trying to sleep.” 

Waking up tired has become the norm.

Another key contributor to junk sleep is having an insufficient bedtime routine, Dr Hall adds. Indeed, while you might enjoy scrolling through Twitter or watching an action-packed TV show before bed, giving your brain lots of think about before bed doesn’t exactly set you up for a restful night.

What you consume before bed can also be a problem. “Insufficient bedtime routines – including caffeine intake – can be contributing factors to sleeping poorly at night,” Dr Hall says.

To counteract this, she adds: “Try to adopt a regular sleep schedule in order to get your body into a healthy sleeping cycle. Exercising should also be done no later than three hours before you plan to go to sleep and avoid caffeine at night time at all costs.” 

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So, if you wake up feeling tired in the morning – even after a good amount of sleep – you might want to take a look at the kind of sleep you’re getting.

Falling asleep in the first place is only one part of the puzzle, and if you want to function at your best during the day, it might be time to switch your focus towards improving your sleep quality.

For more tips and tricks to improve your sleep, you can check out more of Stylist’s sleep content here.

Images: Getty

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