How To Overcome Sleep Inertia In The Morning

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If you're someone who always wakes up feeling tired and groggy in the morning, you may be feeling the effects of sleep inertia. The good news is, overcoming sleep inertia is pretty easy. According to experts, it's all about making slight adjustments to your bedtime and morning routine.

"Sleep inertia is the overwhelming feeling of sleepiness which makes it nearly impossible to get out of bed," clinical psychologist and sleep doctor Dr. Michael Breus, tells Bustle. "It seems to happen for a few reasons, but the main theme here is that the person experiencing it usually wakes up in the middle of a sleep cycle." If you're in a deeper stage of sleep and you happen to wake up, sleep inertia can hit you pretty hard.

According to Martin Reed, a certified clinical sleep health expert (CCSH) and the founder of Insomnia Coach, the effects can last for up to an hour after waking up.

Although it can make getting out of bed feel like a major challenege, sleep inertia is pretty normal. "It happens even to 'good' sleepers," he says. So if you're tired of feeling so groggy when you wake up in the morning, here are some things you can do to overcome it.

1. Learn Your Chronotype

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One of the best ways to overcome sleep intertia is to go to bed and wake up at the right time. Because the exact "right time" differs from person to person, Dr. Breus suggests learning your chronotype. "Your chronotype is your genetically determined time to go to sleep and wake up, and your chronorhythm is a schedule of the optimal physiological time to do just about any activity at your best," he says. This is important to know because many people go to bed either too early or too late. According to Dr. Breus, this will effect the quality and quantity of sleep that a person can get in a 24 hour cycle. But when you learn your chronotype, you can go to bed when your genetics want you to. Taking The Power of When Quiz can help you figure out your chronotype so you can know when you should be going to bed.

2. Reduce Your Sleep Time By 15 Minutes

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Staying in bed longer can make the grogginess much worse. In order to shake it off, train yourself to wake up a little earlier than you normally would, get yourself out of bed and then start your morning routine. You really don't need to wake up too early. According to Dr. Breus, reducing your sleep time by just 15 minutes each day can be helpful. Keep training yourself to wake up a little earlier each day until you can wake up without any grogginess.

3. Add Meditation To Your Morning Routine

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"Meditating in the morning can be a great way to ease into the day when feeling a fog," Ann Swanson, MS, C-IAYT, yoga therapist, meditation expert, and author of Science of Yoga tells Bustle. Research shows that meditation improves focus and cognition, which makes it the perfect solution for sleep inertia. If getting out of bed is an issue, Swanson suggests just sitting up in bed and making this the very first thing you do when you wake up. Meditating for just 10 minutes each morning can do the trick.

4. Go For A Quick Morning Walk

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Getting some light exercise in right after you wake up can be super helpful. As Reed says, "Going for a brief morning walk will not only clear the drowsiness and fogginess associated with sleep inertia, but the exposure to natural light will also help strengthen your sleep/wake cycle."

5. Drink A Glass Of Water

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One of the best things you can drink immediately after waking up is a glass of water. "When you first awake, you tend to be mildly dehydrated due to the fact that you haven't drank water all night long," Wayne Anthony, hydration expert with WaterFilterData.org, tells Bustle. "A large glass of water can rehydrate and make your insides come alive, helping you to quickly shake off the grogginess."

6. Get Your Caffeine Fix

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It may come as no surprise but Reed says that a cup of coffee in the morning can help to shake off morning grogginess and reduce the duration of sleep inertia. In fact, a 2016 study published in the journal Industrial Health found that caffeine is one of the best options for counteracting sleep inertia. It was found to be even more helpful than exposure to light.

7. Find That One "Thing" That Works For You And Add It Into Your Morning Routine

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Sleep intertia affects everyone differently. So as Dr. Richard Honaker, M.D., chief medical officer at Your Doctors Online, tells Bustle, it's important to find a "thing" that works for you. For instance, this could be putting an ice pack on your neck, or doing 15 jumping jacks after you get out of bed. It could even be taking a shower immediately after you wake up. As long as you're doing that one healthy, safe thing with the intention of shaking off the grogginess, you should be fine.

Some days, waking up in the morning can feel like a total drag. But doing some of these simple things can help you shake off the effects of sleep inertia.