Will I Ever Stop Feeling Like I Can't Wake Up?
Updated December 18, 2018
Reviewer Aaron Horn
Do you ever think, "I can't wake up in the morning," and struggle to wake up or pull yourself out of bed? It's frustrating, isn't it? And if you're like most people, you have no idea what you can do to fix the problem. You just know that you want to feel more rested and have a better start to your day.
Sleep is an important topic when it comes to your mental health. It turns out that getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your body and mind. Adequate sleep helps you to maintain healthy body weight, make better decisions during the day, reduce pain, increase healing, and decrease anxiety and depression.
However, starting to get better sleep means finding out what is causing your problem waking up in the first place. There are a few quite different reasons why you may be struggling with this problem. So let's delve deeper into this, waking up the issue, so that you can find a potential cause and learn how to start waking up easier.
Why Can't I Wake Up In The Morning?
There are multiple possible reasons why you can't wake up in the morning. Some of them are related to your daily habits and can be alleviated. Some of them are completely usual and happen to most people. It may also be a sleep disorder.
There are also mental health disorders that make you feel trapped in a sleep state, and this is a separate issue that is discussed further on in this article.
Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality are problematic for your physical and mental health regardless of the reasons why you are having sleep issues. That being said, knowing the underlying cause can help you determine the right steps for getting your sleep on track and finding it easier to wake up each morning.
Let's take a closer look at some of the reasons you may have difficulty waking up.
Can't Pull Me Out Of Bed
One of the most common reasons why a person feels like they can't wake up is that they just don't get quality sleep. They wake up still feeling exhausted and can't pull themselves out of bed. If this is the reason why you feel like you can't wake up in the morning, then you may only need to adjust some of your daily habits to feel better and be able to get out of bed when the alarm goes off.
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 of your sleep into 4 to 6 hours, your body is likely telling you that you need to stay in bed a bit longer. Of course, if you have responsibilities you have to get to in the morning, that's not always an option. And that means you may need to hit the pillow earlier in the evening.
It 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 worsens and may contribute to mental health conditions, like anxiety and depression.
Drink Your Caffeine Before Evening
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 pushing forward the time of your last caffeinated beverage so that you have at least 4 hours for it to wear off before you sleep.
Yes, getting enough exercise every day helps you to sleep better at night. And yes, this one takes more effort than going to bed early and being mindful of when you consume caffeine. But the truth is that once you get into the routine of exercising on most days, it will quite likely become something you look forward to because it makes you feel great.
If you're simply too exhausted to pull yourself out of bed each day, then taking a look at your daily habits can help. But if that's not the issue you're having, you may be experiencing a very normal phenomenon that is not related to poor quality sleep.
You Can't Wake Up - This Is Not A Dream
Many people experience episodes where they think they are awake and not in a dream, yet they can't move or speak. This phenomenon is called sleep paralysis, and it is 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 are 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 to happen. Even though this phenomenon is harmless and quite common, it can be scary when you experience it. 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, and other drugs may also exacerbate occurrences of sleep paralysis.
Trying To Wake Up But Can't Open Eyes
Some individuals try all the tips for getting more or better sleep, including trying to go to sleep earlier, 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 than they already do. Or even when they go to sleep early, they don't feel rested upon waking at the time they set their alarm for, despite getting 7 or 8 hours of sleep.
If you've tried all the tips for waking up on time and you just can't peel your eyes open, 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 no matter what you do, you may never be able to follow the same sleep and wake patterns as what 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 p.m.
You can talk to a sleep professional about ways to alleviate this problem so that 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, or trapped, mentally.
Wake Me Up Inside I Can't Wake Up
If you find yourself saying, "Wake me up inside; I can't wake up," then you may have a completely 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.
Besides depression, other potential mental health issues that can make you feel this way include:
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 like you are acting in ways that you have no control over. Adverse reactions to certain medications can sometimes cause this.
Now that you know some of the underlying reasons for trouble waking up, whether physically or mentally, you can form a strategy starting each day right.