How to Stop Waking Up Feeling Groggy

Waking up in the morning is something that few people really enjoy. For most of us, bed is just too comfortable and too warm, and the thought of getting up can be enough to make us hide back under the covers…

Of course we need to get up though because most of us will have things that need doing – jobs to go to for instance, and tasks that need doing around the home. If you lie in too long, then you will only end up feeling worse and going to bed later that night having not completed all the things that you need to do. And not only do we need to get up, but we need to be awake enough and fresh enough to start working, working out, or whatever else it is that we do…

Staying in bed is not an option then, even if it does seem rather appealing. But this necessity can be a lot harder if we wake up each morning feeling rough. You may have come to just accept that mornings are a time when you don’t feel well; but if you wake up with a headache, with a painful throat, or feeling ill; then it’s not normal and it’s important to get to the bottom of why you’re feeling rough. Then you can do something about it so that you can go back to being at your best early in the morning. Here we will look at some of the reasons…

Air Quality

Waking up with a sore throat is a sure fire way to make yourself keen to crawl back into bed. Unfortunately, it’s also a common ill that many of us will face, which is why it’s important to know what some of the causes are…

One cause of a sore throat in the morning is mould and moisture. If your property is mouldy, then you will have been breathing in mould spores throughout the night which is far from good for your overall health. This also suggests that you might have something of a moisture problem in your property (as this is one of the number one causes of mould).

Clean up any mouldy areas in your room with some bleach, and try to find out also what is causing the mould in the first place. If moisture is getting in through your windows then get double glazing for instance.

Hay Fever

Mould and moisture aren’t the only irritants that might get into your air though. Equally irritating is dander if you have some form of allergy. You know that feeling where you wake up thinking you have a cold, only for it to pass after you’ve been up for a few hours? That’s probably caused by hay fever (you can develop hay fever at any age, and there are a million different types of pollen that can affect you). To solve the problem, try either using air conditioning rather than opening the window, or using some Piriton or another anti-allergy medication before you head to bed. Cutting down the offending plants and trees in your garden may also help (particularly if they are close to your windows).


If you go to sleep feeling thirsty, then you will wake up with a dry and painful throat and possibly a headache. Various research has suggested that the majority of us spend most of our time dehydrated – so it would be no surprise if you were among that number. Make sure to drink plenty before you hit the sack, and keep a glass of water by your bed so that you can take sips whenever you wake up. Drinking throughout the day can also help – as long as you don’t end up needing the toilet.


As we sleep we go through various cycles of different ‘stages’ of sleep. There’s four levels of ‘SWS’ (slow wave) sleep as well as REM sleep (rapid eye movement) and each of these affects us differently. If you are woke deepest stages of sleep, then you will find that you end up feeling incredibly groggy and as though you’ve been startled awake against your will. Alternatively if you wake up when you are only sleeping lightly, you’ll find you wake up and feel relatively energetic as though you were ‘waking up anyway’.

One way to ensure that you have the latter experience than not, is to try and go to sleep at roughly the same time every night. This way, you will find that your body starts to ‘learn’ which times you tend to go to bed and wake up, and your sleep patterns will regulate themselves accordingly.

Another way you can wake up feeling fresher is to try and bring yourself around gently. One way to do this is with a ‘daylight lamp’, which will gradually get brighter as it gets closer to the time you need to wake up, thereby bringing you around gently and in a more natural manner rather than ‘startling’ you into wakefulness. There are also various alarm clocks and apps that attempt to calculate when you will be in the lightest stages of sleep based on the time you drift off, though these are somewhat pseudoscientific at best.


While we sleep our body will have a hard time regulating temperature, and come four am you’ll be at nearly your coldest point. This in itself can leave you feeling rough the next day if your room and your bedclothes aren’t able to keep you warm, but worse is what happens if it’s still cold outside when you wake up – at which point you can feel run down and have an almost physiological reaction to the very thought of climbing out of bed. Too hot is also a mistake (and will make you sweaty), but make sure that the temperature in the room around you is at least pleasant enough that you don’t feel like hiding yourself away. If this is a problem you face regularly, then try going to sleep with socks on – it will help your body to maintain much more heat and you’ll find you actually sleep more deeply and easily as a result.


Sometimes the desire to climb back into bed can be psychological which makes you feel unwell. This might be down to the fact that you didn’t get as many hours’ sleep as you’d like and that you ‘expect’ yourself almost to feel bad the next day, or it might be down to the fact that you don’t want to get up and face the day ahead. If it’s the latter, then you need to identify what it is that’s causing you so much stress and find coping strategies to help yourself deal with the stress.


The most obvious reason you might wake up feeling unwell or groggy, is simply that you haven’t had a good night’s sleep. This could mean that your sleep was lighter than it should have been, or that you didn’t get enough of it.

If it’s the latter problem that you’re facing, then the solution is relatively easy: you just need to make sure you go to bed earlier next time or that you get up a little later (often this is easier to do). Aim for about eight hours if possible, but note that sleeping for too long can be just as bad for you and that most of us can survive perfectly well on six hours.

Alternatively, if it’s a case of getting poor quality sleep, then you need to try and make sure that you improve on this front too. Having a single light on in the room you sleep in for instance may not be enough to prevent you from actually drifting off, but it could be just enough of a problem to mean that you don’t wake up feeling quite so refreshed. If you have an alarm clock then with an LED display – turn that display around or drape something over it to mask the light. Likewise, even a little noise can also be a problem, so you need to make sure your room is as soundproof as possible.

If you’re waking up feeling rough every day though and you can’t identify any reason that you aren’t sleeping well, then it might be the case that you’re suffering from a sleep disorder such as sleep apnoea. If you’ve made all the changes suggested in this article and you still wake up feeling like death, then check yourself into a doctor and hear what they have to say. Just don’t accept it as ‘normal’.


  1. Very interesting and helpful!

  2. Good article

  3. All makes perfect sense. I'd like more detail on the body's physical response and possible immediate remedies to lift that groggy feeling before going to bed earlier and keeping hydrated.

  4. Phillipa May Fielding

    I have had a virus for weeks now. I have been to my gp three times complaining about fatigue. She sent me for blood tests they come back as post viral fatigue and low vitamin d levels. And at risk of diabetes. Gp said take vitamin d supplement for four weeks if still no improvement come back. Gp gave me a sheet of good foods to stop diabetes coming on and cut down on certain foods. But some mornings I wake groggy dizzy headachy and feeling under the weather and I have to go and lie down for a few hours until it passed. I am not sure if the virus and post viral fatigue has anything to do with it. Or just that my body is trying to cope with low vitamin d levels. It’s all very perplexing I find. I also have had problems with ear wax and being treated for that with olive oil ear drops.

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Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki is a full time writer who spends most of his time in the coffee shops of London. Adam has a BSc in psychology and is an amateur bodybuilder with a couple of competition wins to his name. His other interests are self improvement, general health, transhumanism and brain training. As well as writing for websites and magazines, he also runs his own sites and has published several books and apps on these topics.

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