You may have an image of the ideal morning—waking up refreshed and smiling to a sunlit room, a cool breeze, and perhaps a coffee brought to you by a loving partner. But for most of us, the reality is that waking up usually involves passing through a stage of sleep inertia.
Sleep inertia is a normal part of the waking process, caused by the fact that our brains prefer a gradated transition between two states of being. As your mind kicks into gear and your body slowly becomes mobile, you can feel grogginess, disorientation, irritability, and a sense of confusion.
For most people, inertia only lasts a few minutes, although according to this article by sleep specialists at the University of South Australia, it can sometimes last for up to an hour.
And while sleep inertia might explain the tiredness we experience at the point of waking, many of us feel that there’s something bigger going on—that is, no matter how many hours of sleep we get, we still wake up feeling tired and groggy.
This article is designed to get you thinking about possible wider causes behind extended periods of tiredness and discomfort after waking up.