How do you wake up given 'enough' sleep?

Hello all,

I’ve been messing with my sleep timing to try to wake up better and get out of bed faster. I’m wondering what you guys feel like when waking up when you get what you believe to be enough sleep.

I’m asking because I’ve been trying to get more sleep so that I don’t wake up as poorly but I still wake up super tired after what seems like it should be enough sleep. I’ve varied between 6-9 hours of sleep and even at 9 I wake up pretty tired. Although significantly less tired than 6 hours. It seems like up to about 7 and a half hours there are very significant diminishing returns on more sleep.

I should mention that given 10 hours of sleep I wake up fine with just some grogginess. So I can wake up nicely but 10 hours is a little excessive.

I’m mostly just trying to figure out if my expectations are too high and waking up pretty tired is just a fact of being stuck in a human body. Or if other people can wake up easily when given (reasonably) enough sleep. I couldn’t think of a better place to ask than here.


I wake up feeling pretty good if I’ve had 7 or 7.5 hours of sleep for the past few nights. But different people need different amounts of sleep. You mileage may vary.

Oh – and I feel better when I wake up if there’s sunlight in my bedroom when I awake.

If I’m on a regular schedule, I usually wake up shortly before my alarm clock goes off, fwiw.

The amount of sleep required by individual to individual varies a fair bit. Normally I’d be concerned about the quality of your sleep. Having a sleep test might be well worth it to see if you’re suffering from sleep apnea. You needn’t be overweight to have apnea( though it mostly occurs in folks carrying some extra poundage )and the apnea need not be severe. Even moderate apnea might cause some issues if you combine it with not enough sleep in general.

But the other possibility is you just might be one of those people who requires more sleep to function well and requiring 10 hours is within that reasonably normal window. Or in other words ten hours might not be excessive at all - it might just be what you require. If you actually can sleep ten hours( I cannot without exhaustion or drugs ), try doing it for a week and see how you feel at the end of that period. If you’re feeling happy and refreshed, it might just be what you have to try and budget for time-wise.

It’s not just about one night at a time. Sleep debt is a real thing. If you’ve gone short on sleep for a week, then the first night you can sleep in, you just might need ten or even more hours. That’s not the same thing as needing ten hours each and every night.

If you’re experimenting, I’d say to let each amount go for at least a week before you come to any conclusions.

I have no idea. On work days my alarm is set for 5:30 am. When we do not have to wake up at 5:30 am, our dogs wake me up at 5:30 am. So, I get 5.5 to 6 hours of sleep or less no matter what. Any sleep debt will have to be settled through bankruptcy proceedings.

No idea if this applies to you or not, but I noticed a few years ago that I was waking up tired no matter how much sleep I got. (It was much more apparent if I only got 6 hours or so of sleep, though.) Anyway, it turns out that I have moderate sleep apnea. One of the symptoms is that you stop breathing while in deep sleep, including REM sleep. To keep from suffocating, your brain jolts you awake or to a higher state of sleep so that you start breathing again. This means that you never get the proper amount of deep sleep you need, and you feel tired all the time, even when you get enough hours of sleep.

Long story short, I got a CPAP, and now feel more rested with 5-6 hours of sleep with the CPAP than I did with 8-9 hours without. (Getting a full 7-1/2 hours of sleep with the CPAP is even better.)

Anyway, after seeing several sleep doctors for follow-up appointments over the last couple of years, I know one of the main symptoms they look for is people feeling tired even after getting adequate sleep, so you may want to consider getting seen about this.

I have a great app called “Sleep Cycle”. It monitors your sleep and wakes you up within 30 mins of your alarm, when it detects you are in your lightest sleep cycle. So far, it works pretty well, highly recommend.

I was thinking maybe it was sleep apnea but I’m not tired during the day. It’s just the first 30 mins or so. I don’t have any of the other symptoms of sleep apnea either. But I’ll have to look into it more.

I’ve been pretty consistent when changing my sleep schedule. I went in 30 mins increments each lasting at least 2 weeks. And 7 and a half hours is where the improvements slow down. That’s why I started to think maybe I’m just a baby and I should force myself to get up. And that maybe everyone is this tired but I’m expecting better. It’s hard to explain how I feel when I wake up without sounding like a robot feigning being a human.

This probably should have been mentioned in the OP but I take caffeine immediately upon waking up. I take 200mg of caffeine in pill form then lay back down until I feel more awake. I’m starting to think I’ve trained my body to need it to wake up. So even the extra sleep doesn’t help make me less tired upon waking because I just need the caffeine. I don’t take any caffeine other than that. I’m planning on cutting that out and seeing if it helps.

I tried the sleep cycle app and it helped a little but it very often wouldn’t wake me up between sleep cycles. I think it tries to detect whether you’re in a sleep cycle or not by how much you’re moving but I don’t move almost at all while I’m asleep. And I don’t make almost any noise so I think it was just guessing. The little graph that shows your sleep would just be a pretty flat line once I’m asleep. Plus I’m now letting my dog sleep on my bed so he’ll probably confuse it.

One thing that helped for waking up in between sleep cycles is a wake up light. I do find that sometimes I just wake up naturally from the light. But even then I’m just about as tired as usual.

Like Chronos says, sleep debt is a real thing. I can usually function reasonably well all day after a night of 5-6 hours sleep, but another 5-6 hour night and the day after that, I start to run into issues. And caffeine is not a substitute for sleep.

The advice I got (from my cousin-in-law who ran the sleep clinic and my mother who did a sleep study) is to take a week or so and sleep as much as you want, until you are caught up. Then, set your alarm for your usual time, but go to bed a half-hour earlier every night until you wake up before the alarm. However much you slept that night is the amount of sleep you need.

If you can’t sleep, get out of bed and do something moderately boring - not TV.

FWIW. This did NOT work for my mother the insomniac. I usually sleep a total of 7-7.5 hours a night. Not counting waking up once to go tinkle, and not counting telling Leet the Wonder Dog[sup]TM[/sup] to stop poking me with his nose because it is Saturday and we don’t have to get up at 5:58am. Whereupon he will go floomp on the floor with an exasperated sigh and (usually) let me sleep for another 45 minutes. Or go poke my wife to see if she will let him outside to go potty and feed him his breakfast.

Most of the time, in the morning, I am not groggy. I am stiff and my back hurts, but that’s because I am old, and sometimes it is worse if I sleep too long. Coffee, naproxen, and breakfast, and pretty soon I am as good as I am going to get.


Ah! I was going to ask for clarification—do you wake up tired and stay tired, or are you just tired right when you wake up but the tiredness wears off after awhile? Sounds like it’s the latter.

Some people just go from Fully Asleep to Fully Awake faster than others. You could try drinking a big glass of water immediately upon getting up (I do this, on the theory that I may have gotten a bit dehydrated over the course of the night and this could be contributing to my drowsiness), or try starting your day with some physical and/or mental exercise, or just allow more time to get fully awake.

I have a back problem that prevents me from being horizontal and comfortable for long stretches. Regardless of how much sleep I could use, my back will eventually wake me up and tell me it’s time to get up.

I do the same with water. You lose moisture while sleeping through sweating and respiration, so I always re-hydrate first thing.

I often feel worse after a long sleep than a short sleep. More groggy. But I will feel better through the day. For me, how I feel waking up is not necessarily a good indicator of how well I slept. Often it is related to what part of my sleep cycle I wake up in.