I'm so tired in the morning? What are my options?

I go to bed at a decent hour but am still really tired for work in the morning, to the point where I almost nod off throughout the morning. I don’t like the taste of coffee and don’t care for the idea of becoming dependent. I’ve tried having protein in the mornings but that hasn’t done much. I even broke down this morning and bought a 5-Hour Energy, which I understand is not good for you. I only drank half and I was amazed at how alert I was, without being wired up. I don’t want to become dependent on that either, but I do want to stay awake. Thoughts?

Swimming in the morning works for me, if you can join the Y or something. Even just ten laps wakes me up really nicely!

Unfortunately I have to get up really early. I’m a substitute teacher and so I have to be ready for a call telling me where to go. It could come at any time and I could have to leave at any time. It’s too bad though. I do love swimming…

If this has been a consistent problem for more than a few weeks, I’d see a doctor. You may have some sort of sleep disturbance. Apnea springs to mind. You may not be aware of it at all, but it can really adversely affect the quality of your sleep.

Drink Green Tea with a spoon of honey. I hated the taste too, but you get used to it and hey, it is caffeine, so it works. Plus also, it is considered one of the healthier caffeinated drinks.

I’m not a coffee drinker either (hate the taste, bad breath, and yellow teeth). I realized my breakfasts were hurting me. I do better not eating until I am hungry, which is usually not until 1pm in the afternoon. If you must eat breakfast, try only fruit and lay off the protein (although hard boiled eggs are excellent in the morning when eaten alone).

My moods and energy level are directly related to what I put in my mouth. I really pay bigtime when I splurge or eat a “normal American meal.”

Instead of swimming, then, you could do some calisthenics. The only requirement is ten to fifteen minutes and a space big enough to lay down in.

That’s right, or maybe ride a stationary bike. Even high-energy guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger work out in the morning to get their engines revving:


See your doctor. A few blood tests would help you figure this out. This time of year, it could be a vitamin D deficiency. It could be apnea, thyroid issues, or hell… lots of things. But start with the blood tests, IMO.

My first thought was vitamin D deficiency.

Oh, one other thing…

I have no idea what you mean by getting to bed “at a decent hour,” but consider that we’re not all built the same and not everyone is good on 8 hours of sleep. I can get by on 8, but do better on 9 (not that this happens too often). There’s nothing “wrong” with me, I just need more sleep than most people.

There’s also a formula for timing your wake-up time to your natural sleep cycles. Without getting into too much detail, one cycle that goes through all the phases of sleep lasts about 90 minutes, and you will feel more refreshed waking at the end of a cycle than in the middle. So, to figure out how long to allow for sleep, the time should be in multiples of 90, plus about 15 minutes for the time it takes to get to sleep. So, five cycles is actually 7.5 hours, plus 15 minutes, for 7 hours and 45 minutes from bedtime to wake time.

Cool, dark and quiet bedroom. Meaning there’s no TV noise, no electronic lights flickering. I suffered the same until it was pointed out to me that the TV, even muted, was disturbing my sleep by keeping my brain awake.

See your doctor, ask for a sleep study. Warning: you’ll HATE it, and you will be absolutely EXHAUSTED when you go home the next day. However, if you have sleep apnea, getting a CPAP will improve your life!

Thank you everyone for your help. I think I’m going to try some exercise and the green tea with honey. I’ve been trying to exercise more anyways and that will add to it. I’ll also look at the sleep cycles thing and see how that would work for me. I’m not too concerned about vitamin D deficiency because I already take vitamin D every morning. Also, the only stimuli I have in my room at night is some quiet music that turns off once I’m asleep. As for the sleep apnea, I will keep that in mind but I would like to try these other things first. If I can solve it with home remedies then that means one less doctor to visit. Once again, thanks for all of your suggestions. Hopefully I can now be nice and alert for when I go to work in the morning.