Junk Sleep: When you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep

Your alarm just went off. Ugh. Still tired, you moan and hit “snooze” a few more times before finally forcing yourself out of bed. After you do the math, you realize you’ve technically slept enough hours (even though you could definitely sleep more). Maybe you’ve even tried going to bed earlier and feel frustrated that you’re not yet reaping the benefits. What gives?

One possible reason: You didn’t sleep as well as you think. It has been “junk sleep,” either not long enough or high quality enough to feed your brain and body. For example, maybe you slept eight hours, but not deeply, or you kept waking up all night.

The term “junk sleep” has over 36 million views on TikTokbut if you’ve never heard of it, how do you know you’re dealing with it, what causes it, and how to beat it?

Signs You Have Junk Sleep

For many of us, waking up tired is a given. It makes sense that we need a few minutes (and a few cups of coffee) to fully get going. But when is insufficient sleep to blame – and a problem we need to address?

You wonder if you slept at all and if you can still function.

If you’ve ever woken up and wondered if you actually fell asleep, you know what we’re talking about here.

“You could wake up feeling like you haven’t even slept,” says Kristen Casey, licensed clinical psychologist and specialist in insomnia. “You wake up with a feeling of restlessness, drowsiness or irritability. This kind of sleep does not help us restore our bodily functions and causes difficulties for our functioning the next day.”

In other words, it’s not your everyday desire to rest longer just because your bed feels so comfortable.

You are not too hot emotionally, mentally or physically.

In terms of functioning, you’re having a hard time. You may feel extra anxious, depressed, forgetful, easily distracted or irritable, according to Phil Lawlor, a sleep expert at mattress manufacturer Dormeo. In the long run, you may notice that you get sick more easily, experience chronic pain, have digestive or cardiovascular problems, or feel extremely fatigued.

In addition, you may notice changes in your diet. “Another lesser-known symptom is that you may be eating more than usual,” adds Nicole Eichelberger, a certified sleep expert specializing in insomnia and a consultant at Mattress. This is because sleep deprivation – even one night of itincreases the level of ghrelinthe ‘hunger hormone’.

You don’t really believe in the importance of sleep and sleep hygiene.

Casey likes to help people look at how they feel about sleep because “our thoughts can affect how we feel, behave, and experience the world, including the world of sleep,” she says. “For example, if you don’t think sleep is important, you may not prioritize your sleep routine or care about waking up at the same time every day.”

Nor does this perspective need to be explicit: “I hate sleep and sleep doesn’t matter.” It can look or carry more subtle “revenge delaying bedtime,” for example, deliberately delaying sleep because you want more free time. (Understandable, but useless!)

As a result, Casey added, you may not practice solid sleep hygienelike adding a soothing buffer before bed.

Junk Sleep: When you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep

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