Article by Mary Grace Garis for Well + Good
The good-slash-incredibly-bad news is that this fatigue in the morning isn’t an uncommon quarantine #mood (meaning you’re not alone in your sleepiness), and there are several logical reasons to explain it. First is that all of our negative emotions and worries related to these pandemic times are weighing us down, under the covers and otherwise.
“Stress is extremely draining and can lead to fatigue,” says Shelby Harris, PsyD, sleep-health expert and author of The Women’s Guide to Overcoming Insomnia. “Plus, many of us are feeling more anxiety and depression due to the circumstances in the world, and fatigue is a symptom as well.”
Another related reason to explain new fatigue in the morning is that for many of us, our lifestyles have been completely upended. While it’s possible that you’ve embraced some healthy habits during this time, especially at the beginning of sheltering in place, you might well find yourself backsliding into older habits that don’t necessarily serve you. And it’s totally possible that’s what’s making you more tired.
“Many people are on their screens late at night, or find they are up in the middle of the night and have disrupted sleep due to stress, worry, or just overall a more sedentary lifestyle,” says Dr. Harris. “Also, we aren’t moving as much as usual or getting enough light exposure, and many people aren’t eating as healthfully as usual. These are all things that can lead to increased fatigue.”
But, if you are still on top of your best quarantine practices (good for you, but can’t relate) and still feel leaden in bed every morning at the sound of your alarm, there’s one other big-time contributing factor that may explain your fatigue in the morning. “Many of us have also shifted to later bed times, and we sometimes find that we haven’t slept enough if we need to get up in the morning,” says Dr. Harris. Staying up late at night will clearly play into early-morning grogginess, whether it’s 2 a.m. COVID-19 worries keeping you up or anything else.
So the next time you find yourself wondering how it’s possible that you’re so tired every morning, know that you’re not alone—this is a mentally exhausting time. Sure, once you can identify probable root causes of your sunrise sleepiness, you can triage those underlying situations, but still, don’t beat yourself up if you hit snooze once. Twice. Maybe three times. Fine, it was four.