Got 8 Hours Of Sleep & Still Feel Groggy When You Wake Up? This Could Be Why

mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant By Sarah Regan
mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant

Sarah Regan is a writer, registered yoga instructor, and Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Young woman feeling groggy with a blue sky background

We've all had those mornings when you can't seem to shake the grogginess—even if you got a full eight hours of sleep. And if it's happening on a consistent basis, you're no doubt wondering what can be done.

The answer may lie in deep and REM sleep—specifically, how much of it you're getting. And as it turns out, the number of hours you're asleep isn't necessarily associated with how much deep sleep you're getting. Here's why the later sleep stages are so essential to achieving restful and restorative sleep, plus how to get more of them.

Why REM sleep is so important for energized mornings.

We cycle through four stages of sleep every night, each with a different function. There's Stage 1, as you drift off; Stage 2, or light sleep; Stage 3, which is deep sleep; and finally Stage 4, or REM sleep.

In deep sleep, the body repairs cells and promotes muscle and tissue growth. And in REM sleep, which happens to be the sleep stage in which we dream, the brain is believed to consolidate memories.

According to board-certified family medicine doctor Robert Rountree, M.D., these sleep stages are crucial to wake up feeling rested. "In my opinion, it's not the total hours you're in bed; it's how much deep sleep and how much REM sleep you're getting," he tells mbg co-founder Jason Wachob on the mbg podcast. "Some people can be in bed for six hours and get two hours of deep and two hours of REM—those people are my heroes."

Because, unfortunately, some of us have more difficultly achieving deep sleep and REM sleep than others. Whether because of issues like insomnia or anxiety, certain medications, even drinking before bed—the list goes on. Luckily, there are a few things we can do to help our bodies get into deeper sleep every night.

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How to get more REM sleep.

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To ease into a deep, restorative night's sleep, your body and nervous system need to be able to relax. This will help you not only fall asleep faster but stay asleep and cycle through the sleep stages effectively. One way to help do this is with a magnesium supplement.

mbg's magnesium+, for example, has been found in research to reduce stress and calm neurotransmitter hyperactivity, with additional research finding it reduces the stress of the nervous system, promoting a steady state of relaxation that helps you stay asleep longer and wake up refreshed.

"That's kind of the starter. It's tried and true," Rountree says of magnesium on the podcast. "We've been using magnesium to help people sleep forever."

Other tips to help stay asleep and wake up refreshed include:

  • putting your phone down at least an hour before bed
  • avoiding alcohol before bed
  • not eating close to bedtime
  • having a bedtime routine
  • having a consistent sleep schedule
  • sleeping in a cool room, around 65 degrees Fahrenheit

When we don't get quality REM and deep sleep, we'll feel it—and nothing throws off a day like waking up groggy. But with a good bedtime routine, the right supplement, and a consistent sleep schedule, it's possible for our bodies to get back to a good night's sleep.

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