I Can't Wake Up: What It Means for Your Mental Health (2023)

Have you ever tried to wake up but just couldn't? While occasional sleepiness in the morning is normal, especially if you've had a busy week or stayed up a little too late, constantly being unable to get up in the morning can sometimes be a sign of a mental health problem.

In addition, disturbed sleeping patterns can worsen your mental health and exacerbate existing mental illnesses.

For this reason, it's important not to ignore a chronic inability to get up in the morning. Whether you sleep right through your alarm or lie in bed too exhausted to get up, there are solutions you can implement once you understand the underlying cause of your sleepiness.

13 Possible Reasons Why You're Tired All the Time

What It Means to Be Unable to Wake Up

Are you wondering why you can't get up in the morning or what the underlying cause of your drowsiness could be? There can be a variety of reasons why you're unable to wake up in the morning and some may require more immediate medical attention than others.

Possible Medical Condtions

If you are struggling to wake up in the morning, it's important to rule out medical conditions such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and chronic fatigue syndrome. However, if you have been diagnosed with one of these conditions, your inability to get out of bed may be related to your diagnosis. In this case, a medical professional may prescribe medication or another treatment plan to help with this specific problem.

Sleep paralysis is another condition that can wreak havoc with your ability to wake up. This is a temporary paralysis that typically occurs when you wake up or fall asleep, but it can also happen at other times. Terrifying hallucinations and feelings of dread sometimes accompany it.

If you haven't been diagnosed with any sort of medical disorder and still can't seem to wake up in the morning, it's possible that you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health problem.

Why Is It So Hard to Wake Up?

Below are some mental health conditions that may affect your ability to wake up in the morning.


If you are struggling to wake up in the morning, there is a chance that you may be living with depression. Other symptoms of depression include feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness throughout the day and changes in appetite or sleep patterns.

If you think that your inability to wake up might be related to this condition, it's important to reach out to a professional.

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Mental health conditions such as anxiety may also affect your ability to wake up. People who struggle with this condition often feel stressed and overwhelmed during the day, which can cause sleep problems at night.

This means that you might not be able to fall asleep or stay asleep for an extended period of time each night, making it difficult to wake up the next morning.

Bipolar Disorder

Another potential mental illness that can make it hard to wake up in the morning is bipolar disorder. This condition is characterized by mood swings. The highs and lows that come with it can cause sleep problems at night. This is because your sleep schedule may shift dramatically over a short period of time, either due to depressive or manic episodes.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder is another mental health condition that can make it difficult to wake up in the morning.

While this condition impacts people throughout the year, people who are more susceptible will notice their symptoms become worse during the winter months when there is less sunlight available. This means you might sleep for longer periods of time at night and have difficulty waking up when it is morning.


People who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may also find it difficult to wake up in the morning. This is because those with this condition tend to sleep for shorter periods of time and feel as if they haven't gotten enough sleep when waking up.

In addition, people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder often experience a lack of energy upon waking that can make them want to go back to bed instead of getting ready for work or school.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can also cause you to sleep for more extended periods at night and have more difficulty waking up. This is because people with PTSD often experience nightmares or flashbacks that disrupt their ability to get a good night's rest, causing them to feel tired the following day.

Why Panic Disorder and Anxiety Cause Sleep Issues

Impact on Mental Health

While mental health conditions can make it hard to wake up, being unable to wake up can also take a toll on your mental health. Below is a list of some possible impacts that struggling to wake up may have on you:

  • Decreased energy levels throughout the day, making it more difficult for you to complete tasks and get things done
  • Increased feelings of sadness or depression due to not being able to meet your expectations
  • Negative self-talk about how you cannot accomplish everyday tasks, such as waking up in the morning
  • De-stabilized circadian rhythms, which result in you feeling even more tired and unable to wake up
  • Increased irritability towards others since waking up is taking an emotional toll on you

What to Do When You Don't Want to Do Anything

Tips for Coping With the Inability to Wake Up

If a mental health condition is making it hard for you to wake up, below are some tips to help you cope:

  • Talk to a friend or family member that you trust and let them know what is going on with you, so they can provide support.
  • Make sure you are eating healthy foods throughout the day, so your body will have the energy it needs when morning comes around.
  • Be realistic in terms of meeting your own personal expectations for waking up each day. This means not setting yourself up for failure by expecting too much from yourself during tough times.
  • Exercise during the day. This helps release endorphins which make sleeping easier when nighttime comes around. Studies show that people who exercise tend to experience less insomnia, and they may also have more energy when it comes time for them to wake up in the morning.
  • Treat the underlying mental health condition. If your inability to wake up is caused by another mental health condition, seek treatment from a professional.
  • Take naps to catch up on sleep if you can't sleep at night because of your mental health condition.
  • Create a calming bedtime routine. Do things like taking a warm bath or reading before going to bed; this will help prepare your body and mind for restful sleep.
  • Limit caffeine intake in the afternoon and evening hours. Research has shown that consuming caffeinated beverages within six hours of when you want to go to bed makes it harder for you to fall asleep.
  • Avoid alcohol. Drinking too much before bedtime will only make it harder for you to fall asleep, as well as interfere with your natural hormone levels that regulate sleep and wakefulness.
  • Use a daylight alarm clock. This is a type of clock with a light that turns on gradually so you can wake up more naturally and feel less groggy compared to when using your phone alarm or other electronic alarms.
  • If you tend to have an erratic bedtime, try to reset your circadian rhythm by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day. This might mean waking up early on weekends so that you can maintain a regular schedule on the other days of the week.
  • Limit your exposure to screens before bedtime. This means no TVs, computers, or phones for an hour before you go to sleep. Light from these devices inhibits melatonin release which interferes with REM (rapid eye movement) sleep that helps regulate moods. It also disrupts circadian rhythms by stimulating cortisol production instead of letting it drop naturally.
  • Keep a journal next to your bed. If you have trouble falling asleep at night due to worrying, writing about what is bothering you will help relieve some anxiety. Making a plan for the next day will also ensure your morning goes smoother.
  • Light therapy boxes can be helpful. They emit a bright light that is similar to the sun. This helps regulate your internal clock and ease depression or anxiety that can keep you from falling asleep or waking up.
  • Set multiple alarms. Plug in your phone across the room (so you have to get up to turn it off) and set multiple alarms 15 minutes apart. If the alarm goes off, get up for a few minutes and do something before going back to bed such as taking your morning medication. This will help reduce how long it takes for you to wake up since your body won’t be in deep sleep anymore when each subsequent alarm goes off.

If you or a loved one are finding it challenging to wake up due to a mental health condition, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

A Word From Verywell

If you are struggling with not waking up, it may be time to get help. There can be many reasons for this and there is no shame in getting the support you need. Whether your struggle stems from a mental health condition or just life stressors, reach out and find someone who will listen without judgment.

What Is a Digital Detox?

7 Sources

Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Baglioni C, Nanovska S, Regen W, et al. Sleep and mental disorders: A meta-analysis of polysomnographic research.Psychol Bull. 2016;142(9):969-990. doi:10.1037/bul0000053

  2. National Institutes of Health. Lack of Sleep Disrupts Brain's Emotional Controls.

  3. National Institute of Mental Health. Depression.

  4. National Institute of Mental Health. Bipolar Disorder.

  5. Drake C, Roehrs T, Shambroom J, Roth T. Caffeine effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed.J Clin Sleep Med. 2013;9(11):1195-1200.

  6. Thakkar MM, Sharma R, Sahota P. Alcohol disrupts sleep homeostasis.Alcohol. 2015;49(4):299-310.

  7. Kunz D, Mahlberg R, Müller C, Tilmann A, Bes F. Melatonin in patients with reduced REM sleep duration: two randomized controlled trials.J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004;89(1):128-134.

I Can't Wake Up: What It Means for Your Mental Health (1)

By Arlin Cuncic
Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety."

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What mental illness makes it hard to wake up? ›

Mental health conditions like anxiety and depression can also make it challenging to wake up early in the morning.

Why cant I wake up in the morning no matter how hard I try? ›

Sleep inertia, or wake-up grogginess, is the main reason you're unable to fully wake up in the morning or after a nap. It's a completely normal part of your sleep-wake cycle that's intensified by factors like high sleep debt and circadian misalignment (caused by sleeping in, social jetlag, and travel jet lag).

What does it mean when you have trouble waking up? ›

Difficulty waking up in the morning causes

These include: parasomnias, such as sleepwalking, sleep talking, and night terrors. sleep apnea, which causes periods of stopped breathing during sleep. sleep deficiency, which can involve not getting good quality sleep, or sleep deprivation, which is not getting enough sleep.

How do you deal with not being able to wake up? ›

Wake-Up Tips: How to Make the Morning Easier
  1. Start Small. 1/11. ...
  2. Put Your Alarm Out of Reach. 2/11. ...
  3. Let in the Light. 3/11. ...
  4. Enjoy a Morning Splurge. 4/11. ...
  5. Sip a Cup of Joe. 5/11. ...
  6. Schedule a Morning Sweat Session. 6/11. ...
  7. Fuel Up. 7/11. ...
  8. Power Down Before Bedtime. 8/11.
Jan 23, 2022

Is trouble waking up a symptom of depression? ›

Difficulty getting out of bed

It's perfectly normal to enjoy sleeping in or spending time in bed. However, if it has become difficult to find the motivation to get out of bed or get ready in the morning, this could be a sign of depression.

Does depression make waking up difficult? ›

Signs of morning depression

Have a hard time getting up in the morning. Experience hypersomnia, or sleeping too much.

Does ADHD make it hard to wake up? ›

People with ADHD frequently report having trouble waking up in the morning. For help getting out of bed, try using light therapy or plan something enjoyable for when you get out of bed, such as exercise or a nice breakfast.

Why can't I force myself to wake up? ›

Possible Medical Condtions. If you are struggling to wake up in the morning, it's important to rule out medical conditions such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and chronic fatigue syndrome. However, if you have been diagnosed with one of these conditions, your inability to get out of bed may be related to your diagnosis.

How do I force myself to wake up? ›

16 Ways to Wake Yourself Up Naturally
  1. Avoid Hitting the Snooze Button. ...
  2. Expose Yourself to Bright Light. ...
  3. Make the Bed. ...
  4. Drink a Glass of Orange Juice. ...
  5. Enjoy a Cup of Coffee. ...
  6. Drink Two Glasses of Water. ...
  7. Stretch. ...
  8. Start Your Day With a Workout.

Why do I not feel like waking up? ›

Why can I not get up in the morning? Possible underlying reasons include depression and anxiety. Depression is linked to dysania, a nonmedical term for when a person feels the need to stay in bed without sleeping. A wide range of physical conditions can also lead to fatigue, making it hard to get up.

Why is getting out of bed so hard? ›

The inability to get out of bed is a common symptom of someone suffering from a mental health disorder or substance use disorder. Often people who struggle with depression, anxiety, or any type of substance abuse may find it challenging to face the day each morning by getting out of bed.

How do you wake up with ADHD? ›

How to Wake Up When You Have ADHD
  1. 1) Have More Than 1 Alarm Clock. 3 seems to be the magic number. ...
  2. 2) Don't Press Snooze! ...
  3. 3) Getting Up to Take ADHD Meds. ...
  4. 4) Wake Up and Smell… ...
  5. 5) Have Something to Motivate You in The Morning. ...
  6. 6) Music. ...
  7. 7) Have a Morning Routine. ...
  8. 8) Get a Novel Alarm Clock.

What happens when you try to wake up but you can t? ›

Sleep paralysis happens when you cannot move your muscles as you are waking up or falling asleep. This is because you are in sleep mode but your brain is active. It's not clear why sleep paralysis can happen but it has been linked with: insomnia.

Why is it so hard to wake up even after 8 hours of sleep? ›

There could be a variety of reasons why you are still tired after sleeping for 8 hours. It could be due to poor sleep quality, lifestyle factors such as stress, poor diet, and lack of exercise or an underlying health condition.

Is it OK to stay in bed all day once in a while? ›

While making a habit of spending the day in bed or on the couch is not good for anyone, using it as a well-placed conscious tool for your emotional and mental well-being is absolutely ok. As a matter of fact, it's an investment in your health.

What is Clinomania? ›

Dysania is closely associated with clinomania, which is an obsession with or profound desire for staying in bed. These terms are not widely recognized by the medical community. Some professionals use the term clinophilia.

What is one sleep symptom of major depression? ›

Depression can cause fragmented sleep, which may lead to increased levels of sleepiness and fatigue during waking hours. Those who are experiencing difficult depression-related symptoms may feel the need to sleep more than usual, but most adults should aim to get at least seven hours of sleep per day.

What mental disorders cause anxiety? ›

Examples of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), specific phobias and separation anxiety disorder. You can have more than one anxiety disorder. Sometimes anxiety results from a medical condition that needs treatment.

How can I wake up happy? ›

The Easiest Ways To Wake Up Happy Every Morning, According To A Laughter Therapist
  1. Start your morning with gratitude. The first thing you should do every morning is write down three things you're grateful for. ...
  2. Smile. ...
  3. Take a deep breath. ...
  4. Go outside. ...
  5. Just dance. ...
  6. Wear bright colors. ...
  7. Volunteer. ...
  8. Play with a puppy.

Why is it hard for people with depression to shower? ›

“One reason that depression often makes it hard to shower is that decreased energy and motivation are two of the symptoms,” Ballard said. Fatigue involves feeling too tired to do things, even when you want to do them. The added lack of motivation makes it even harder to take care of routine things like showering.

Is there a pill to help you wake up? ›

B・SYNC ON is the world's first clinically tested wake-up pill, designed to support and improve your waking process and mood. 1 pack contains 20 capsules, 1 per day. Our clinical studies suggest it can substantially help you after a single dose, though daily intake helps align your inner clock with your lifestyle.

What does ADHD brain fog feel like? ›

ADHD brain fog causes people to feel unfocused and mentally exhausted. Brain fog can also cause anxiety, depression, low productivity, forgetfulness, and problems communicating with others. When all these factors combine, it becomes virtually impossible for the person to function normally.

Should I take Adderall as soon as I wake up? ›

Note: The first dose of the medication should be taken when you first wake up. Any additional doses should be taken every four to six hours.

What sleep inertia feels like? ›

After awakening from a nap or a long sleep episode (for example, 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night), people tend to feel groggy from sleep inertia. Sleep inertia is a temporary disorientation and decline in performance and/or mood after awakening from sleep.

What is sleep drunkenness? ›

Sleep drunkenness is a casual term for confusional arousal, which is a type of parasomnia. A parasomnia is an unusual behavior that happens while you're asleep or just waking up. Confusional arousal is a problem with sleep inertia when your brain transitions between sleeping and waking up.

Is there a sleep debt? ›

A person with an 8-hour sleep need who gets 6 hours each day for 5 days builds a sleep debt of 10 hours. As sleep debt builds, brain and body functioning deteriorate. Sleep is needed to “pay down” this debt.

When I wake up I want to cry? ›

Mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, tend to be the biggest reason adults wake up crying. If you haven't been diagnosed with a disorder, consider waking up crying as an important symptom to discuss with a doctor.

How long should you lay in bed after waking up? ›

Light exposure stops the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Staying in Bed Too Long: If you wake up during the night and cannot fall back asleep, experts recommend getting out of bed after 15 to 30 minutes.

What does it mean you're always tired? ›

You may be too exhausted even to manage your daily affairs. In most cases, there's a reason for the fatigue. It might be allergic rhinitis, anemia, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, lung disease (COPD), a bacterial or viral infection, or some other health condition.

How do I motivate myself to get out of bed? ›

Create a morning routine worth waking up for
  1. Start slow: Sit up. Start with the basics: Just try to sit up. ...
  2. What's for breakfast? Start thinking food. ...
  3. Don't disregard the classics — try an alarm. ...
  4. Focus on what's around you. ...
  5. Get yourself motivated with routine. ...
  6. Remember, give yourself time to create a routine you'll enjoy.
Oct 30, 2018

What are the signs of ADHD in female adults? ›

  • Impulsiveness.
  • Disorganization and problems prioritizing.
  • Poor time management skills.
  • Problems focusing on a task.
  • Trouble multitasking.
  • Excessive activity or restlessness.
  • Poor planning.
  • Low frustration tolerance.
Jan 25, 2023

How do people with ADHD sleep? ›

Other sleep problems reportedly associated with ADHD in children and/or adults include early and middle insomnia, nocturnal awakening, nocturnal activity, snoring, breathing difficulties, restless sleep, parasomnias, nightmares, daytime sleepiness, delayed sleep phase, short sleep time and anxiety around bedtime ( ...

Does ADHD count as a disability? ›

Is ADHD considered a disability? Yes, ADHD is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). There are several types of disabilities, including but not limited to: learning disability.

What happens to your brain when you sleep high? ›

Short-term cannabis use appears to increase the time you spend in deep sleep, the stage that helps you wake up feeling refreshed. However, THC decreases the amount of time you spend in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, when you spend more time dreaming, processing emotions, and cementing new memories.

What does it mean when you talk in your sleep? ›

Sleep talking usually occurs by itself and is most often harmless. However, in some cases, it might be a sign of a more serious sleep disorder or health condition. REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) and sleep terrors are two types of sleep disorders that cause some people to shout during sleep.

What is a false awakening loop? ›

A false awakening loop is when a subject dreams about waking up over and over again, sometimes even up to 10 times or more without knowing which time they are actually awake. At times the individual can perform actions unknowingly. The movie A Nightmare on Elm Street popularized this phenomenon.

What sleep disorder is hard to wake up? ›

Sleep Disorders

Idiopathic hypersomnia: People with idiopathic hypersomnia often find it difficult to wake up.

What are signs of sleep deprivation? ›

Lack of sleep impairs performance
  • Reduced alertness.
  • Shortened attention span.
  • Slower than normal reaction time.
  • Poorer judgement.
  • Reduced awareness of the environment and situation.
  • Reduced decision-making skills.
  • Poorer memory.
  • Reduced concentration.

What is high sleep debt? ›

Sleep debt, also called a sleep deficit, is the difference between the amount of sleep someone needs and the amount they actually get. For example, if your body needs eight hours of sleep per night but you only get six, you have accumulated two hours of sleep debt.

Why can't I wake up no matter how much sleep I get? ›

Sleep inertia, or wake-up grogginess, is the main reason you're unable to fully wake up in the morning or after a nap. It's a completely normal part of your sleep-wake cycle that's intensified by factors like high sleep debt and circadian misalignment (caused by sleeping in, social jetlag, and travel jet lag).

How unhealthy is it to stay in bed all day? ›

Sitting or lying down for too long increases your risk of chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Too much sitting can also be bad for your mental health. Being active is not as hard as you think. There are lots of simple ways to include some physical activity in your day.

Does lying in bed all day make you tired? ›

Oversleeping feels so much like a hangover that scientists call it sleep drunkenness. But, unlike the brute force neurological damage caused by alcohol, your misguided attempt to stock up on rest makes you feel sluggish by confusing the part of your brain that controls your body's daily cycle.

Why am I tired no matter how much I sleep? ›

Hypersomnia means excessive sleepiness. There are many different causes, the most common in our society being inadequate sleep. This may be due to shiftwork, family demands (such as a new baby), study or social life. Other causes include sleep disorders, medication, and medical and psychiatric illnesses.

What are the symptoms of sleep inertia? ›

Sleep inertia is a temporary disorientation and decline in performance and/or mood after awakening from sleep. People can show slower reaction time, poorer short-term memory, and slower speed of thinking, reasoning, remembering, and learning.

Why do I never feel rested? ›

If you aren't feeling rested when you wake up, despite getting to sleep at least 8 hours prior, then it might not be the quantity of your sleep that's the problem. It could be your sleep quality that needs some attention. The amount of sleep you get is important, but equally important is the quality of that sleep.

What illnesses can cause extreme fatigue? ›

Fatigue can also occur with the following illnesses:
  • Addison disease (a disorder that occurs when the adrenal glands don't produce enough hormones)
  • Anorexia or other eating disorders.
  • Arthritis, mainly adult or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • Cancer.
  • COVID-19.
  • Diabetes.

Why am I feeling sleepy all the time? ›

There are several health conditions that can make you feel tired or exhausted. These include: iron deficiency anaemia. underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)

Should I go back to sleep if I wake up tired? ›

Should you go back to bed if tired? Waking up tired doesn't necessarily mean you should go back to bed and sleep more, especially if you're getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Experiencing a little tiredness upon waking is totally normal and should subside within 15 minutes to an hour.

Why do I feel drugged when I wake up? ›

That heavy feeling right after you wake up is called sleep inertia. You feel tired, maybe a little disoriented, and not quite fully ready to hit the ground running. It can affect anyone.

How do I pay back my sleep debt? ›

To minimize sleep debt, regularly get the length of sleep you need to feel rested when you awaken. If you have built up sleep debt, allow extra time for sleep: go to bed early. You sleep more deeply when you are sleep deprived, so you do not need to “pay back” hour for hour the lost sleep.

What is micro sleeping? ›

Simply put, microsleep is when you fall asleep for a period of several seconds. As the name implies, microsleep occurs so quickly that people who have an episode might not even realize they have fallen asleep. Microsleep can occur at any time of day, not just at night.

Why do I keep going back to sleep after I wake up? ›

Reasons for waking up tired

For most people, feeling tired when you wake up is the result of sleep inertia, which is a natural feeling you experience as you transition between being asleep and awake. This feeling generally dissipates between 15 and 60 minutes after waking, but for some it can last longer.


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