The Many Reasons You Can’t Get Out Of Bed

Waking up is hard to do. What can we do to make it easier?

The Many Reasons You Can’t Get Out Of Bed

Sure, the most successful people do an annoyingly large number of things before breakfast. Great. But what if we can’t get out of bed first?


Not being able to get out of bed is a monster.

A hydra of many bed heads, if you would, since there’s one experience–that of not being able to get going–that could spring from many causes. As Dennis Rosen, a sleep specialist writing at Psychology Today notes, we don’t have a ton of awareness about sleep disorders or how to treat them. So let’s awaken a little slumber literacy.

Waking up is hard to do.

Morning grogginess could spring from a range of causes, Rosen says. They include:

  1. Insufficient sleep: Most people need seven to eight hours, unless you’re of the sleepless elite.
  2. Irregular sleep syndrome: You can only sleep for one to four hours before waking.
  3. Circadian rhythm phase delay: Your natural sleep schedule is incongruent with society’s early-morning norms.
  4. Poor sleep hygiene: You use stimulants and eat a lot before bed, don’t get enough sunlight, and avoid a bedtime routine.
  5. Medication: These have lots of side effects that mess with your sleep.
  6. An underlying physical or psychiatric disorder: Depression, schizophrenia, and others affect sleep, as you may imagine.

As Robert T. Gonzalez notes at io9, these conditions are often interconnected:

Consider, for example, the growing number of related and increasingly recognized circadian rhythm sleep syndromes (including Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder and Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder, aka DSPD and ASPD, respectively), which syndromes are thought to arise in people with biological rhythms that are out of time with the tempo of modern society. These disorders originate at the cellular level, have been linked to serious metabolic dysfunction and are thought to have a hand in the elevated incidence of other disorders like heart disease and diabetes–the latter of which has been linked repeatedly to an increased risk of sleep apnea, an incredibly common (and underdiagnosed) sleeping disorder.

So what do we do about it?

If it feels like a major problem, Dr. Rosen says, consult a board-certified sleep specialist. But if it’s more minor, taking better care of your sleep hygiene might be a start.

Hat tip: Psychology Today

[Image: Flickr user Ricardo Velasquez]


About the author

Drake Baer was a contributing writer at Fast Company, where he covered work culture. He's the co-author of Everything Connects, a book about how intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational psychology shape innovation.