Have you noticed some people wake-up spunky and others grumpy? The spunky smile, sing and swing their way into morning. The grumpy frown, whine and fight their way into the waking hours. What prompts these different reactions? Most experts agree, lack of sleep can certainly lead to a difficult morning. But, often "the grumpy" awake the same way regardless of hours slept.
There are two physiological reasons some grumble and fumble into the day, while others sing and dance: waking blood sugar levels and sleep inertia. For the grumpy, hitherto referred to as "groggy" (gray and foggy), waking comes in stages. It is not choice or temperament. It is involuntary, linked to physical state. Believe me, I am one. The groggy prefer to wake spunky and wide-awake, but it doesn't happen that way. We wander through fuzz and mist to find morning. We can conquer the world, just not right-off-the-pillow.
Low blood sugar—hypoglycemia—is one explanation. Some wake-up hungry with depleted energy. Waking them with a glass or bottle of juice in hand can make a huge difference. It helps to squelch the confusion, fuzziness and moodiness produced by hypoglycemia. These need to eat first thing. Dressing then eating will complicate the problem. Give it a try, if you live with a "groggy."
Another explanation, for groggies, is sleep inertia. "Sleep inertia is the result of sudden awakening from an unsuitable sleep stage. They still have high levels of melatonin causing sleepiness," explains the Arizona Sleep Center. This uncompleted cycle leaves the person in a groggy state due to melatonin levels that would have subsided had the cycle finished.
Unfortunately, most people do not have the liberty of waking naturally. So, what can be done?
Here are a few suggestions:
• Pull curtains back 15-30 minutes prior to wake time. Light signals the brain to wake. If waking before sunrise, light alarm clocks have had successful results.
• If opening the curtains is not enough, approach gently, calmly, speaking quietly. A loud and abrupt wake-up call is jolting, just like an alarm clock.
• Soft music helps the groggy wake more naturally: try a music alarm playing softly.
• Alleviate morning decision-making. Don't bombard groggies with questions or yell directives from another room. Any of these or any mixture help make a more palatable morning for those with sleep inertia.
Patience is key. Remember, groggies don't relish this morning dilemma. The key: give time for the fog to lift; everyone will be happier.