6 Reasons Why 8 Hours of Sleep Is Not Enough

by Yuyu. Published on March 12, 2022

Are you still tired after 8 hours of sleep? You definitely should not feel that way! In fact, there are simple tips you can implement right away to cure your fatigue and get the energy you need to thrive. Your life is a battle. So, why not make sure your body has all the tools it needs to win while protecting it from disease down the road?

skin medicine
Photo by Cris Saur

You’re Not Sleeping Soundly Enough

If you're not sleeping soundly enough, the quality of your sleep is probably to blame.

You may have breathing difficulties that prevent you from getting restful, deep sleep. For example, if you snore or talk in your sleep, this can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA often disrupts your normal breathing patterns and prevents you from moving into the deeper stages of sleep.

However, even if your breathing during sleep is fine (i.e., no snoring), it's possible that you sleep too lightly to feel rested. Many people with insomnia and other types of poor-quality sleep don't feel rested because their bodies don't move into the deeper stages of REM (rapid eye movement) or non-REM sleep where most physical repair occurs. This is true even if they slept for 8 hours or more each night!

Of course, there are numerous other causes of poor-quality sleep including depression, anxiety, and stress; certain types of pain; alcohol use; medications and stimulants; hormonal changes, and other conditions that can disrupt your body's natural rhythms.

You’re Exercising Too Late in the Day

You may be exercising too late in the day.

Working out elevates your heart rate and body temperature, making it harder to sleep. The ideal time to exercise is three hours or more before bedtime—and the earlier, the better. If you're unable to exercise earlier, it's best not to do it at all. There are exceptions: if you don't have insomnia and you've been exercising regularly for a few weeks, then some vigorous evening workouts won't affect your sleep quality too much.

Your Sleep Schedule Is Inconsistent

You can set your body’s internal clock by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. It's also important to do this on weekends as well, or you'll throw your internal clock off and feel even more tired during the week.

Also, just getting enough hours of sleep doesn't mean that you're sleeping well. You might go to bed at 10 p.m., wake up at 6 a.m., and think that's eight hours of sleep, but if you have trouble falling asleep, stay awake for 30 minutes in the middle of the night, or wake up an hour early feeling restless, you may not be getting enough restorative sleep.

In this case, even if you get eight hours of sleep every night it may not be enough for you to feel fully rested when you get out of bed in the morning.

You’re Eating a Lot of Heavy Foods Before Bedtime

Another culprit of your exhaustion could be those late-night snacks and heavy meals. Your body is working really hard to digest food, which can cause you to feel tired and lethargic.

snacking before sleep
Photo by Amanda Vick
snacking before sleep

If eating before bed is disrupting your sleep, there are some simple fixes for this issue:

  • Eat earlier in the evening. Try not to eat a big meal 2-3 hours before bedtime.
  • Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine before bed. These stimulants may disturb your sleep and leave you feeling groggy the next day.
  • Avoid nicotine right before sleeping and while you sleep (including vape pens). Smoking stimulates your nervous system and makes it harder to fall asleep.

Your Body Clock Hasn’t Adapted to Your Work Hours

You've been doing everything right: going to bed at a reasonable hour, not using your phone before you sleep, not eating too late. But even still, you wake up feeling exhausted and lethargic.

A body clock is something we all have and all share in common. For the most part, our bodies operate on an internal schedule that generally follows the pattern of days and nights.

With shift work or jet lag, it can be easy to lose that rhythm, which can make us feel less than great during waking hours. It's also important to note that if your body doesn't get the quality sleep it needs from your non-traditional schedule or travel plans, you're more likely to experience poor physical or mental health as a result.

Luckily there are some strategies for adapting to your odd work hours or sleeping through flight delays so that you can get the rest you need for your optimal health and well-being

You Have an Underlying Health Complication

The following health issues can all impact your sleep quality, and thus leave you feeling fatigued.

Sleep apnea

This is a condition that causes people to temporarily stop breathing while they're sleeping. It can be scary, and it increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The good news is that a doctor or dentist can usually help by creating a breathing device for you to wear at night.

Restless legs syndrome

You may have heard this one mentioned on TV or radio ads—and with good reason! It's very common among people who feel tired despite having gotten eight hours of sleep the night before. This is a neurological disorder that causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs during periods of rest, making it difficult to get some shut-eye.

Though unpleasant, it's typically not dangerous, and there are medications that can help control symptoms like twitching muscles and tingling skin.

Conclusion

A consistent and restful sleep should leave you feeling refreshed, so if you're still tired after 8 hours of sleep, consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Sleep debt can accumulate over the years, leading to overwhelming tiredness that is not remedied by simply sleeping more.

It's important to get tested for any underlying medical conditions, such as depression or diabetes. A doctor will be able to help you determine what could be causing your excessive tiredness and how best to treat it.