Why Does My Body Ache When I Wake Up
A common question about how to improve sleep is why does my body ache when I wake up? There are many reasons for this symptom, but most often it is due to not getting enough restorative sleep. If you have trouble sleeping at night, or if you feel tired during the day, here are some tips to help you learn more about what causes morning body aches.
One reason why people do not sleep well is because they are suffering from chronic pain, such as headaches, backaches, joint pains, etc. This may also occur in conditions such as fibromyalgia where there is an ongoing pattern of muscle soreness, fatigue and exhaustion. Because of these symptoms, people find it difficult to relax and fall asleep, so they end up tossing and turning throughout the night, making their sleep restless and uncomfortable. For example, if one has poor circulation, there could be reduced blood flow to the brain, resulting in grogginess during the early hours of the morning. In addition, those who suffer from allergies tend to experience similar symptoms, since breathing through congested nasal passages stimulates coughing and sneezing, causing dry mucus membranes and reducing the ability to breathe easily. The air itself becomes polluted with allergens, further stimulating the throat tissue into producing mucus, which then coats the lungs and makes them unable to absorb oxygen effectively.
Another cause of morning body aches is the result of eating too much fatty food prior to bedtime. Eating foods high in saturated fats will make the digestive process slower and therefore takes longer for the nutrients to reach the small intestine, where absorption occurs. Fatty foods act like cement along the walls of the stomach and intestines, preventing the movement of fluids and other nutrients toward the bowel, which results in nutrient deficiencies and dehydration. As a consequence, the body wakes up feeling weak and fatigued, and without sufficient water intake, dehydrates even more, creating a vicious circle.
The typical American diet consists primarily of processed foods, which contain large amounts of salt, sugar and refined carbohydrates. These types of foods release chemicals called “stress hormones” into the bloodstream, which create havoc within our bodies. High levels of stress hormones impair immunity, increase inflammation, disrupt normal metabolism and function, and reduce blood volume (which decreases energy). Chronic elevation of stress hormones leads to constant state of mild adrenal burnout — a situation where the adrenals no longer produce adequate quantities of necessary hormones.
If you wake up with a headache, stiff neck or any type of ache or pain in your joints, muscles or elsewhere on your body, chances are you did not get enough sleep! Sleep deprivation tends to aggravate existing health problems by increasing inflammation and oxidation reactions in the body. Lack of sleep affects mood, memory, concentration, thinking skills and reaction times. It also increases susceptibility to infections, reduces wound healing, impairs immune response, and slows down metabolism.
When we sleep, our bodies go through three distinct stages – NREM 1, 2 and 3. Stage N1 is deep sleep; N2 is light sleep, while stage N3 is REM sleep (rapid eye movements), which is when dreams occur. During deep sleep, the heart rate, temperature and blood pressure slow down significantly. Muscle tone diminishes, the eyes close, breathing stops and the entire nervous system shuts down. However, when we are deprived of sleep, all three stages become disrupted, with less deep sleep and more waking periods occurring between sleep cycles.
With insufficient sleep, certain neurotransmitters are affected negatively. One of these neurotransmitters is serotonin, which functions as a natural tranquilizer. Serotonin regulates emotions, appetite, digestion, fluid balance and sexual activity. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression, anxiety, irritability, agitation, insomnia, overeating, obesity, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, suicide attempts and self-mutilations. Another neurotransmitter affected by sleep loss is melatonin, which controls circadian rhythms, regulates hormone production and helps control cell growth and division. Melatonin also aids in the development of healthy bones and teeth, promotes fertility, restores skin complexion, enhances immune responses and protects against cancer.
Exercise is a great way to relieve tension and to manage stress, which in turn helps to promote better sleep patterns. Regular exercise strengthens cardiovascular, respiratory and musculoskeletal systems, improves mobility, lowers cholesterol levels, prevents weight gain, builds lean mass, stimulates bone density and relieves stiffness. Exercise also releases endorphins (a type of chemical messenger) in the brain, triggering feelings of euphoria and relaxation. Endorphins are essential for regulating sleep patterns and they help us stay awake and alert during the day. With regular exercise, the risk of developing hypertension, diabetes and osteoporosis is decreased dramatically. Most importantly, exercising regularly can prevent premature death.
In conclusion, if you are experiencing excessive daytime drowsiness, impaired memory, confusion, inability to concentrate, dizziness, palpitations, chest discomfort and/or shortness of breath, you should consult your doctor immediately. You might have a condition such as hypoglycemia, low potassium, low sodium, high blood pressure, thyroid problem, kidney disease, liver failure or severe infection.
It is important to note that although caffeine may stimulate the central nervous system, it also interferes with normal sleep patterns. Caffeine is a drug that acts as a stimulant and central nervous system depressant, inhibiting normal sleep mechanisms. While moderate amounts of coffee and tea are safe, consuming large amounts of caffeinated beverages late at night may interfere with sleep.
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