Waking Up In The Morning

Beep beep beep! The alarm goes off and you hit the snooze button. Beep beep beep! You hit snooze again. You let this charade carry on just a few more cycles, before you reluctantly get up, bumble around and try to get ready for work. Some people need a cup of coffee to help them wake up, and others take a cold shower or like to energize with a run. Whatever it is that helps you, if you’re not a morning person, chances are it’ll take you a while to fully wake up.

Maybe you are a morning person but live or work with people who aren’t. Having a conversation when they’ve just woken up can be quite frustrating, or sometimes amusing. It’s almost like they’re living in slow motion, taking super long to respond or even acknowledge that you’ve said something. While everyone takes a different amount of time to fully ‘wake up’, we all have that short (or long) period in the morning where we’re still half asleep.

Getty Images / EyeEm / Panpreeda Mahaly

When we first wake up, our brain doesn’t switch from ‘I’m asleep’ to ‘I’m awake’ in an instant. It goes through a transition period, where we’re not really awake yet, known as sleep inertia. This is where the brain progressively achieves normal wakefulness, and with it, our cognitive and mental performance. It usually takes around 30 minutes for the brain to fully achieve this, although for some people it can last up to four hours!

As to why some people are grumpier than others, well, this not only depends on the quality and amount of sleep they had, but genes tend to play an important role as well. The melatonin (sleep hormone) levels of a ‘night owl’ are more likely to rise later in the evening, and decrease later in the morning than a ‘morning person’. So the next time you miss your coffee cup when you’re pouring your first cup of the morning, and you’re ready to laugh about it later in the day, remember there’s an explanation for everything.