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The alarm goes off. You blink, groan, struggle to wake — but your body says no. It feels utterly impossible to haul yourself out of bed.

Everyone feels incapable of getting up from time to time, but if the overwhelming need to stay in bed isn’t going away, you might be dealing with dysania.

While it’s not an official medical diagnosis, dysania can be connected to significant health conditions, so it’s important to find out what’s going on and how to restore your get-up-and-go.

In this article, we’ll look at what we currently know about dysania, along with possible causes and treatment.

Dysania isn’t the same as sleepiness, and it’s not resolved by a good night’s sleep. Medically speaking, dysania may be better known as either sleep inertia or fatigue. It’s the long-term feeling that you’re unable to get out of bed. And even when you do manage to wake up and get going, all you want is to go back to sleep.

Sleep inertia

Sleep inertia refers to a state of intense sleepiness that continues even after you’re up and moving. Researchers call it a transitional stage between sleep and wakefulness, during which you might not be productive or alert. When you’re experiencing sleep inertia, you feel a strong urge to go back to sleep.

Sleep inertia is common for people whose jobs require them to wake suddenly in the middle of a sleep cycle, such as healthcare workers and shift workers. It’s also common in people who have sleep deprivation or mood disorders such as depression.

Fatigue

Fatigue is a deep feeling of exhaustion coupled with a lack of motivation. If you’ve had a physically demanding or emotionally stressful day, a terrible night’s sleep, or a loss that’s left you grieving, you should expect some fatigue.

A certain amount of sluggishness goes with the territory. But when it continues longer than 2 weeks, consult with a health professional.

Dysania could be connected to several different health conditions. Here’s a quick look at illnesses that can cause fatigue, sleep inertia, or dysania.

Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)

People with ME/CFS feel tired whether or not they’ve had a good night’s sleep. They can also experience “crashes,” where they’re overwhelmed with exhaustion after any activity (physical or mental) that’s too demanding.

Researchers aren’t certain what causes ME/CFS. It happens following an infection, an immune disorder, or extreme stress. There may also be a genetic connection.

Depression

Depression and dysania are linked. That’s because depression can cause you to have trouble sleeping, and the lack of sleep can then worsen depression symptoms. Sometimes, fatigue caused by another health condition (such as ME/CFS) can also lead to depression.

Depression is a treatable condition. One of the most important things you can do is talk to a health professional about your symptoms, so you can work together to devise a treatment plan.

Grief

People adapt to loss in different ways. For some people, the period right after a profound loss often comes with emotional effects such as deep sadness, anger, anxiety, and guilt. Physical effects such as heart problems, immune system changes, and sleep disturbances are not unusual. When grief gets worse over time, it’s sometimes called complicated or prolonged grief.

If you think you have a grief-related disorder, talk to a mental health professional. Treatment may be able to help you restore balance to your world, even if the loss is permanent.

Sleep disorders

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reports that there are close to 80 different sleep disorders, any of which could leave you feeling run down and unable to get out of bed in the morning. Insomnia and sleep apnea are two of the most common sleep disorders in the United States.

If you have a sleep disorder, a health professional can help you determine which treatment is best to treat your symptoms. Medication, supplements such as melatonin, light therapy, and changes to your diet and physical exercise routines may help.

Integrative medicine treatments may help, too, such as:

  • relaxation techniques, including meditation
  • massage
  • yoga
  • hypnotherapy
  • acupuncture

Thyroid disorders

Thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease (also known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), can cause you to feel persistent fatigue. The sense of exhaustion can continue for months or years if the thyroid disorder isn’t treated.

Certain heart medications, and conditions like bipolar disorder, can also interfere with the healthy functioning of your thyroid. Some cancer treatments can also cause hypothyroidism.

An under-performing thyroid can usually be treated with medication that aims to replace hormones.

Heart disease

Many diseases that affect your heart and blood vessels can leave you feeling extreme fatigue, even first thing in the morning. If you smoke, are overweight, or have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high blood cholesterol, you may be at a higher risk for developing heart or lung disease.

Talk to a health professional if you’re concerned about your health. You don’t need to wait until symptoms are extreme.

Because dysania can be a symptom of an underlying health condition, it’s important to talk to a health professional right away if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • shortness of breath or chest pain
  • severe headache, abdominal pain, back pain, or pain in your pelvis
  • thoughts of harming yourself or others

To find out what’s causing your dysania, a doctor may ask you about:

  • your medical history, including medications and supplements you take
  • your family’s medical history
  • other symptoms you’re having
  • your daily sleep, exercise, and dietary habits
  • stresses and recent changes in your life

Depending on your symptoms, a doctor may also ask for blood tests, urine tests, lab tests, or tests that show how well your heart is working. They may also refer you to a specialist.

Getting enough sleep is vital for your physical and mental health. In fact, health professionals rank healthy sleep right up there with regular physical exercise and a healthy diet. But too much sleep can also harm your health.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that healthy adults get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night. Regularly sleeping longer can lead to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Here are steps you can take to make sure your sleeping and waking cycles are well-balanced:

  • Take regular walks in daylight to keep your circadian rhythms regular.
  • Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake.
  • Practice good sleep hygiene habits.
  • Devise a morning routine that brings you joy and reduces stress.
  • Eat healthy foods and get enough brisk exercise.

Dysania is a chronic feeling that you just cannot get out of bed in the morning. While it’s not a medical diagnosis, it can be an important clue that you may have another health condition causing extreme fatigue.

If fatigue is keeping you under the covers and interfering with healthy functioning for longer than a couple of weeks, see a health professional to find out what’s causing the problem and how to resolve it.