Do you wake up in a bad mood? Do you live with someone who wakes up in a bad mood? Come on, admit it -- you know who you do . . . I will admit that I wake up in a terrible mood. I hate to be woken up by an alarm clock, a person, the sunshine or even by my own head. I just hate waking up and I especially hate those people who wake up instantly, happy, singing and dancing about in the wee hours of the morning. I happen to be married to one of those "happy" morning people but somehow I have managed not to strangle him for 21 years now.
It was a shock to me to learn that most people are cheerful upon waking up. In fact, a study by researchers at Cornell University determined after analyzing millions of tweets that people are most cheerful soon after waking up. Personally, I think they may have failed to realize that those of us who are not happy when we wake up have absolutely no use for tweeting and can barely be civil when speaking much less when trying to text. Nevertheless, it bothers me that maybe something is wrong with me because I am not in a great mood when I wake up -- something I have somehow passed to my daughter, who also is grumpy in the morning. Therefore, I decided to research my own sleeping behavior and morning moods to determine if there is something wrong with me or if it is as I assumed and my husband is just a freak of nature in the morning.
Possible causes of bad moods in the morning
- Lack of sleep. Everyone knows that not getting enough sleep can cause fatigue, physical illness and certainly a negative mood in the morning. However, I sleep at least eight hours each night so I ruled out lack of sleep as a reason for my bad mood upon waking.
- Lack of Vitamin D. Sunlight and Vitamin D are essential for humans to be healthy both physically and mentally. In fact, milk contains an amino acid (tryptophan) that is used to produce serotonin in the brain (a chemical that helps prevent depression and elevates mood). I take a Vitamin D supplement, drink plenty of milk (with the brownies I sneak at night) and at least go outside in the sun two or three times each day. Still, I hate waking up in the morning.
- Blaring alarm clock. Who could be in a good mood when a loud, blaring alarm clock is what wakes them out of peaceful slumber each morning? Unfortunately, I must have the shrill sound of an alarm clock (sitting across the room so I do not hit snooze) to force me out of the bed each morning. I tried the peaceful sounds of the ocean as an alarm clock but I simply stayed asleep and dreamed I was in Hawaii.
- Avoid stimulants several hours before bedtime. If I cannot have a cup of coffee or a piece of chocolate cake after dinner, this only makes me cranky in the evenings. I also like to relax a little before going to bed by watching something funny and mindless on television or surfing the Internet; however, I gave these up for a week to see if this was the cause of my morning bad mood. I did feel more rested but hated waking up and getting out of bed just as much as before.
- Medication side effects. Some medications can cause you to toss and turn during the night, making you ill when you wake up in the morning. I checked my medications and none of them have any adverse side effects that could result in a bad night's sleep or a bad morning mood. Too bad I cannot blame the bad mood on them.
- Too much light. Believe it or not, too much light at night can cause you to have restless sleep and be tired the next day. Our bodies are naturally wired to sleep when it is dark and be awake when it is light (well, some of us are wired that way). Having too much light at night may signal your body that it is time to wake up. We turn out all of the lights in the entire house at night so I know this is not the cause of my morning mood.
- Exercising too close to bedtime or too vigorously before bed. This may be the reason some people have a bad night's sleep and wake up in a bad mood; however, it clearly does not apply to me.
- Illnesses. Some illnesses such as heart disease, overactive thyroid, Restless Leg Syndrome, asthma and diabetes can cause sleep problems. Thankfully I do not suffer from these, so I can rule them out for my bad mood in the morning.
Unfortunately, I cannot find any explanation for my bad mood in the morning except one -- myself. I did realize that I can reduce my bad mood in the morning by removing the one thing that irritates me the most -- the happy husband. When my husband leaves for work before I get up, I can get ready in quiet and do not need to communicate with anyone until I have had time to wake up and drink at least two cups of coffee. When my husband is home, he is humming, whistling or singing while in the shower and then wants to chat and be silly. Yes, I love him dearly and he is a terrific man but it is just too much of a wonderful thing to take immediately upon waking. Thankfully, during the work week he is up and out before I even begin to open my eyes and on the weekends, he has learned to steer clear of me until the dark clouds blow away somewhere around my second or third cup of coffee.