Battling To Get Out of Bed?: Dysania Explained
6 min read
Last Modified 11 October 2023 First Added 21 September 2023
Have you found yourself waking before your alarm and counting down the minutes with growing reluctance? Even if you will yourself to get out of bed, you just can’t bring yourself to do it?
This unshakeable inability to get up has a name, so let’s explore some more about the condition and how to manage it…
Dysania is the term for the chronic inability to get out of bed, regardless of how much sleep you get or how rested you feel. It is related to clinomania – the obsessive desire to stay in bed, which is typically considered a symptom of disorders like stress and depression. For those who suffer from dysania and clinomania, there is no such thing as too much sleep, which can have a big impact on your quality of life.
While dysania is a type of sleep inertia, it refers to a more extreme and chronic version of this sleep issue that is often rooted in anxiety. Sleep inertia or “sleep drunkness” is the term for the groggy, transitional state between sleep and wakefulness that many of us experience first thing in the morning. As part of the natural waking process, it is more likely to happen if you are woken during deep sleep when you are furthest from consciousness.
The key difference between sleep inertia and dysania is that instead of physical symptoms like brain fog and heaviness in your limbs, dysania is often a coping mechanism for anxiety. If you’re experiencing a stressful time or low mood, you might find yourself unable to get out of bed due to reluctance to start the day or face being awake.
We all go through periods in our lives where we struggle to sleep or are more exhausted by our daily activities. Whether things are particularly draining emotionally or you’ve been more physically active, you find yourself wishing for just a few more minutes (or hours!) in bed.
So how do you know if there is something wrong? Let’s unpack some signs to look out for that could indicate a bigger problem:
If these symptoms continue for more than 2 weeks, there’s a good chance that your dysania is a sign of something more. Contact your GP to discuss further.
Unfortunately, yes, there are some health implications of sleeping too much. This doesn’t apply to a few sleepy days here and there, but if you are consistently sleeping 10 or more hours during the day. There have been several studies on the ideal sleep length, and this study from 2014 identified a strong correlation between long sleep and psychiatric disorders and a slight correlation with a higher BMI. However, other studies have also indicated a link between longer sleep duration and heart disease and diabetes as well.
It’s important to note that sleep deprivation is actually much more dangerous for you than oversleeping. There are more social and psychological ramifications to sleeping too much, but lack of sleep can cause serious health issues quite quickly. Learn more about sleep deprivation and how to recognise the signs.
Although there is no reason to worry unless you have more symptoms of these conditions, it can be helpful to know what to look for. These are a few of the other health issues that can lead to chronic sleep inertia and hypersomnia:
All of these conditions can interfere with your sleep quality, leaving you feeling unrested, exhausted, and run down. It’s important to log any symptoms you have to understand how long they’ve been going on for and when they happen.
Although it is a recognised symptom, dysania isn’t a disorder itself, and therefore, there isn’t a “cure” as such. The best way to manage these feelings is to make lifestyle changes that encourage good sleep and better health, both physically and mentally. Here are some of our top tips for improving your sleep:
It’s important to wake up and go to sleep around the same time every day to ensure that you can fall asleep quickly and get the rest you need. Ensuring that you have a relaxing bedtime routine that prepares you for sleep, and a productive morning when you rise will help you make the transition more smoothly.
If you are able, regular exercise is a fantastic way to keep your mind and body in tip-top condition. Experts at John Hopkins Center for Sleep weigh in to say:
“Exercise does, in fact, help you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality.”
It can also help you get more slow wave or “deep sleep”, which is important for restoration and memory processing. However, they also warn not to exercise just before bed as your raised endorphins can keep you awake for an hour or 2.
If you struggle to get out of bed and start your day, then it can be helpful to include an activity that is internally focused, rather than immediately thinking of your to-do list. Try mindful techniques such as meditation, gratitude journalling, or yoga, which will help build emotional regulation skills and improve your mental health.
Many people struggle with a traditional alarm, which can cause you to start the day by being shocked awake from a deep sleep in a dark room. A daylight-mimicking lamp gradually gets brighter as it approaches the time to get up, easing you to wakefulness more gently. This works with your circadian rhythm to make the transitional period less difficult and can help you start the day in a better mood.
When your bed becomes a safe space away from the rest of your life, it can be tempting to do everything in bed, from working, eating, and watching TV. However, this can really disrupt your ability to fall asleep easily and strengthen a reluctance to leave bed.
Even if you’re having a PJs day, try to get out of bed and spend some downtime on the sofa. Only get back into bed to nap or go to sleep for the night. This can help you get into the routine of getting up every day, easing some anxiety.