Does lying in bed feel like this for everyone else?
April 7, 2014 11:47 AM   Subscribe

This is possibly the dumbest/strangest question I've ever asked, but it's one of those "is it like this for everyone, or is this actually unusual?" things. Everyone has trouble getting out of bed in the morning, I know. But I experience what I can only call a drug-like chemical high while I'm lying there.

It happens quite often, but not always. Sometimes I can just get up with no problem and get ready for my day. But then some mornings after I wake up and I'm still lying in bed, there's this intense, overpowering high I feel. Getting up and shaking off that high is one of the hardest things I can imagine because it feels so damn good. It's totally like serotonin or some other pleasure-inducing receptor got triggered. I could compare it to something of an opium-like, very pleasurable and intoxicating haze (though admittedly I have no frame of reference since I've never done that drug.) And it doesn't matter whether I get only 4 hours of sleep, 7, or 10. It's likely that this happens on the exact proper amount of sleep.

Is this what people refer to when they mean it is hard to get out of bed? It's not quite just being drowsy or foggy in the morning, not quite just the drag of getting up and doing things. It feels distinctly like chemicals are swimming around my brain. Which particular chemicals, I have no idea. How do you fight this? I have multiple alarms going off in the morning and I still feel compelled to lie there for up to 45 minutes immersed in this golden haze.
posted by naju to Health & Fitness (31 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
For me, definitely. This is why I have a hard time getting out of bed-- not because I'm tired necessarily, but because I LOVE lying there. It's like, the best feeling in life.

I fight it by having a boyfriend who gets up early for work and likes to chat in between showering/dressing/shaving/&c. Basically he harshes my mellow, and I have to get up!
posted by stoneandstar at 11:54 AM on April 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

In German, there's the word schlaftrunken ('sleep-drunk') describing an impairment on awakening which, to me, implies that others feel similar to you. I'm a 'wake up and jump out of bed' type person, so I wouldn't know.
posted by The Toad at 11:55 AM on April 7, 2014 [16 favorites]

Sometimes, yes.

Other option. Go to bed early enough that you can bask like this for an hour and not have to worry about alarms?

Takes a lot of discipline/effort and some evening free time to spare to have that sort of sleep schedule, though, especially if you have friends that like to do things until late that you often go out with.
posted by Zalzidrax at 11:56 AM on April 7, 2014

It takes me half an hour to get out of bed in a morning, and I have to do it in stages. I wake up to my alarm, hit snooze, on second alarm I prop myself up on my pillow and sit/lean there slowly coming back to myself for about 10 minutes. About this point my dog will come up for a snuggle so I will sit and play with him for about 10 minutes and then I am ready to get up. My husband describes it as me sneaking up on reality. I can get out of bed fast, if I have to but feel out of sorts for hours afterwards if I do, so I now allow time for transition and enjoy my drifting in between times, sleep drunk describes it so well. It does mean I have to be in bed half an hour earlier than my husband.

Oh I can cut the time in half if I go on my tablet in the morning, and check my emails or something. The light of the screen and the info flying at me tends to drag me to waking more quickly, but I prefer to wake slowly, sometimes it's the best part of a crazy busy day.
posted by wwax at 12:11 PM on April 7, 2014

I definitely get this feeling. I deal with it only somewhat successfully by setting my alarm 45 minutes early. Then I set my alarm 30 minutes ahead, then a final 15 minutes. Like I'm weaning myself off the good stuff.

Occasionally I mess up the alarms.
posted by mullacc at 12:12 PM on April 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Is this what people refer to when they mean it is hard to get out of bed?

Certainly not all people. When I say it's hard to get out of bed, I mean that a) it's warm in bed and cold out of it, and b) when I wake up I feel nothing but freaking exhausted.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 12:12 PM on April 7, 2014 [9 favorites]

This is something I've experienced since high school, so you're definitely not alone.

I accommodate it by being one of those intolerable snooze button abusers. I have a deal with myself that I get one snooze per morning to lie abed in that not-asleep-but-not-yet-awake haze.

On weekends that nine minutes expands to an hour or so.
posted by Sara C. at 12:13 PM on April 7, 2014

Any science-types out there that can explain this on a physiological level? From some cursory googling it appears that both serotonin and dopamine are involved in the sleep/wake cycle. I wonder if for some people the balances are slightly out of control.
posted by naju at 12:16 PM on April 7, 2014

Not a scientist, but it is pretty clear to me that this happens because humans did not evolve to wake up to an alarm clock. For most of human history, people woke up when they woke up, and took as long as they needed to get up and get ready for the day. We don't just blink awake and then jump out of bed and get down to business. There's a wakeup process.

There being seratonin and dopamine as part of the sleep cycle plenty accounts for that pleasant feeling of satiation upon wakeup.
posted by Sara C. at 12:19 PM on April 7, 2014

I feel something a lot like this and have considered doing my own askmetafilter post. For me it's only occasional. But when it happens it feels like there's a physical, chemical-high thing going on. It way different from sense of being well rested, or drowsy, or not-in-the-mood-to-get-up.

I have no idea what causes it. It's nice though...
posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:22 PM on April 7, 2014

This question and the responses are shocking to me. I definitely do not feel that way...and now I'm jealous of all you people.

I just find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning because I am still tired. When I have gotten enough sleep (extremely rare), it's actually really easy for me to get up.
posted by barnoley at 12:26 PM on April 7, 2014 [12 favorites]

For a science angle -- hypoglycemic euphoria? Does the "drug-like chemical high" you experience have any correlation to what (or, when) you're eating or drinking the day before?
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:31 PM on April 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've had that, but only when I can wake up naturally, without an alarm clock, and only some of the time then. With an alarm clock, it's either OH GOD I HAVE TO GET UP! or it's like I'm drugged, but in a sleeping pill kind of way, not in a happy feel-good way.
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:33 PM on April 7, 2014

Let me be perfectly clear: I have abused and had addictive issues with opiates in the past, and have since quit. The feeling of sleeping in--that almost intoxicating drunk euphoria--is the closest I'll ever get to my past 'real' high.

You are very normal. I have an extremely strong motivation/will-power, which has taken me far in life. But getting up in the morning is one part of my life where I feel often helpless. A slave to the euphoria.

...In fact, I used to set my alarm at 6am on days I had off, and take a bunch of opium. Then go back to sleep. Compounded with the morning bed-euphoria, it was as though I were floating in a dream world of pure bliss.

Disclaimer: Don't use/abuse drugs. Not worth it.
posted by jjmoney at 12:52 PM on April 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

In my travels across Asia, multiple ethnic groups referred to this as a form of "death" and encouraged young and old to resist this for optimal health reasons, and get out of bed soon from one's slumber.
posted by Kruger5 at 1:35 PM on April 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not sure if this is the same thing, but for me getting out of bed can be a bit of a bootstrapping problem. As in, the part of my brain that handles extremely complex tasks like putting on clothes (or sweats, or shorts), going to the kitchen, making coffee, etc., etc., is still out to lunch even though I'm completely awake, and I just lay there wondering how I'm going to do all that. I just have to take it on faith sometimes that if I put my feet on the floor I can figure out the next parts.

All this even though I typically wake up before the alarm goes off, so I have woken gradually.
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:56 PM on April 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm reminded of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations Book Five:
In the morning when thou findest thyself unwilling to rise, consider with thyself presently, it is to go about a man's work that I am stirred up. Am I then yet unwilling to go about that, for which I myself was born and brought forth into this world? Or was I made for this, to lay me down, and make much of myself in a warm bed? 'O but this is pleasing.' And was it then for this that thou wert born, that thou mightest enjoy pleasure?
So definitely part and parcel of the human experience.
posted by zinon at 2:01 PM on April 7, 2014 [9 favorites]

I know this feeling. For me it seems to occur more when I'm trying to take a quick afternoon nap; even if I try to make it short enough that I don't go any deeper than an actual doze, when my alarm goes off it sometimes feels like the hardest thing in the world to get back up, because it's just so pleasant and comfortable laying there. Also I'm pretty sure my cat has secretly developed a sleep ray that he uses on me.
posted by usonian at 2:23 PM on April 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

In addition to Marcus Aurelius, this phenomenon has also been described by noted scholar Homer Simpson. Based on his research, I have always called it the Cinnamon Bun Effect.

I find that I'm more likely to experience this effect when the ambient temperature is cool in my room, but my bed is oh so warm. Also having too much spare time or none at all before I need to get out of bed seem to dissipate this feeling. It's only when my I wake, need to get out of bed soon, but don't have to get out of bed right now that it happens. Having soothing, soporific NPR Morning Edition voices playing in the background also help.
posted by skewed at 2:46 PM on April 7, 2014 [5 favorites]

I used refer to this as the point at which I achieve homeostasis between my internal and external environment. YMMV.
posted by Hermione Granger at 2:47 PM on April 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

I have this - the kind of relaxed I am in the morning has nothing like it in my waking life, and going back to sleep is the best feeling in the entire world.

I'm a super-deep sleeper. I have heard of it from other deep sleepers; light sleepers have no idea what I'm talking about. Just a few data points so it's hardly conclusive, but it makes some sense to me.

FWIW, I got one of those gradual alarms (the Sleep Cycle app) and it has helped a bit.
posted by you're a kitty! at 2:55 PM on April 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

That Sleep Cycle app sounds cool!
posted by naju at 3:42 PM on April 7, 2014

Is this what people refer to when they mean it is hard to get out of bed?

Another data point here for yes, I have absolutely felt the way you describe, but only occasionally, and most of the time when I find it hard to get out of bed it's because I'm physically and/or mentally exhausted from the previous day, or I've just not had enough time available to sleep enough, or I've woken up in the "wrong part" of the sleep cycle, however that works. And "normal" for me tends to be about 6 hours a night.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:36 PM on April 7, 2014

I don't know why this happens but no one has yet commented on any extreme versions of this. I'm leaning towards waking in different sleep cycles. It rarely happens to me anymore but let me tell you about when I was in graduate school.

I worked about 20 hours a week, was full time in school (eight courses), 20 minute commute to school, 1 hour to work, and I had other projects to work on (some required additional drive time) and I rarely got to sleep the recommended 7-8 hours a night. I was averaging about 6 hours of sleep a night which ranged from 4-8. I also partied a lot, which included a lot of drinking, and eventually I just started drinking by myself, which inhibits deep sleep. I also didn't exercise as much as I used to due mostly to time restriction.

I certainly felt this drug induced feeling upon waking during the day which, as someone else mentioned, seemed to happen more on cold days when the bed was warm and thoughts I could only imagine analogous to a drug addict would swim in my head upon waking; "why would I ever do anything else than just lie here in the warm bed". I don't really remember when I first noticed the feeling in my whole body versus it just being in my head but it got much, much, worse.

I would come home from class and would still be feeling tired from my general lack of sleep and as soon as I got home, deep in my arms and legs I would get that feeling as if my body was saying "you're going to go to sleep right now". And I would, I would lay down and it would feel Sooooo good and I would immediately fall asleep within a minute or two. I knew this because on multiple occasions I would wake from a vivid dream, (after a while I got good at becoming lucid in many of them, to give you an idea of much this happened) and be all groggy, looking at the time and realized I got home about 20 minutes ago. Forgot to mention this would happen at all times of the day, but must of the time I got off class was in the early afternoon.

One of the diagnostic criteria of narcolepsy is immediately entering REM upon falling asleep and it made me fearful for a while that I was starting to become narcoleptic and that I wouldn't be able to control it someday. This all went away after I graduated and started sleeping much more regularly, and exercising like a fiend again.

Just my experience...
posted by jiblets at 5:24 PM on April 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Also now envious! I never get this. Due to almost a decade of incredibly efficient-by-necessity mornings, I spring out of bed and feel only dejection if I lie there.

(posting to provide a negative data point.)
posted by batter_my_heart at 6:54 PM on April 7, 2014

I know exactly what you're talking about. I get it, too, and it's been getting more frequent as I get older. Now it's not just sleeping in in the morning, which seems about a 50/50 chance. But it will nearly always happen in a 20-minute nap after work.

I don't know why this happens but no one has yet commented on any extreme versions of this.

Oh, there is an extreme version of this. Dozing off for 10 minutes or so immediately after sex is OMFG what I imagine heroin must feel like plus giving my dream mind a psychedelic. That's kind of a rude time to fall asleep, though. </data for science>
posted by ctmf at 7:48 PM on April 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

(A note on the cool German word schlaftrunken that The Toad brings up: the way I've seen the term used is to designate a state of poor perception, poor motor coordination, and poor judgment directly after waking. So the negative parts of drunkenness apply, rather than a pleasant euphoria.

E.g., Ernst Jünger uses the term repeatedly in his WWI memoir Storm of Steel, and always to describe the woeful condition of mind and body of trench soldiers who've been suddenly and gracelessly woken from precious sleep in order to face some calamity or other.

Another example given at an online definition site is: Ich weiß nicht, wie ich die Prüfung morgen früh bestehen soll. Ich bin dann bestimmt noch schlaftrunken. Which means: I don't know if I will pass the test tomorrow. I'm sure to still be sleep-drunk. The accent is on a negatively-valenced lack of lucidity rather than anything pleasurable.)
posted by bertran at 11:52 PM on April 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

FWIW, I got one of those gradual alarms (the Sleep Cycle app) and it has helped a bit.

You can also get alarms clocks/timed lights that wake one progressively.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:23 AM on April 8, 2014

The main advantage of an app like Sleep Cycle over timed alarms or lights is that it uses the phone's accelerometer to wake you at a point where you are in a lighter phase of sleep, as opposed to the deepest sleep. You start to move in your sleep during the specified alarm window, and the alarm processes "oh, hey, light sleep ahead! Start waking up!"
posted by instamatic at 5:35 AM on April 8, 2014

Ah yes, I used to have this, really enjoyed that feeling...then I had kids and it's all a fond distant memory!
posted by razzman at 2:09 AM on April 9, 2014

Yeah, sometimes it happens. I try to combat this condition by making some exercises and taking a contrast shower.
posted by mitch311 at 2:56 AM on April 11, 2014

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