What Causes Your Entire Body to Ache When You Wake up?

Although we might all be guilty of snoozing our alarm one too many times in the morning, you should wake up feeling well-rested and ready for the day ahead. However, if you’ve noticed that you’ve been waking up with sore muscles for no reason, then it’s important to get to the root of the cause.

There are a number of possible causes of sore muscles in the morning, from something as simple as your exercise regime, to an underlying medical problem, so it’s essential to establish what’s triggering your muscle aches in order to get you back to feeling more like yourself again.

You’re Not Getting Enough Good-Quality Sleep

Although you might think you’re getting enough sleep if you’re maintaining a consistent sleep pattern and getting the recommended 7-9 hours of kip per night, but the quality of your sleep matters as much as the quantity.

Women regaining energy through sleep


When you’re not getting good-quality sleep, your body’s cells and tissues don’t get the repair time they require, leaving you feeling achy and lethargic in the mornings.

However, the good news is that you can improve the quality of your sleep by making a few adjustments to your lifestyle, including:

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule, even at the weekend
  • Ensure that the temperature in your bedroom is comfortable
  • Install blackout curtains or blinds to keep the light levels low
  • Invest in a good-quality mattress and pillows
  • Avoid caffeine for six hours before bed
  • Give yourself at least three hours after a big meal before sleeping
  • Avoid screens in the hour before you sleep
  • Don’t go to bed hungry

Aside from potentially reducing your muscle aches when you wake up, ensuring you’re getting good-quality sleep will have a positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing.

Chronic Stress Could be the Cause

From a high-pressure job to high-intensity exercise, there are a number of factors which can cause stress to build up over time. However, it could be the reason why you’re waking up with body aches each morning.

That’s because stress causes a spike in cortisol, which can make you more susceptible to inflammation and cause body aches. Additionally, if you’re chronically stressed and notice yourself feeling tense all day long, this can also contribute to sore muscles – similar to muscle fatigue after a workout.

How to combat stress:

  • Practice meditation each day
  • Exercise regularly
  • Talk to someone about what’s stressing you out
  • Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Regularly connect with nature

So whether you schedule in a meditation session each morning, or simply take more time for yourself - you will notice your overall wellbeing and mentality improve, as well as potentially curing your morning muscle aches.

It Might be Caused by an Underlying Condition

As we touched on earlier, muscle aches can be caused by inflammation within the body, however, if you’ve ruled out chronic stress and poor sleep as the causes of your morning muscle aches, then it might be time to talk to a medical professional to identify any underlying medical conditions.

There are several conditions which can contribute to high levels of inflammation within the body, including:

  • Lyme disease
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Auto-immune conditions
  • Low levels of vitamin D

Your healthcare professional will be able to carry out a series of tests to check your general health and identify any underlying health conditions which may be contributing to your aching muscles in the morning.

You’re Not Exercising Enough

With increasingly busy lifestyles it can be difficult to prioritise regular exercise in your daily routine. However, it may surprise you to find out that a lack of exercise may be the reason why your body feels sore when you wake up.

Watching Netflix

That’s because movement helps to lubricate your joints with synovial fluid and relieve inflammation by increasing blood flow to your muscles and tissues, so a lack of exercise can result in sore, stiff joints.

If you think a lack of exercise could be the cause of your body aches, then try to aim for at least 30 minutes of activity, five days a week. From parking your car further away when you go to the supermarket, to joining a group exercise class at the gym – there are so many different ways to increase your activity levels that will have a positive impact on your overall health.

You’re Exercising too Much

Although a lack of exercise can be the cause of muscle aches in the morning, it will probably come as no surprise that too much exercise can also cause dreaded muscle soreness when you wake up.

Whether it’s down to DOMS, inadequate recovery or simply overtraining, too much activity can have a huge impact on your overall health, causing insomnia, increased cortisol and poor-quality sleep.

So if you’re a regular gym-goer and will do anything to avoid missing a session, then that might be the reason why your entire body aches when you wake up. To reduce your morning muscle aches, it’s important to make sure you’re scheduling in enough time for adequate recovery. You should aim for a minimum of two rest days per week to give your body time to recuperate. Additionally, swapping some of your high-impact workouts for more low-impact exercise will help you to avoid overtraining and give your body the rest it needs.

Your Diet Could be to Blame

It’s important to evaluate your diet when it comes to any health problem, as it can have a huge impact on your overall wellbeing. If you’re not providing your body with all of the nutrients it needs, then it won’t function at an optimal level.

Waking up with sore muscles for no reason could be down to an inflammation-inducing diet from foods high in saturated fats, sugar, refined carbohydrates, wheat and alcohol – to name a few!

Plate of Salmon and asparagus

Simply making a few diet swaps can help to reduce inflammation and stop the dreaded sore muscles when you wake up. Some of the most potent anti-inflammatory foods to include in your diet are:

  • Oily fish
  • Fruits and vegetables – especially dark leafy greens
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Spices such as ginger and turmeric

In addition to a healthy Mediterranean-style diet rich in fruits, vegetables and oily fish – a daily turmeric supplement could also help to reduce the levels of inflammation within your body and help you to avoid waking up with sore muscles.

Although there are a number of potential causes of muscle and body aches, it’s important to get to the root of the cause so you can get on the road to recovery and feel more like yourself again. So whether you start by incorporating a raw turmeric shot into your daily routine, or invest in a new mattress to prioritise good-quality sleep – you may just notice a difference in a matter of weeks.

Thomas Robson-Kanu

The Hal Robson-Kanu Guide To Fitness & Nutrition

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