Tired legs in the morning

Do you wake up with sluggish legs in the morning?

Helen Cosgrove

21 September 2016

The causes of tired legs in the morning

There can be a wide variety of causes of tired legs, and many of these depend on your lifestyle and your general health.

However, some common causes are:

  • Poor sleep. As we sleep, our body is given time to rest and repair damage caused to cells and tissues during the day. If you don’t get enough sleep, or if you sleep poorly, you may find that your legs can’t recover from the regular wear and tear of the previous day
  • Poor circulation. This can have a twofold effect: poor circulation during the day, which can be caused by sitting at a desk for too long, can give rise to tired, achy legs, which can continue into the night and the following morning; or poor circulation during the night can mean that your legs don’t get sufficient oxygen, blood and nutrients as you sleep
  • Varicose veins. Varicose veins are damaged veins that struggle to pump blood efficiently away from the legs. This can lead to them becoming overworked, and can lead to pooling of blood and toxins which often leads to a tired, aching feeling in the leg
  • Too much strain on the legs during the day. You may find that your legs are simply tired from being strained or under pressure the previous day. Consider whether you have been exercising more, standing up for too long or walking more than usual
  • Insufficient oxygen reaching the legs. This can be caused by breathing problems such as sleep apnoea, as well as allergies, sinus problems and upper respiratory infections. It could also be caused by a lack of iron, which is vital for transporting oxygen around the body
  • Nutrient deficiencies. As well as iron, there are a number of other nutrient deficiencies that can cause muscle ache. Magnesium and calcium are both vital for muscle function, and while Vitamin D is often associated with bone health, it is also important for muscles.
  • Fibromyalgia. This condition commonly causes muscle ache, pain throughout the body, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and difficulty sleeping. Read more about it here.

What you can do

There are a number of simple measures you can take to help reduce tired legs when waking up in the morning. Since the causes can be varied and often difficult to determine, it may be worth trying a few methods to find one that works for you:

  • Try to boost circulation before going to sleep. This is important for both sedentary and active lifestyles. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, it will help boost blood flow if your circulation has been sluggish all day, and if you lead an active lifestyle it will help relax and soothe tired or overworked muscles. Try massaging the legs to encourage blood flow, do some yoga to get blood pumping all around the body, do some simple stretches, or do some gentle exercises like squats or simply jogging on the spot
  • Applying Venagel before going to bed can
    also cool and soothe tired legs, and rubbing the gel in an upward motion will encourage blood flow. You can also apply this in the morning to ease tired, achy legs
  • Get some gentle exercise in the evening. This is particularly important for those with a sedentary lifestyle to relieve the ache and stiffness that can accompany long periods of inactivity. A brisk walk or a gentle jog are great places to start
  • For people with a very active lifestyle, try to move strenuous exercise to the morning and opt for more gentle exercise in the evening
  • Elevate feet during the night to help blood flow more easily through the legs. The easiest way to do this is to place a pillow under your feet while you sleep
  • Improve your diet generally to boost your intake of a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Good things to focus on are green, leafy vegetables (such as broccoli, kale, and spinach), seeds, nuts and a variety of fruits. The key is to try to incorporate a variety of foods in your diet to ensure you consume a wide range of nutrients. You could also consider taking a good quality multivitamin supplement – but this should not be used in place of a healthy, varied diet
  • Eat more circulation-boosting foods such as ginger and fish, and avoid inflammatory foods such as refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol.



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  • Deepak Kumar 's photo avatar
    Deepak Kumar — 05.11.2017 22:36
    I found from x ray that there is no fracture in my lower foot but it pains while walking. How to resolve this ??


    • Helen's photo avatar
      Helen — 07.11.2017 16:00
      Hello Deepak, If the doctors have not found any fractures but your foot is still painful. The best advice is to make an appointment with someone like a podiatrist who specialise in feet and can form a treatment plan for you. I hope this helps.


  • Kartik Chopra's photo avatar
    Kartik Chopra — 02.11.2017 07:06
    Hello, my legs are tired all the time and also somewhat tired when I wake up. What should I do? Considering I am a college student and literally walk all day (~16000 steps a day) can that have a negative effect on my legs? Also I sit down too much in the evening (~ 4 hours in front of a computer). Please suggest something.


    • Helen's photo avatar
      Helen — 07.11.2017 16:00
      Hello Kartik, if you are walking a lot at college. You could try the Venagel for tired achy legs and apply this in the morning and through the day if you wish. It is handy to keep in your bag. If you find that you are more sedentary in the evening then I would suggest you try some gentle exercises, ankle rotations, massages or stretches to aid circulation. Remember to drink plenty of plain water through the day to nourish the body too. A magnesium supplement from the health food shop can be beneficial here to relax muscles. I hope this helps.


  • Alok kumar's photo avatar
    Alok kumar — 01.10.2017 06:30
    I am suffering from leg muscles pain and pain in feet from 4-5 yes, specially morning stiffness, now a days my thighs are stiff in daytime also, I am also having lower back pain, when I ask some one to massage my legs and feet I get relaxed for sometime, sometimes I feel my vein pulsating in legs, my feet is warmer / burning sensation several times , hlb27 test -ve, please suggest some test and possible solutions as my legs , thighs and feet have very less muscle mass since the pain started, however I don't have problems in walking long distances or standing


    • Helen's photo avatar
      Helen — 02.10.2017 15:15
      Hiya Alok sorry to hear that you are not feeling well. What age are you? what has your doctor suggested in terms of treatment or advice? Do you take any medication at the moment? Thank you


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