Let's say you were sleeping, then in the middle of your sleep someone suddenly phoned you. You were a bit surprised, as what we normally feel when someone called us while sleeping , and you responded:

''Hello, I'm sorry I just woke up so my mind is still picking up''

Are the bold letters correct and if they are the same as ''regaining itself from its usual mental state''

  • 1
    Nope, and my mind is still fuzzy. A mind is not usually said to be picking up. My energy level is picking up. Levels and speeds can pick up. So, conversation in the room picked up after the silence. Your mental energy could pick up.
    – Lambie
    Apr 26, 2018 at 22:12
  • pick up is the same as accelerate but we tend to use it instead in everyday descriptions or conversations.
    – Lambie
    Apr 26, 2018 at 22:33

4 Answers 4


That's not an idiomatic way to say what you wish to convey and, while it might be understood, it may cause some confusion.

More easily-understood phrasing for that might be:

  • I just woke up so my mind is a bit slow/fuzzy/sleepy.
  • I just woke up so my mind is taking a bit to catch up.
  • I was asleep when you called so my brain is (still) waking up.

The last of the three would probably be how I'd phrase it.

  • The last sentence is the ''should be'' phrase to my question, also the ''fuzzy'' word is what I needed. Thx
    – John Arvin
    Apr 26, 2018 at 22:33

One of the most common (and simplest) expressions to say when your brain is not fully functioning in the morning is

Sorry but I've just woken up, so I'm still half-asleep.

Technically called hypnopompic, Wikipedia describes the moments when someone leaves their sleeping state

Sleepers often wake confused, or speak without making sense, a phenomenon the psychologist Peter McKeller calls "hypnopompic speech"

On the page titled, hypnagogia, the falling asleep equivalent

Threshold consciousness (commonly called "half-asleep" or "half-awake", or "mind awake body asleep") describes the same mental state of someone who is moving towards sleep or wakefulness, but has not yet completed the transition.

  • Oh this is amazing to know! I'd say you have encyclopedic knowledge about this thing, not an everyday trivia. Thx very much
    – John Arvin
    Apr 27, 2018 at 8:53

The sentence as you've written it is wrong, but in addition to the excellent alternatives already given by others, I often hear simple computer or car metaphors used in this context.

"Sorry, I just woke up, so my brain is still..."

  • turning on
  • booting up
  • warming up
  • starting
  • Booting up and warming up seem nice if used effectively according to a situation. That's nice of you for giving alternatives, ''the more the merrier''.
    – John Arvin
    Apr 27, 2018 at 0:58

It is not idiomatic (in British English at least) to describe the state of your brain/mind in this situation. It is far more normal to talk about yourself in total.

  • Mari-Lou A's answer of being half asleep is one idiomatic option.

  • Another is I'm not "with it" yet

According to Collins:

If someone is not with it, they do not feel alert and therefore fail to understand things.

  • Are you a Brit or something? Sure thing ''with it'' is ok to me, but, I think you better know if the other person your talking with won't misunderstand this or you are sure they got you instantly. Maybe Brits to Brits conversation, however, to some non-natives, It will be a flimsy one. Am I right?
    – John Arvin
    Apr 27, 2018 at 10:43
  • 1
    Yes I'm a Brit. This is why I mentioned British English in my answer. If you don't want to be misunderstood by anyone, regardless of their level of English, then "with it" is probably not suitable. Neither is any other answer here, they all require the listener to have knowledge of English! When speaking to someone not fluent in English, your own suggestion is as good as anything else. Do you want to be merely understood, or do you want to use idiomatic phrases that natives use? I expected the latter...
    – AndyT
    Apr 27, 2018 at 10:57

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