Why Am I so Tired All the Time, Even When I Get Enough Sleep?

When you ask someone how they are doing if they don’t say the usual “I’m fine,” they probably mention that they are tired or even exhausted. So what’s going on? Do we all get so tired all the time? Did we just stop sleeping? Although it is different for each person, if you find that you get enough sleep and get tired all the time, then you are not alone. There are several reasons why this might be happening.

Dear Lifehacker, I sleep seven to eight hours every night and exercise at least three times a week, but somehow I still feel tired every day. What is draining my energy and what can I do about it?

Signature, surprisingly sluggish

Dear SS,

Sometimes people often feel deadly tired despite following a general formula for sleep and exercise. The most common causes of energy loss are poor sleep, severe stress and poor diet. Fortunately, these are mostly temporary problems that you can fix. However, tiredness or fatigue can also be a symptom of a more serious problem. Let’s look at the possible causes of your tiredness so we can narrow them down and find solutions to help you feel more energized.

What is your dream really like?

The first thing to do is to make sure you are actually sleeping soundly and long enough. The often recommended eight hours of sleep is just a rough guide, and the ideal amount of sleep varies from person to person. (In fact, too much sleep can lead to fatigue and other problems, like not getting enough sleep.) Your ideal amount of sleep also changes with age .

To find out how much sleep you personally need, experiment by moving your sleep time until you wake up naturally just before your morning alarm. You can also use an app like Shleep to calculate the best time to fall asleep based on your sleep cycles. In theory, if you wake up in between deep sleep cycles, rather than in the middle of one, you will feel more alert and alert rather than lethargic and moody.

Finally, it is not just how often you sleep that matters, but how well you sleep — the quality of your sleep. If you constantly wake up or toss and turn at night, your sleep is disrupted no matter how many hours you get. People with sleep apnea do not sleep well due to breathing problems, but many people with the condition don’t even know they have it. Here are a few things you can do to improve your sleep:

What do you eat and drink?

If poor sleep isn’t your problem, the next thing to look out for is your diet. The food you eat makes you more or less productive and energized because it is actually fuel for your brain.

Some snacks and meals will keep you feeling full for several hours, while others are more likely to cause your sugar to drop in a short period of time . For example, eggs and oranges are more satisfying than crackers and croissants. So if you’re feeling tired mostly at certain times of the day (for example, in the afternoon) rather than during the day, better planning your snacks and meals can help keep your day energized.

Research from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine shows that a high-fat diet can lead to daytime sleepiness and decreased activity, so a more balanced diet is highly recommended:

The results show that higher fat intake was associated with increased objective daytime sleepiness, while higher carbohydrate intake was associated with increased alertness. There was no association between protein intake and sleepiness or alertness. These results were independent of the subjects’ gender, age, and body mass index, as well as the total amount of sleep they slept and their total calorie intake.

Likewise, other studies show that you should eat more natural, unprocessed carbohydrates, even for breakfast.

Finally, remember to drink enough water every day (and make sure you don’t dehydrate yourself or disturb your sleep with alcohol and caffeine).

How is your mental health?

If you are living with depression and / or anxiety, this can also contribute to your exhaustion. In particular, depression can make you live in a state of constant fatigue. It can be difficult for you to get out of bed in the morning, not only because everything in the world seems hopeless, but also because you are damn tired and losing energy. Depression also affects your sleep cycle and sleep quality.

Similarly, persistent fatigue is also a sign of generalized anxiety disorder . Anxiety gnawing can interfere with your sleep at night or cause you to wake up in the middle of your sleep cycle, so waking up in the morning does not feel refreshed. In addition, the constant fight-or-flight mode is tiring and energy-consuming. Therefore, if you are always tired and have other symptoms of anxiety and / or depression , you can talk to your doctor about it.

Are you experiencing burnout?

If you’re burned out , nervous, or even bored, your energy level may drop. If you’re not sure if you fit into this category, the World Health Organization recently released an official definition of burnout (or, as they say, “burnout”), classifying it as a “factor influencing health.” Here’s a new definition:

Burnout is a syndrome resulting from chronic stress in the workplace that has not been successfully dealt with. It is characterized by three dimensions: 1) a feeling of depletion or depletion of energy; 2) increased mental distance from work or a feeling of negativity or cynicism in relation to their work; and 3) decreased professional effectiveness. Burnout refers specifically to events in a professional context and should not be used to describe experiences in other areas of life.

If any of this sounds familiar, you may be experiencing burnout, which understandably can make you very tired, even if you get enough sleep.

Get physical

If the sleep, nutrition, and psychological causes of fatigue described above do not apply to you, you probably want to get physical health. (Even if it isn’t, getting regular checkups is a good idea .) Beyond lifestyle factors, fatigue can be a sign of a health problem.

The Mayo Clinic lists several conditions that may be causing your wasting, including anemia (iron deficiency), heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, and others. Even allergies, vitamin D deficiencies, or the medications you are taking can tire you out.

A complete physical examination and blood test by your doctor can help determine why you are lacking energy and what you can do about it. NIH says:

The nature of the fatigue can help the doctor determine the cause. For example, if you wake up refreshed in the morning but tire quickly due to activity, you may have a condition such as an underactive thyroid gland. On the other hand, if you wake up with low energy levels and feel tired and tired throughout the day, you may become depressed .

If all of this bothers you, don’t worry. The NIH also states that fatigue is a common symptom and is not usually caused by a serious illness. Just be sure to get tested, pay attention to your mental health, and adjust your sleep, exercise, relaxation, and eating habits.

Sweet dreams.

Love, life hacker

This story was originally published in June 2013 and was updated on October 28, 2020 to follow the Lifehacker style guidelines.

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