24 Reasons You’re Always Tired No Matter How Much Sleep You Get

Sleeping.com Editorial Team

woman tired exhausted at work

If you’re tired all the time no matter how much sleep you get, you’re probably frustrated and curious to know what may be causing this. Fatigue is when you experience tiredness and weakness and are physically or mentally bogged down. Normal fatigue is when you have a reason to be tired, such as a long day at work, a long or busy day, and mental and physical stress.

However, many people experience feeling extremely tired all the time even after a good night’s rest!

So what gives?

In this article, we’ll break down all of the possible reasons beyond normal fatigue that you may find yourself feeling tired and exhausted all the time. Let’s dive in!

Physical 

Physical fatigue may be the reason you wonder: why do i feel so tired all the time?

Physical exhaustion results in feeling drained, weak, and lacking motivation and focus. Physical fatigue is tricky to diagnose because it often correlates with mental exhaustion. Though physical fatigue is usually defined by a trigger such as if you don’t exercise enough, you’ll feel tired, or if you exercise too much, you’ll feel drained. 

Some common reasons for your physical fatigue are as follows:

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders associated with physical tiredness. Statistics show that an estimated 22 million Americans suffer from this condition. There are two types of sleep apnea – obstructive and central. 

Both sleep apnea conditions are severe because, in any case, your breathing becomes irregular while you sleep. The most common sleep apnea is obstructive. It happens when the upper airways become blocked, which may ultimately reduce your ability to breathe. 

Central sleep apnea is a mental condition where your brain stops sending breathing signals to your body – resulting in your lungs not working efficiently for breathing purposes. 

Insomnia and Hypersomnia

Insomnia or hypersomnia, sometimes called excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), are sleep disorders that result in chronic fatigue syndrome because they interfere with your internal clock, circadian rhythm, and melatonin levels. 

Insomnia is when you suffer from falling or staying asleep when you wake too early or wake up not refreshed enough. EDS is the opposite, where you fall asleep during daylight hours. Both stem from sleep disorders. However, insomnia results, whereas hypersomnia is strictly symptom-related. 

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is when the nerves or joints in your legs twitch where it becomes an over-excessive urge to move them. Symptoms occur when you’re not using your legs which happens through the night or in the evening. RLS results in sleep disorders in 10% of Americans. 

Unfortunately, no cure is available for people who suffer from RLS, though some causes may include:

  • Anemia or iron deficiency
  • Overuse of drugs and alcohol
  • Third-trimester pregnancy
  • Nerve damage
  • Medications 

At some point or another in your life, you may experience the urge to move your legs during resting periods which may not become relieved by moving as stress and sleep disorders are other causes of RLS. If you’re concerned, bring your symptoms to your doctor for an official diagnosis. A doctor will be able to help you relieve RLS symptoms. 

Diet and Nutrition

Studies have proven that there is a direct correlation between diet and sleep. Foods high in fat or sugar contribute to how deep sleep you get and how restored you feel upon waking up. Though it’s not always what you eat, how soon you sleep after you eat. 

Diet and nutrition do not just affect your sleep as much as it affects your daily life. Poor diet contributes to obesity, heart disease, sleep apnea, kidney failure, mental health disorders, and, in worst cases, some cancers.

When you strive for good quality sleep, you should avoid foods such as:

  • Caffeine
  • Spicy food
  • Alcohol
  • Fatty food
  • Artificial sugar
  • High protein 

The above foods should only be avoided during the night so that it doesn’t interfere with your sleep. Throughout the day, eat these foods in moderation as excessive consumption results in disruptive sleep behavior.

Lack of Exercise

Just as too much exercise results in fatigue-like symptoms, lack of exercise correlates to insomnia. Each day, you must expel a certain amount of energy through exercise to achieve your sleep goal. 

Exercise increases and releases serotonin, dopamine, and other ‘feel-good’ hormones. With constant non-movement or living a sedentary lifestyle, you may feel poorly about yourself, gain weight, or become diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. 

Essentially, your brain gets used to not having to expel certain hormones, which results in decreased appetite or mood. When your brain isn’t working efficiently to send specific messages, your body becomes sore, tired, and exhausted. 

Anemia

Anemia is when you have an iron deficiency low enough that it interferes with daily life. One symptom that directly relates to anemia is feeling exhausted all the time. Other symptoms of anemia include:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Anxiety attack symptoms (e.g., short of breath, fast or irregular heart rate, dizziness, shakiness)
  • Lack of focus or constant brain fog
  • Pale or jaundice
  • Inconsistent chest pain

Insomnia results from RLS and anemia due to the daily physical symptoms these conditions cause. Essentially, your body works overtime to resolve anemia symptoms resulting in extreme fatigue. 

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that results in hypersomnia symptoms, though it becomes challenging to stay awake all hours of the day and involuntary episodes of sleep. People who suffer from narcolepsy should not drive or operate machinery in case of accidental injury to themselves or others. 

Unlike EDS, narcolepsy causes sleep paralysis, muscle tone loss, and hallucinations from the lack of sleep or constant poor sleep behaviors such as waking in the middle of the night. 

Poor Sleeping Schedule

People who suffer from sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, insomnia, and sleep apnea often have a poor sleeping schedule, which largely contributes to daytime fatigue. While most sleep disorders are difficult to cure, having a proper bedtime routine can significantly reduce the symptoms.

Some bedtime routines for sleep disorder sufferers are aromatherapy, hot or cool baths, reading, and light yoga or stretching two hours before bedtime. 

Poor Bedding Material

Perhaps you have a solid bedtime routine but are still unable to get good quality sleep. If sleep disorders and other physical attributes are not a factor, you may need different bedding. Some people need a firm bed whereas others need a soft bed. Your pillow may be outdated, or your blankets may be too hot or cold. 

Speak to a sleep specialist for advice on which material works best for you. Feel free to experiment to suit your needs.

Medical 

Medical reasons could also be the reason you can’t help thinking why am i constantly tired.

If the above physical reasons are ruled out, your excessive tiredness and daily exhaustion may be a medical problem. It is not wise to diagnose yourself, so the below list will need to be assessed by a doctor. 

Before diagnosis, write down symptoms that you feel are specific to your fatigue, so your doctor can rule out possible causes. 

Underactive Thyroid (Hypothyroidism) 

Hypothyroidism can cause mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Hypothyroidism is not directly related to poor sleep; instead, the symptoms of an underactive thyroid may contribute to daily fatigue.

Symptoms include:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Unable to stand cold temperatures
  • Anxiety attack symptoms
  • Physical face changes such as drooping eyelids
  • Lack of interest in sex or sexual activities
  • Brain fog
  • Weight gain

Kidney Disease

The most common complaint in people who suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD) is daytime fatigue. Other problems patients with CKD stress about regarding sleep are restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, and the inability to get into a good sleeping routine. 

The reason for sleep disturbances and sleep disorders regarding kidney disease is not fully known; however, someone suffering from kidney disease should get sleep when they feel tired to compensate for the lack of sleep through the night. 

Lung Disease

It is common for people to suffer from sleep disturbance or sleep disorders if they’ve been diagnosed with a type of lung disease. Lung disease falls under the following diagnosis:

  • COPD
  • Upper and lower obstructive lung disease
  • Asthma 
  • Pneumonia
  • Pulmonary edema 
  • Bronchitis
  • Lung cancer
  • The collapse of the lung (Pneumothorax)

The problem is that you cannot get enough air when you breathe in because your lungs have difficulty expanding on their own. Sometimes oxygen is needed if you cannot catch your breath or have difficulty breathing on your own. 

Diabetes

Stemming from unstable blood sugar levels, it is common for people suffering from type 2 diabetes to have sleep problems. Hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia diabetics struggle with daytime sleepiness and insomnia throughout the night, leading to anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. 

For diabetics, the correlation between blood sugar and sleep becomes a cycle. Getting little or not great quality sleep leads to higher blood sugar levels – then again, blood sugar levels, regardless of high or low, cause sleep disorders. 

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)

Although pain is the main symptom of FMS, many sufferers complain about sleep disturbance and difficulty falling asleep. Chronic pain can make it challenging to get a good night’s rest. However, FMS is a musculoskeletal pain disorder that attacks the joints. Fibromyalgia has been explained as if the muscles are being pulled or like they are burning. 

Many people suffering from FMS take pain medication alongside sleeping aids prescribed by doctors so they can function daily. Like diabetes, Not getting enough sleep or the restorative sleep you need can exacerbate pain symptoms from FMS.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

One of the main symptoms of MS is physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. Like diabetes and FMS, lack of sleep contributes to symptoms of MS such as vision problems, leg movement, and balance. 

The need to urinate with MS happens often, which may wake sufferers through the night leading to a lack of sleep or nightly wakings. Spasticity is a common MS symptom, making laying down uncomfortable or painful. 

Many people don’t sleep well or have sleep disorders such as insomnia when they suffer from multiple sclerosis. 

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is where sufferers have a hard time digesting gluten products. Other than gluten sensitivity, celiac sufferers experience extreme fatigue. Researchers say fatigue is due to malabsorption and nutrient deficiencies caused by celiac disease. Alongside depression and anxiety, celiac sufferers sleep up to 14 or 16 hours daily and still don’t feel rested. 

Again, if celiac patients eat gluten, fatigue becomes worse alongside the struggle of falling asleep and making it through a complete sleep cycle. 

Psychological and Behavioral

While fatigue is one of the primary symptoms of most medical issues, psychological illnesses such as anxiety and depression also cause excessive daytime tiredness. Though anxiety causes fatigue during or after an anxiety attack and depression causes insomnia. 

Reversing daytime tiredness while diagnosed with a physical or medical condition may be extremely difficult. The plus side of mental illness and behavior is that you can reverse the effects through a commitment to change.

Some of the most common mental illnesses and behavioral lifestyles that cause you to feel extremely tired all the time are as follows:

Depression and Anxiety

Often, anxiety and depression go hand in hand, but there is not enough evidence why these illnesses cause extreme daily exhaustion. Perhaps the cognitive distortions and intrusive thoughts the mental disorders ruminate inside your head make you feel exhausted all the time. 

Some common symptoms of an anxiety disorder include impatience, lack of interest in activities, laziness, and feeling as if you are on high alert 24/7. Depression is the other scale of anxiety where you feel as if you have no motivation or drive to do anything, which causes you to worry excessively and feel nervous and tired all the time. 

Addiction

Over 17 million Americans suffer from addiction yearly, and only a quarter of addicts get help and recover. Over half of alcoholics and drug users relapse. Mental health disorders often accompany drug abuse and alcoholism. 

The most common withdrawal symptom includes extreme daytime fatigue coupled with insomnia. Other symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Impatience
  • Quick mood changes (bipolar)
  • Tremors
  • Paranoia 
  • Cravings
  • Pain

While addiction is one of the hardest things to battle, it can be reversed through dedication and self-discipline. The first step is admittance, and then a core wants or desire to change.

Stress

Stress is a double-edged sword. Too much stress – healthy or not, causes extreme fatigue and burnout, though a bit of stress is good for your health. Stress challenges your mind, pushes you toward your goals, and helps you become happier. However, unhealthy stress can result in exhaustion disorder (ED) which is a medical condition that causes physical and psychological distress. 

Healthy stress comes from doing something fun and engaging that doesn’t induce fear, such as rock climbing, exercise, and mentally engaging activities. Unhealthy stress – if not dealt with – is called chronic stress, which involves a poor work environment, money issues, poor relationships, and unmanaged mental health issues.

Some stress-related causes are:

Hormone Imbalance

Men and women can have a hormone imbalance, though it is more common in women. Many of the symptoms involving a hormonal imbalance result in or are caused by feeling so tired all the time. 

Some symptoms of a hormone imbalance include:

  • Can never seem to get a refreshed sleep
  • Feel as if your logical mind is impaired
  • You have blurry or foggy vision
  • Bouts of dizziness or loss of balance often
  • Your immune system is often compromised
  • You have a hard time recollecting short-term memories
  • You have a hard time dealing with stress
  • You’re often ramped up or slowed down (diagnosed with anxiety or depression)
  • You have at least one mental health disorder

When your mind or body is stressed, your brain releases hormones to counteract the stress you feel. When too many or not enough hormones get released, there can be an imbalance. A hormone imbalance may be caused by an overload of stress or the inability to handle stressful events. A general practitioner or a naturopath will be able to help you determine your hormonal imbalance. 

Life Changes

Life changes include the death of a loved one or loss of a close friend, moving out of state, going to college, losing a job or being demoted, and car accidents or life-changing chronic injuries. All causes of life-changing events can cause depression due to the unwillingness to accept or handle change which will cause feeling exhausted all the time. 

You can reverse this fatigue-related cause through exercise and change of daily habits while also speaking to a specialized therapist directed for your life-changing experiences, such as a grief counselor or life coach. 

Being a Caregiver

Regardless of your life stage, it’s challenging to take care of yourself, never mind someone else. Caregiving puts added stress and pressure onto individuals who may make one feel bogged down, decreased thinking speed, and daytime tiredness. 

Caregiving responsibilities include boosting another mental health, taking care of another’s daily needs, and ensuring someone else is at their healthiest. Caregiving falls under the categories of:

  • Parenting
  • Addiction counseling – or living with an addict
  • Living with or caring for someone who struggles with mental health 
  • Palliative care or caring for an elder
  • Being the head of your family (alpha of the family)
  • Looking after someone else’s financial struggles

When it comes to caregiving, you must consider your own mental health and create boundaries that will help you stay focused and equipped to look after someone else. Most of the time, caring for yourself and another person will cause extreme fatigue.

Poor Self-Care

Poor self-care results in feelings of worthlessness, headaches, irritability, digestion issues, difficulty falling or staying asleep, and nightmares or other sleep disorders. Self-care examples include:

  • Eating healthy (or at least every day)
  • Adequate amount of exercise
  • Getting enough vitamin D
  • Doing something that you love daily
  • Journaling or speaking to friends or therapists 
  • Maintaining healthy hygiene habits
  • Spoiling yourself once in a while (spending 10% of your check on yourself)
  • Engage in nature
  • Start or finish a project
  • Do something rewarding
  • Be kind to yourself by challenging your thoughts and thinking positively (gratitude).

Where to Find Help

Your first challenge to understanding where chronic fatigue and excessive tiredness come from is through assessing your lifestyle. By carefully going through the above causes, write down what you believe could be the culprit. The next step is to get a physical check-up through your doctor to rule out medical causes. 

Once you have your list of possible factors, you’ll want to consider habit change. For example, if you live a sedentary or solitary life, you’ll want to engage in physical activity until you notice a difference. 

Chronic fatigue will not disappear overnight, so you’ll want to become familiar with the habit change process and keep a sleep journal for your triggers and what works. Keep one habit consistent for three months at a time for best results. 

Over the course of a year, ensure you bring your sleep journal to your doctor every three months, so they can provide you with extra help. 

Outro

It can be hard to determine the exact cause of feeling tired all the time, no matter how much sleep I get. However, it covers three categories – physical, medical, psychological, and behavioral. 

Most of the time, the categories can intertwine and correlate with each other. For example, you may experience high stress with diabetes or anxiety coupled with a lack of self-care or hormone imbalances.

The best action plan is to write down your daily routine and find triggers accompanied by the list provided in this article. Taking the list to your doctor will help in finding ways to overcome daily fatigue and mental exhaustion.

Though this is not the complete list of how not to be tired all the time, you may be in sleep debt, have arthritis, have vitamin deficiencies, and some types of cancer are fatigue-related. Try minimizing your stress, get enough exercise coupled with a healthy diet, and proper self-care to combat excessive daytime sleepiness. 

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