Struggling to get through the day but don't know why? You're not alone.
Why Am I Tired All the Time? 9 Reasons Why You’re Constantly Exhausted
Struggling to get through the day but don't know why? You're not alone.
'Why am I so tired all the time?' is a question many of us have asked ourselves. And we don't blame you. Life can be stressful, overwhelming, and busy and it's unsurprising that so many of us are feeling the fatigue.
Whether you're struggling to get through the work day or never feel fully rested when you wake up, being constantly tired can be a miserable experience that interrupts us from meeting our full potential, or even just getting through simple tasks.
While occasional tiredness is normal, experiencing constant fatigue isn't, and it warrants closer attention. Figuring out why you're constantly tired isn't always simple (unless of course, you're scrolling for hours on TikTok right before bed, in which case, stop that), especially when there are so many different things that could be at the crux of it. But it's definitely possible!
Below, we're looking at some of the most common reasons you might tired all the time.
1. Not exercising
Look, you don't need to hit a 6 am gym class every day, but skipping your hot girl walk one too many times might be the reason you're constantly tired. Exercise might be the last thing you want to do when you're tired, but it's actually energising in the long run. Plus, a lack of exercise may eventually cause deconditioning, which makes it harder and more tiring to perform a physical task.
2. Mental health conditions
Several mental health conditions can contribute to persistent fatigue or feeling tired all the time. "Underlying psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, PTSD, and OCD can impact our body and mind's ability to rest and restore," explains psychologist Noosha Anzab. In fact, as many as 75 per cent of people with depression have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
If you're feeling mentally unwell or suspect you have an underlying mental health condition, speak to your GP, who will advise a correct treatment plan.
If you struggle with work-life balance and you notice you always feel tired, you may be dealing with burnout. According to Noosha, feeling the first wave of burnout comes with an overwhelming sense of exhaustion, where our emotional and physical resources are so overextended they become depleted.
Ensuring we can build a clear enough divide between work and personal life is vital for our mental health. Creating a positive work-life balance can ensure we find time for ourselves, time to wind down, and time to spend with our loved ones.
If you're feeling the effects of burnout, consider some or all of the below:
- Have realistic expectations of what you can achieve at work and home.
- Take regular breaks during the day.
- Ensure you have sufficient sleep at night, and take a day off when you need a longer rest.
- Speak to your employer about work stress.
- Don’t try to do everything on your own. Ask for support from friends, family, colleagues, and health professionals.
4. Nutritional deficiencies and poor diet
We know diet plays a huge role in almost everything we do. Your body relies on the food and drinks you consume on a day-to-day basis to fuel it.
Some of the most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies linked to fatigue are; iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. A blood test will help determine if you are deficient in an essential vitamin or mineral.
One of the most common causes of fatigue related to diet that dietitian Chloe Mcleod sees is not eating enough and not eating at the right times. "This is particularly true if you exercise regularly, and don’t fuel your workouts, or recover properly," she explains.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, overconsuming foods can also lead to you feeling lethargic, as well as eating a diet with a high amount of processed foods that require a lot of energy to digest.
In general, a balanced diet made up largely of a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and wholegrains, helping meet both macro and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) is important to maintain good health.
Many people don't drink the recommended two litres of water a day (guilty) and it might be having a major impact on our energy levels. Dehydration can wear you down quickly and will make you feel like your energy levels are low. If you constantly reach straight for a fizzy drink or a coffee when you’re thirsty, rather than a glass of water, this could be a problem.
Try buying a nice water bottle to keep on your desk at work to remind you to drink up.
6. Sleep problems
It's hardly surprising if you're not sleeping well, you're probably tired throughout the day. While we all experience the occasional night of restlessness, consistently getting poor sleep will eventually take its toll.
Several sleep disorders contribute to persistent tiredness or excessive daytime sleepiness including; sleep apnoea, insomnia, and parasomnias. Oversleeping can also result in overtiredness.
GP Sam Saling shares that one underrated diagnosis for constantly being exhausted is obstructive sleep apnoea – whereby one’s airway becomes blocked partially or fully during sleep for a few seconds at a time, resulting in a drop in oxygen levels. "Unsurprisingly, one of the key indicators of sleep apnoea is feeling exhausted after a supposed full night’s sleep, as well as feeling tired in the daytime, especially during activities that would otherwise keep you alert, like driving," she explains.
For most people, getting approximately eight hours of shut-eye every night can be a good way to support overall health and wellbeing.
While some stress in life is normal, being consistently stressed isn't and it can lead to chronic fatigue. As stress can disrupt your sleep patterns, it's likely you'll find yourself tired throughout the day.
Managing stress through techniques such as relaxation, mindfulness, exercise, and seeking support from friends, family, and/or a mental health professional can help alleviate fatigue caused by stress.
8. Revenge bedtime procrastination
It's not uncommon to wrap up a long day, realise you need to be awake in eight hours, and still have a strong desire to watch Sex and the City re-runs till 2 am. This phenomenon is called 'revenge bedtime procrastination'; the concept of taking 'revenge' on the daytime hours when you weren't able to fit in leisure time.
A lack of sleep can result in an even stronger desire to have downtime because we aren't in a good frame of mind during the day and need to work more because we aren't being as productive. It's a tricky cycle and one that's very easy to fall into.
9. Other underlying medical conditions
Sometimes, despite doing everything right, you still feel exhausted. In these situations, it's important to suss out if there's something deeper going on. There are a number of medical conditions that can cause fatigue including chronic fatigue syndrome, glandular fever, thyroid issues, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. Chat to your GP if you're worried or suspect a deeper issue is at the root of your fatigue.
When is it time to see a doctor?
Feeling tired during the day shouldn't be your baseline as it can take a huge toll on your daily performance and health. Healthdirect recommends seeing a doctor if fatigue continues for more than two weeks. So if you're feeling the pain of being constantly sleepy, it's time to get on top of it!
This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualised health advice. If you are concerned about your health and well-being, please speak to your GP, who will advise on the correct treatment plan. You can also call Lifeline 24/7 for mental health support on 13 11 14.