Why Am I Tired All The Time?

by WiseFool

Feeling exhausted despite a good night's sleep? Perpetual tiredness is not uncommon, but it is bad for your health, your work and your relationships.

You don't need me, or anyone else, to tell you that being tired makes for misery. When we're exhausted, we're more irritable, causing us to snap at the people closest to us. We can't concentrate, meaning our work suffers. And we're more likely to consume high sugar and high caffeine products in an attempt to get a 'boost', which can be detrimental to our health.

However, there's almost always a reason for long-term tiredness. And, once you know what that reason is, there's a good chance the problem can be resolved.

So, could any of the reasons below explain why you are always so tired?

Are You Eating the Right Things?

Stay away from the glazed donutIt's simple enough, if we give our bodies the right fuel, they'll run better. It's the same principal as your car. However, lots of us go with what tastes good, or, for the sake of convenience, choose the wrong foods.

One of the important tricks to keeping your inner motor running smoothly is to ensure a steady blood sugar level.

Most of us, when we're tired, crave sugar. But, if we eat a glazed donut for breakfast, we experience a massive rush of sugar, which must inevitably crash. This crash will make us feel terrible again and the cycle repeats.

Instead, we need to start the day with a healthy meal full of protein and complex carbs, such as wholewheat bread or toast, oatmeal, fruit, and cereals that aren't laden with added sugar.


Do You Have an Underactive Thyroid?

If you're tired all of the time, it may be a sign that your thyroid (the gland that controls the metabolism) is failing. Other symptoms of an underactive thyroid are:

  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Aches or cramps
  • High sensitivity to cold 

If you have all of these symptoms or a combination, it's a good idea to speak with your doctor. A simple blood test can confirm an underactvie thyroid and treatment can be provided in the form of hormones that counteract the under-performing thyroid gland. 

Do You Have Diabetes?

Another common cause of prolonged tiredness is diabetes, which, unfortunately, is on the rise.

Why does diabetes leave you feeling exhausted? Well, think of your body as a battery and sugar (not necessarily the artificial processed kind I hasten to add) is what that battery runs on.

If your pancreas isn't functioning properly and regulating your blood sugar, the vital energy in that sugar is not going into your cells and, instead, is just draining away from your body.

The battery slowly runs down and cannot recharge. 

If you feel that you may be diabetic, seek assistance from your doctor, who will be able to confirm the condition with a blood test.

Do You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?

Why Are You Tired?Chronic fatigue syndrome, sometimes known as myalgic encephalopathy, is a little understood condition, which is all too often dismissed by members of the general public.

However, it is very real and, in some case, can be incredibly debilitating.

If you've experienced extreme bouts of exhaustion, to the point of being unable to complete simple daily tasks, for six months or more, then there is a strong chance that you may be suffering from CFS.

Unfortunately, there is no 'cure' as such, but improvement can be made by changes to lifestyle, diet, sleep patterns and the introduction of small amounts of gentle exercise. 

Are You Depressed?

It's easy to forget that depression doesn't just affect the mental and emotional state. It can have a catastrophic impact on your physical well being, too; including headaches, migraines, loss of appetite and feelings of exhaustion.

And, of course, just like eating badly, poor emotional health, which effects your sleep, can be a circular problem, because a lack of good quality sleep can have a profoundly detrimental affect on your mental and emotional health. 

So, if you've experienced prolonged fatigue and depression for two weeks or longer, it is advisable to seek the help of your doctor.

Don't Ignore Constant Feelings of Exhaustion

You don't have to live with prolonged exhaustionWe're inclined, because we all have such frenetically busy lives, to brush off feeling tired as just another part of life.

But, if all is well with our bodies and they're getting everything they need, we shouldn't wake up in the mornings pleading for another ten minutes in bed.

It's thought that around one in ten of us experience long-term exhaustion - which is more likely to affect women - and that this prolonged fatigue sometimes has nothing to do with too little sleep.

So, if you're getting plenty of rest, you're likely to wonder 'why am I tired all the time?'

If you have been feeling tired for an extended period of time and there is no obvious cause, in terms of lack of sleep or poor diet, then it is always advisable to make an appointment with your doctor for a check up.

Updated: 02/02/2013, WiseFool
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georgettejohn on 03/01/2013

I was pretty suprised myself at first! Thought my doctor was losing his mind at first!

WiseFool on 03/01/2013

Thank you so much for adding that, Georgette. That's one I wasn't aware of. I know a lack of vitamin D can cause problems for bones, but didn't know it could also lead to prolonged fatigue. I hope you're now feeling much better. Thanks again.

georgettejohn on 02/28/2013

I recently had some lab work done because the urge to sleep/need to sleep had seemed to dominate my life. I was convinced my thyroid was "off" again because I have had issues with it in the past. It was normal so I'd like to share another often overlooked reason. Vitamin D deficiency. Mine was quite extreme and being told this was the reason I didn't initially "buy it" until I looked up the symptoms online. I was shocked by the toll this can have on your body. Another great article WiseFool.

WiseFool on 02/11/2013

That's a great tip, Mira. You're absolutely right, exercise is good for both mental and physical health; making us feel alert and more vibrant. As you say, though, it's one of those good habits that's difficult to stick to. Thanks!

Mira on 02/11/2013

I find daily exercise is a wonderful way to get more energy. But I get caught up in many things, and don't always do it -- unfortunately. Great article!

WiseFool on 02/03/2013

Thank you kindly for sharing the article. I think we'll all guilty of messing with sleep patterns or not eating well enough to keep our energy levels up, for one reason or another. And, as you mention, sometimes circumstances can conspire against us. Hope you're able to get back to fighting form soon, Lana.

Ragtimelil on 02/03/2013

Excellent article. I battle sleepiness too but I know I don't eat very well now that I'm in reduced circumstances. I'm trying to correct that. I gave it a tweet and a FB.

WiseFool on 02/03/2013

Thanks very much for adding that, humagaia.

humagaia on 02/03/2013

Good article but you missed one extremely important sleep deprivation mechanism - sleep apnoea. This is when your sleep patterns are disrupted by continual waking episodes - not to the point of waking up completely, but to the point that 'dream sleep' is never reached.
Sleep apnoea affects many people without them knowing. It is one's partner that must be aware of the signs - snoring, cessation of breathing for several seconds (regularly) when asleep.
And the tiredness is much more than the normal feeling of tiredness - it is a black cloud descending from ones brain, over the eyelids, until they close (whatever you are doing).
This too is a circular process: weight gain, diabetes etc reinforces sleep apnoea and vice versa.

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