10 Reasons You’re So Tired All The Time

“I’m so tired” is the most basic complaint in the entire world, second only to whining about the weather. I think we like to say it because it makes us seem busy or worthy of sympathy, but sometimes we say it because we really are running on fumes and trapped in a cycle of burnout. In our culture, sleep deprivation is a badge of honor to humblebrag about. For most of college (and for most of my life, really), I would stay up until all hours of the night trying to accomplish everything on my to-do list or just trying to savor some relaxation time. I’d either fall asleep in the middle of a project with the light on or turn in super late, irrationally expecting myself to easily wake up early despite the fact that I had maybe three hours asleep ahead of me. I figured functioning on little sleep was just a matter of willpower and that I was a failure at the game, but then sometime in the past few years, I realized that my life looks entirely different when I’ve had a decent night’s sleep. When I discovered this, sleep felt like a super drug. Being well-rested made me a happier, more optimistic person, and I realized that when I wasn’t exhausted I could actually get shit done instead of spending a million years on the same task because I was too tired to concentrate. I’d venture that the exhausted, strung-out version of me (who of course still makes appearances) is an entirely different person who’s taken crazy pills and sees the world with entirely different stakes.

Now, I try to make sleep a priority, even though it’s tough to accomplish everything I want each day while still having time for sleep. Somewhere along the line, I even — gasp! — sort of became a morning person. What’s weird, though, is that for the past few months I’ve been so tired, even on days when I think I’ve gotten enough sleep the night before. I find myself sleeping until the last possible moment, yawning at my desk, feeling drained on the regular, and crashing the second I get home in the evening. What gives!? I have projects and nights out and overall life activities I want give my energy to in my off hours, and it is beyond frustrating when I feel like too much of a lump to do so. I don’t get perfect sleep by any means, but make such a priority of it! How much more sleep could I need? Am I just expecting too much out of life? Maybe the modern busy world simply doesn’t make the room get the amount of sleep we need and I need to just accept it now before I get even more stubborn. Are any of you drowsy for no reason too? Below, a few theories about why we’re tired:

1. Your diet. Loading up on caffeine and sugar over fruit, veggies and lean protein can make you more drowsy than before!

2. Lack of exercise. Working out actually gives you energy instead of just expending it! Studies have found that people who started an exercising habit felt much more energized than when they were more sedentary.

3. Your period. There’s no hormonal reason for you to be tired as a direct result of your period, but the way you treat your body during that time of the month – like eating the junk food you’re craving and taking it easy on the couch — may make you tired. You may also be beat during your period because of an iron deficiency, which is common and treatable.

4. Anxiety or depression. Depression and anxiety can change your sleep habits, making it impossible for you to get any rest or causing extreme sleepiness.

5. Adrenal fatigue. Some doctors are not believers in this one, but I’m throwing it out there — if your drowsiness is accompanied by dizziness, weakness, stress, and anxiety, this might be you.

6. Glowing screens before bed. It’s suggested that you abstain from looking at your phone, TV or laptop starting 1-2 before bedtime. This sounds just about impossible to me, but apparently, it helps!

7. Going to bed too late. This one sounds obvious, but your sleeping track record may be worse than you actually think. I’m notorious for tricking myself into thinking I went to bed at, say, 11:30 when what I really did at 11:30 was wash my face, get into bed, mess around on Instagram, lay away thinking about the next day and/or the meaning of life, and then actually going to sleep around 12:30.

8. Being a people pleaser. When you never say “no,” more projects and tasks pile up on your plate and more nights are spent out at events you’d rather be missing. All this equates to major burnout. It’s hard sticking to your guns, but you can do it! You can tell people “no,” I promise!

9. Allergies. Exposure to dust, pollen or other allergens can make you fatigued!

10. Low potassium. Your doctor can detect this through a blood test.

If you have any other suggestions, let me know in the comments!



[Image via Shutterstock]