Why am I so tired? – Part 2

An overly dramatic approach to life 

If you’re a mountain-out-of-a-molehill person, that could be the reason for your tiredness. An exaggerated emotional response to events can squander your energy unnecessarily. Similarly, when you experience an emotional blow, it can drain your energy and impact your sleep patterns.

What to do: Observe the way you react to incidents that occur throughout the day. If negative thoughts pop up automatically, or you find yourself catastrophizing, pause and take a deep breath. Consider how unlikely it is that the worst-case scenario will really happen. Take a break from the situation by going for a walk or doing breathing exercises.

Chronic stress

Stress can cause insomnia, and it’s not hard to see why. When you’re anxious about something, it’s tough to fall asleep and stay asleep. Chronic stress can lead to adrenal fatigue, a condition which impacts your ability to secrete appropriate amounts of cortisol. That can lead to decreased energy during the day and difficulty achieving restful sleep at night.

What to do: Consistently practice good stress-reducing habits, such as breathing exercises, going for walks, or ending the day with a positive, inspirational reading. Also evaluate if there are things you can do to eliminate stress or manage it better.

Depression

Depression is not just “feeling down.” It is a major illness that can impact you emotionally and physically. It lowers your energy levels, makes it tough to maintain a healthy sleep schedule, and robs your brain of serotonin, a chemical that helps regulate your internal body clock.

What to do: If you suspect you have depression, talk to your doctor.

Non-restorative sleep

Some people just don’t go to bed early enough to get a full night’s sleep. It’s no surprise that they wake up tired. But what about the people who are in bed for eight hours or more, but still wake up exhausted? This is a person suffering from non-restorative sleep—the person who goes to bed, falls asleep easily, sleeps through the night, and wakes up tired.

Three-quarters of the sleep cycle is spent in non-REM (rapid eye movement) stages of sleep. Stages 3 and 4 of non-REM sleep, the final two stages, are the most restorative. It is during these stages that energy is replenished. Someone who suffers from non-restorative sleep spends most of their sleep cycle in stage 2, never getting to the high-quality rest.

Other sleep-disrupting conditions include insomnia and sleep apnea. People with insomnia may be in bed all night, but they sleep three or four hours and then cannot return to sleep. With sleep apnea, a person is temporarily unable to breathe while asleep (often due to the collapse of tissue at the back of the throat). The body becomes oxygen-deprived, and the individual may be awakened as a result. This can happen several times a night, causing the person to wake up still feeling tired.

What to do: Schedule a sleep study at a sleep center that can monitor you through the night and diagnose your sleep challenge.