Everyone goes through periods of occasional sleepiness and low energy. However, it is not normal to feel tired all the time. In this Verywell Mind article, Mindpath Health’s Leela R. Magavi, MD, explains why it is crucial to find the cause and solutions.
Everyone goes through periods of occasional sleepiness and low energy. However, it is not normal to feel tired all the time. If you feel tired all the time, it is crucial to find the cause and find solutions.
If you’re not finding relief through sleep or rest, it’s time to address why you’re experiencing excessive tiredness. It might be related to a medical issue or a mental health condition like depression.
Fatigue, sleepiness, and feeling tired all the time are common when dealing with depression. “Depression itself can cause fatigue, apathy, and listlessness due to the nature of the disease,” said Leela R. Magavi, MD, a psychiatrist and regional medical director for Mindpath Health
Signs of depression related to fatigue include:
- Trouble falling asleep
- Trouble staying asleep
- Difficulty waking in the morning
- Sleeping too long
Once you’re up and moving, you may also feel sluggish and unmotivated throughout the day. If your days and nights include more periods of restlessness and sleepiness than bouts of energy, it’s time to make some small changes. These nine strategies can help boost your energy so that you can feel better.
Figure out why you’re tired all the time
If extreme tiredness is getting in the way of your daily routine, you should first see your doctor. They can rule out health-related conditions that can cause you to feel tired all the time. They can also help assess if there might be other factors causing you to feel tired such as:
- Excessive caffeine intake
- Mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Poor sleep habits
Your doctor can recommend treatments, suggest lifestyle modifications, or refer you to a mental health professional.
Set realistic goals
Taking on a goal that is too complex or requires too many steps can feel overwhelming, especially when you are feeling tired. To help with small steps, Magavi recommends scheduling an achievable exercise and mindfulness goal for each day. That’s because scheduling in advance and creating routines transform healthy behaviors into positive habits.
Keep track of what affects energy levels
Tracking your daily activity and energy levels may help you spot patterns and habits that could be making you feel tired all the time. Tracking your activities can also help you to feel more motivated and energetic by helping you recognize your successes.
At the end of the day, Magavi recommends journaling successes and reviewing these frequently to help gain further motivation for the remainder of the week. “Each success releases neurochemicals such as dopamine, which positively reinforce healthy behavior,” she said.
Move your body to fight tiredness
Physical inactivity can sometimes be a factor in why you feel tired all the time. Participating in exercise and physical activities you enjoy can help boost your mood and your energy levels.
That said, finding the motivation to move your body when you feel tired can be challenging. Research has shown that feelings of fatigue are linked to decreased physical activity. The first step is to find one thing you like that requires you to move. Then, set a goal to do this once daily—even if it is for 10 minutes.
Not sure where to start? Magavi recommends a routine of deep, diaphragmatic breathing coupled with Pilates, squats, walking, or running, which helps you concurrently engage in mindfulness and exercise.
Practice mindfulness meditation
The main types of fatigue are physical and mental. Physical fatigue stems from strenuous activity, while mental fatigue stems from your brain becoming overstimulated or overworked. Research suggests that mindfulness meditation is one useful tool that can help reduce feelings of mental fatigue.
Mindfulness meditation, relaxation, and breathing exercises can help calm your mind and body, which may allow you to feel more energetic. It only takes a few minutes each day to feel a difference. Use this time to be aware of what’s going on in your mind and body.
Focus on fresh air and light
Lack of sufficient sunlight is associated with increased illness, symptoms of depression, and feelings of fatigue. If you are always tired, increasing your daily sun exposure might be beneficial.
Brightening your environment with light can do wonders for your mood and energy. Open all the blinds in your house. Get outdoors and take a walk. If the weather is not cooperating or you are unable to leave the house, sit by a window while reading or working on a computer.
You may also want to consider purchasing a light box (10,000 lux), which allows you to do light therapy. This is one of the treatment modalities for seasonal affective disorder (SAD). A doctor or mental health expert can recommend an individualized treatment plan to follow while using light therapy.
Adjust your expectations
Expecting to jump out of bed each morning full of energy may cause you to feel more stress and anxiety. Instead of expecting perfection, understand that some days may be easier than others. If you can bring your expectations down just a bit, you may experience more success.
Make sure to write down your goal and check it off once you accomplish it.
If you are having difficulties waking up and getting out of bed, you can start your day with a few minutes of breathing exercises to help set the tone of the day, especially if you are waking up feeling stressed or anxious.
Troubleshoot your sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene is the term used to describe healthy sleep habits or behaviors you can practice that may help improve your ability to fall asleep and remain sleeping through the night. Following good sleep hygiene can improve the quality and quantity of sleep you get each night. It also plays a significant role in your physical and mental health.
Talk with a mental health professional
Feeling tired all the time can be a sign of a mental health issue like depression. Being tired doesn’t necessarily mean that you are depressed, but it can be a cause for concern if you also experience other symptoms, such as feelings of sadness, loss of interest, irritability, and low energy that last two weeks or longer.
If your sleepiness becomes excessive and difficult to manage, ask your doctor for a referral to a mental health professional. Talking with a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist who can treat the underlying issue may help you feel better. They can also work with you to develop strategies to boost your energy.
Read the full Verywell Mind article with sources.
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