3 Reasons You’re Tired All the Time: When Enough Sleep Isn’t Enough

Boy Sleeping by indi.ca, Flickr I know I write about sleep issues a lot.  There are two reasons for this.  First, sleep problems are very prevalent, so even if you’re not dealing with any right now, the odds are good that you’ll still need the information some time in the future.  Second, I have, and have had for a long time, trouble sleeping on a regular basis, so I understand the feeling and want to share everything I’ve learned while trying to solve my problems so you can benefit from the information as well.  What can I say?  I’m just nice like that.

One of the most frustrating situations you can find yourself in, sleep-wise, is when you’re getting enough sleep yet still feel tired all the time.  Sleeping more is almost always never an option, since most of us have lives outside our beds, and even when it is, it usually doesn’t help.  Which is even more frustrating.

If you’ve ever been here, or if you’re here now (in which case, I’m sorry), here are some possible reasons for feeling that way.

Diet and Exercise

Don’t you get tired of hearing this whenever you have a complaint about how you’re feeling?  Me too, but it’s still true.  If you’re feeling tired all the time despite getting what should be enough sleep, you may need to make some changes here.  Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you eating enough, and regularly?
  • Are you over-eating?
  • Are you eating food, or just processed garbage?
  • Are you getting some exercise every day?
  • Are you getting enough exercise every day?

You don’t have to have an excessive exercise regimen or a perfectly healthy diet in order to feel rested, but if you answered “no” to any of these questions, then you may have the answer to your problem.


Sometimes, it seems like stress is our perpetual companion in life.  When sleep, and energy, and everything else abandon us, we still have stress to keep up company.  And stress can make you feel tired.  It can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep, and want to sleep more even when we’ve had enough.

Unfortunately, if stress is your problem, the only way to figure it out is to find some ways to de-stress and see if that brings your energy back.  Here are some ideas:

Depression or Other Illness

Depression can be hell on your system, and one of the most common things it does is screw up your sleep and your energy levels.  The good news here is that, if depression is the problem, improving your diet and exercise habits and reducing your stress will help with both your energy levels and your depression in general.  If you haven’t already, though, it’s a good idea to see your doctor.  Especially if your efforts haven’t helped how you’re feeling.

If it’s NOT depression, and you’ve tried fixing the other two areas of your life that I mentioned above, it could be another illness.  As with the depression, I highly advise seeing your doctor to get evaluated.  You might feel silly, but the doctor isn’t going to judge you for coming in because you’re tired all the time.  It could be something serious, or something as simple (but still crappy) as mono.  Tiredness may not be an illness, but it’s often the signal of one.  Go get checked out.

What Have I Missed?

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list; I only included the most likely culprits.  If you know of more, please share them with us.  Any tips or ideas would be appreciated, as well.  I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m always on the lookout for ways to have more energy.  Please, comment.

photo by indi.ca, courtesy of Flickr

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Pam is a preschool teacher and writer with a background in psychology and child development. She's available for freelance work, private consulting, or just a nice chat. Connect with her on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, or via email at p.komarnicki AT social-discomfort DOT com.

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