Self, Health And Wellness

Why Am I So Tired? 8 Common Causes Of Chronic Fatigue And How To Stop It (So You Can Finally Get Some Shut-Eye)

Photo: Adrian Swancar on Unsplash
why am i so tired chronic fatigue and other causes of being tired and exhausted

Feeling tired is normal, but you shouldn’t feel tired all the time. In fact, you should feel rested and ready to tackle the day after a full night’s rest, but that doesn’t always occur.

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It’s inevitable that you’ll feel tired every so often. It’s a cruel fact of life that we sleep approximately one third of our lives and live the other two thirds of our lives waiting for the moment we can return to our cozy beds. Though, we can’t be tethered to our beds, couches or wherever else we sleep or nap forever. We need to break free sometimes.

If you’re constantly struggling to keep your eyes open during the day and know the fatigue that you’re experiencing is more than an afternoon slump, then consider other causes of your tiredness than your once-in-a-while bad night’s sleep.

Identifying what may be causing your fatigue is the first step in recovering from it. These 8 common causes of chronic fatigue may surprise you, but they’re all likely treatable by a physician or by over-the-counter means.

1. You might have a sleeping disorder.

Many people have sleep disorders without even realizing it. The more well-known disorders, like sleep apnea and insomnia, are sometimes the hardest to diagnose because of the myriad of symptoms that accompany them.

However, any mental or physical disorder that disrupts your normal sleeping pattern, prevents you from falling or staying asleep or causes you to sleep when you do not wish to do so is classified as a sleeping disorder and can greatly impact your ability to receive a good night’s rest.

Consult your doctor if you believe you have a sleep disorder. He or she may recommend you enroll in a sleep study to assess your sleeping habits or simply try traditional sleep remedies such as taking melatonin to correct your sleeping disorder.

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2. You could have allergies.

Allergies are one of the most common afflictions in the U.S., affecting all age groups, including children. Although it is so commonplace, many people do not know how their allergies may be affecting them. In fact, during a flare-up of allergy symptoms, you might feel stuffy, dizzy and tired, depending on the type of allergies you have.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, this phenomenon is caused by inflammation and may be exaggerated as your body tries to fight off your allergy symptoms. Not only do you feel lethargic when your allergies are bad, but you also may have trouble concentrating and getting an adequate amount of sleep, which perpetuates the fatiguing effects of allergies.

Visit an allergist to receive regular allergy treatments, such as immunotherapy and allergy shots, to alleviate some of your tiredness caused by pesky allergies.

3. Your unhealthy eating habits could be keeping you up.

Your diet and your energy levels are closely related, making the foods you eat just as important as the amount of sleep you get in terms of how tired you feel each day. Overeating, eating too little or eating unhealthy foods regularly can all contribute to chronic fatigue.

With overeating, your digestive system has to work overtime to ensure the food is digested properly whereas undereating results in your body not being able to metabolize enough calories (i.e., energy). Avoid skipping meals, snacking before bed and eating more than three meals per day.

Additionally, you should eat fruits and vegetables along with your meals to make sure you get all essential nutrients you require. A dietician may be able to help you devise a meal plan if you have special dietary restrictions or want extra advice.

4. You're probably stressed out.

Stress is another common cause of chronic fatigue. Feeling stressed is exhausting; it has a myriad of symptoms, including those that affect your physical condition and ability to sleep. If you are stressed all of the time, then it’s important to take action to manage your stress or seek help from a professional healthcare provider such as a counselor or therapist to discuss your stress and apply coping mechanisms for it. Although stress is a part of life, it should never interfere with your day-to-day activities.

RELATED: Why Each Zodiac Sign Can't Sleep At Night

5. You might have a viral or bacterial infection.

Contracting the flu or a cold is never fun, but it’s especially problematic when your sickness interferes with your ability to function during the day. Whether you’re exhausted because you can’t get a full night’s sleep or because your body is spending so much time and energy fighting off the illness instead of keeping you awake, you’re bound to be tired.

However, chronic infections can be serious and have lasting effects that greatly impact your energy levels throughout the day. Chronic UTIs, strep throat and mononucleosis (mono for short) can often become chronic. Contact your doctor to find the best treatment plan to either eliminate the infection or control symptoms.

6. You could suffer from depression.

Depression is more than just feeling sad. In fact, depression has a bunch of symptoms related to your mood, memory and physical condition. Sleep disturbances are a big sign of depression (and many other things), so pay attention to your sleeping habits and note your energy levels throughout the day to enable a mental health professional to better diagnose you with depression, if you suspect that’s what you have.

If you’re so tired that even the smallest task of putting on your shoes or making your bed seem impossible and overwhelming, consider your emotional state. Even if you don’t have clinical depression, your emotions play a huge role in your daytime sleepiness.

7. If you're taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, they could mess with your sleep too.

While these are meant to heal you, they can have nasty side-effects. Antihistamines meant to regulate allergies, blood pressure medications and so many other types of medications have the unfortunate effect of inducing sleepiness and fatigue. To counteract this, your physician may prescribe you additional medication or advise you to change medications in favor of another kind in hopes that your body will respond differently to a new medication.

Of course, some medications are designed to help you sleep and will produce fatigue, so you may always try natural melatonin pills or other sleep aids as well.

8. Or it could be a number of other chronic health conditions.

From Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) to fibromyalgia, there’s no shortage of health conditions that can drain you of your energy. If you’re constantly tired and are experiencing other concerning symptoms, talk to your doctor about the possibility of you having a more serious health condition. While it may not be the most likely cause of your chronic fatigue, it’s good to check up on your body.

RELATED: 20 Ways To Start Sleeping Better & Stop Feeling So Tired All The Time

Meaghan Summers is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.