Here’s Why You Feel Tired All the Time

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Let's get to the bottom of those plummeting energy levels.

Feeling tired all the time?

You know what I mean: you feel like you’re dragging your feet all day, your brain is foggy, and you’d do just about anything for a nap. It can make it pretty difficult to get things done. You might be missing out on work or social events, or overloading on caffeine just to make it through the day.

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The most obvious reason is obviously staying up too late and not getting enough rest, right? But what if you are going to bed at a decent hour, and you still feel like you’re constantly running on fumes? Still feeling fatigued even with proper rest or feeling fatigued for more than a few weeks is a sign there’s something else going on. There are actually several other reasons why you could be feeling so run down.

Lifestyle Factors

When it comes to fatigue, there are plenty of lifestyle factors that could be causing fatigue. These are the factors that are easiest to fix on your own, so look at these first when trying to pin down a reason. Some of these may be obvious, while others might surprise you. With a few changes here and there, you could be back to normal in no time!

You’re Staring at Screens Too Much

That pesky blue light emitted from our phones, computers, TVs, and other devices is to blame for a lot of things – and we can probably blame it for fatigue, too. That’s because blue light suppresses the release of melatonin, the hormone that controls the sleep-wake cycle. Mess with that hormone, and you’re messing with your circadian rhythm and sleep quality. Try dimming the lights in the evening, and stop using electronics an hour before bedtime.

Related: Should You Be Wearing Blue Light Blocking Glasses?

Eating Too Much or Too Little Before Bed

Your belly needs to be happy before you hit the hay. If you go to bed hungry, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It can disrupt your sleep cycle, and not just because you’ll wake up to a growling stomach. Going to bed hungry can lead to low blood sugar levels, which will cause headaches and dizziness. On the other hand, though, eating too much before bed can also disrupt your sleep cycle. While your body is working to digest all that food, you can’t get to as restful a state as you need, reducing the quality of your sleep.

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You Need a New Mattress or Pillow

When was the last time you replaced your pillow and mattress? Both of these items can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep if they’re past their expiration. Old mattresses and pillows won’t give you the correct support, leaving you uncomfortable as you toss and turn during the night. Doesn’t sound very restful! Beyond that, mattresses and pillows are collecting dust and dead skin cells over time, which can also attract dust mites. Replace your pillow about every two years, and your mattress every six to ten years.

Not Sticking to a Routine Sleep Schedule

Have you heard of bedtime procrastination? If you’re regularly staying up to get some precious “me time” after coming home from work late or after the kids go to bed, congrats! You’re a bedtime procrastinator. There’s nothing wrong with getting some time to yourself, but staying up until all hours of the night will eventually leave you wiped out.

Not keeping a consistent sleep schedule can leave you fatigued, too. If you’re going to bed much later on weekends and then trying to get back on schedule during the week, you’ll feel like you’re constantly tired and never able to catch up.

Your Schedule Is Overbooked

Everyone’s trying to keep up 24/7, and cramming way too much into their daily lives. Some of it, like taking care of kids or going to work, is pretty necessary. But if you feel like you’re always going without any downtime to rest, you’ll end up feeling burned out and tired. Remember, if you don’t choose time to rest, your body will choose it for you.

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Your Diet Needs a Boost

What we eat is important for just about everything, including having enough energy to make it through the day. Carb-heavy processed grains, added sugar, and fast foods are just the beginning of feeling sluggish. Many of these foods have little to no nutritional value, which means you’re not getting the protein, vitamins, and other nutrients you need to get things done. Deficiencies in vitamins D and B12 in particular can lead to fatigue and muscle weakness.

Too much alcohol and too much caffeine can affect your nightly slumber, too. 

You Are Dehydrated

Start carrying around that water bottle! Not drinking enough water can lead to problems concentrating, headaches, weakness, and fatigue. Ensure you’re drinking enough water each day to stave off the slump. Stay hydrated, fam.

Related: Here’s What Happens When You Don’t Drink Enough Water

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Not Getting Enough Exercise

It seems counterproductive, but exerting energy to work out can actually boost your energy levels. Getting up and moving will increase the heart rate and the body’s use of oxygen, plus it will trigger the release of endorphins. Studies have also shown that regular exercise improves sleep for many people, too. Just don’t exercise right before bedtime!

Battling Boredom

Did you know that simple boredom can make you tired? If you’re not being challenged or stimulated, your brain says it’s time to sleep. If you recently started working from home instead of heading into the outside world, you were laid off, or you retired, you might just be bored from looking at the same four walls.

Portrait of a tired young businesswoman sitting at the table with laptop computer while holding cup of coffee and sleeping at a cafe

Health Factors

If none of those lifestyle factors are the culprit, it’s time to start looking at health factors that could result in fatigue. These larger issues and underlying medical conditions could be zapping your energy. Psychological and physical factors will require attention from your doctor.

Getting Over Illness

The runny nose or upset stomach may have subsided, but your energy levels are probably still working on making a comeback. Your body works really hard to fight off bacteria and viruses, and that requires energy. You might feel a little run down for a while after you’ve started making a recovery.

woman indoors sneezing into tissue

Medication Side Effects

Every time I see a medication commercial on TV, it seems like the last 30 seconds are devoted to a slew of side effects. While medications can be helpful and even necessary for many people, they do all come with their own side effects – which can sometimes include tiredness/fatigue. Don’t stop taking your medicine, but tell your doc if it’s making you tired.

Iron Deficiency

Fatigue is a common symptom of iron deficiency. Iron’s main role is to get oxygen in the blood to cells in the body. A lack of iron means your red blood cells aren’t able to carry enough oxygen. It will leave you feeling sluggish and weak.

Being Overweight or Underweight

When you are underweight, poor muscle strength can make you tire more easily. On the flip side of that, being overweight means your body has to work harder to do everyday activities. Both situations will leave you feeling wiped out.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, will disrupt your sleep throughout the night – even if you don’t remember waking up. It leads to poor quality sleep, leaving you to wake up feeling less than refreshed each morning.


If you suffer from depression, it can also make you feel tired all the time. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of this mental health disorder. People with depression are twice as likely to experience fatigue than those who don’t have depression.

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Fatigue is also a symptom of other mental health disorders, like anxiety. Clinical anxiety usually means excessive worrying, intrusive thoughts, and always feeling on edge. Some people may even be physically tense. Basically, anxiety keeps you in a constant fight-or-flight state, draining all of your energy.


If you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep through the night, you could have insomnia. This condition is pretty common, occurring in around 33% to 50% of adults. Because it interrupts your ability to get enough sleep at night, it leaves you exhausted during the day.

Autoimmune Diseases

There are many different kinds of autoimmune diseases that come with their own symptoms, but most of them can lead to serious fatigue. That’s because they are conditions in which your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells. It’s constantly in overdrive. This can include lupus, type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and more.

Thyroid Conditions

The thyroid controls many activities in your body, including how fast you burn calories and how fast your heart beats. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can slow down bodily functions and make you feel tired. But an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) will speed everything up, accelerating your metabolism, making your heart pump faster, and making it difficult to relax. This will leave you exhausted.

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