Getting a perfect night’s sleep every night is impossible. But if you’re sleeping pretty well and still wake up finding yourself out of sorts and tired most days of the week, there may be underlying problems. There is a difference between typical sleepiness and the bone-weariness that is fatigue.
Everyone can feel simply exhausted on occasion from too much work and too little downtime, but true fatigue is pretty much constant. With fatigue, people don’t have energy and sleep doesn’t make them feel better. In the other hand, sleepiness is usually resolved after a good snooze.
There are many potential medical issues that could be causing fatigue and can include diseases like cancer or undiagnosed heart disease. The bottom line: see your doctor if you have concerns.
Here are just a few of the problems that could be causing you to feel so darn exhausted.
This disorder makes it tough for blood to move oxygen throughout your body. The most common type is iron-deficiency anemia. Iron helps transport oxygen. Some people who have iron-deficiency anemia develop restless legs syndrome (RLS), a disorder that causes a strong and uncomfortable urge to move the legs while at rest. That inability to get comfortable results in fractured, disrupted sleep.
Fatigue is a common symptom of diabetes, but the reasons behind the fatigue may be due to numerous issues related to the disease. Although those with diabetes are more prone to infections and anemia, both of which can cause fatigue, fluctuating blood sugar levels are also to blame. Obesity and lack of exercise can make people tired, but obesity and lack of exercise can also lead to diabetes and fatigue. That fatigue is one of the reasons people may first see a doctor and get tested.
The thyroid gland, which is located in your neck, helps your body control its energy use. If the gland is underactive (hypothyroidism), you feel sluggish and exhausted. The risk for hypothyroidism increases with age, so some women, for example, might think their exhaustion might be due to the menopause when in fact it’s a thyroid issue.
Many people snore. But when snoring is linked to breaks in breathing, sleep apnea is the most likely cause. The most common symptom is chronic fatigue. Obesity is a risk factor, as is smoking, heredity, and excessive alcohol use, among others. Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause some serious issues including heart disease, premature death, and accidents. It’s such a common problem and it’s so important for people to be evaluated, and treatment can improve symptoms.
And though it seems like a no-brainer that pain reduces your chances of a good night’s sleep, researchers are still trying to better understand the link. One of the big culprits is arthritis and of its most common symptoms is chronic fatigue, along with body aches.
Depression — a persistent feeling of sadness, anxiety and disinterest — may cause sleep problems. But sleep problems also contribute to depression. Some folks may first develop sleep issues before an onset of depression. For others, depression occurs first.
In any scenario, lack of sleep just adds to the problems. For those with depression, insomnia, unrefreshing sleep, and daytime sleepiness are common. But, some studies show that the risk of developing depression is highest among those with insomnia and difficulties staying asleep.
Essentially anything that affects your breathing and oxygen can affect your sleep. For example, people with asthma can cough and wheeze at night and have fractured sleep. Those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are more likely to develop insomnia, nightmares and daytime sleepiness. Even a simple cold, the flu, or sinus problems can affect the quality of your sleep, leaving you exhausted.
Let’s get real. If you feel just so sleepy all the time, there’s a good chance you’re not getting enough sleep. People don’t place a big priority or enough value on sleep and then they wonder why they are tired. Adults are supposed to get about seven to nine hours every night, but more than one-third of people say they barely get seven.
If you don’t place a priority on sleep, you can run into some big trouble like obesity, dementia, or poor job performance, among others. So try to keep regular sleep hours (even on weekends), skip the late night dinners and alcoholic drinks right before bedtime, and get your exercise during the day. Those lifestyle changes alone may be enough to help you get a better night’s sleep.