“Why am I so tired?”
Dr. Cori Skarda/ Primary Care Mental Health
Did you know that many medical conditions, medications, and lifestyle habits can cause fatigue?
If you suffer from excessive tiredness during the day, ask yourself these questions:
Am I getting enough sleep?
Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Growing children and adolescents need even more.
Am I getting good quality sleep?
Many medical conditions interfere with normal sleep, including sleep apnea, heart failure, chronic pain, restless leg syndrome, and prostate enlargement, to name a few. These illnesses may cause people to wake up frequently and not get enough high-quality sleep.
Excessive alcohol use can also interfere with high-quality sleep. Despite what some think, alcohol is not an effective sleep aid. Although it can help someone fall asleep more quickly, the sleep is less restorative (less REM sleep) and is more disrupted, leaving the person feeling more tired the following day.
Have I had a medical check-up?
In addition to some medical issues interfering with sleep, other medical conditions themselves will leave you tired, even after a normal night’s sleep. Chronic untreated hypothyroidism (low thyroid), anemia, and chronic inflammatory conditions can cause fatigue. Depression, chronic anxiety, and several other mental health issues frequently leave people feeling exhausted.
Are my medications making me drowsy?
Look at the medicines and supplements you take. Many allergy medicines (antihistamines) make people drowsy, even some that say “non-drowsy”. Some blood pressure medicines, such as beta blockers (example Metoprolol) may make people feel drowsy. Sedative medications such as benzodiazepines (example Xanax) make people tired. Some sedating antidepressants (such as Trazadone) can also cause fatigue.
If you are chronically tired, the first step is to ask “Why?”. Be assured that fatigue is often a very treatable problem!