There are many reasons you might be feeling tired all the time. If you’ve looked at all the other possibilities without success, sleep apnea might be the culprit.
Do you always feel tired, even when you think you must have slept enough? Do you find yourself dozing off at your desk, or daydreaming longingly about your bed before you’ve even taken your lunch break? If you’ve found yourself dealing with constant fatigue, there can be a variety of reasons you’re feeling the way you do. The faster you identify the cause, the faster you can get back on track and out of your sleepy funk.
What Are Some Reasons For Constantly Feeling Tired?
You might think you’re just lazy, but if your ongoing fatigue hasn’t been quite so bad in the past, there might be something going on — in your lifestyle, or in your body — that is causing it. The first thing that may come to mind is the possibility of not getting enough sleep, but there are other potential reasons to consider.
- Anemia: This is a disorder known for making it difficult for your blood to transport oxygen around your body. Iron-deficiency anemia, a common variation, is anemia that results from not having enough iron in your diet. Tiredness — and even dizziness upon standing up — can be symptoms of anemia.
- Thyroid Problems: Your thyroid gland is responsible for making a hormone that plays a role in controlling how you use energy. If you have an underactive thyroid, you might experience constant fatigue, sluggishness and slower reflexes.
- Poor Diet: Skipping meals, which most people are guilty of from time to time, can leave you feeling tired down the line — particularly if that meal was breakfast. The foods you eat also play a role in your energy levels, as excess sugar and fat can cause sluggishness. Certain foods will create a rise in your blood sugar, which, if not kept somewhat steady, can also increase your fatigue.
- Heart Disease: Extreme levels of fatigue are a commonly experienced symptom of congestive heart failure, which is when your heart doesn’t pump as efficiently as it normally would. These heart issues might be the cause of your tiredness if you find that you only get more fatigued when you try to exercise.
- Adrenal Fatigue: When your adrenal glands aren’t functioning at the right level, you may experience fatigue that doesn’t go away, even after a full night’s rest. Even though you might not be feeling many of the other signs of being sick, adrenal fatigue can leave you feeling drained and unwell.
- Sleep Apnea: Blood tests and medical examinations might be able to identify most of the other potential causes of fatigue, but sleep apnea isn’t always as easy to identify. You might have had it for years without even knowing it! Read on for more information on this sneaky but harmful disorder.
Could Sleep Apnea be the Reason You’re Always Tired?
Sleep apnea prevents you from getting the oxygen you need when you’re asleep. Sleep apnea can be a result of your throat muscles relaxing to the point of blocking your airway, or it may be your brain’s failure to send the right signals to the muscles responsible for breathing. Regardless of which form it takes, sleep apnea results in you waking up due to your body realizing it hasn’t been getting rid of the carbon dioxide in your system.
You might think abrupt waking would be a clear symptom that you would notice, but the awakenings tend to be so brief you might not even realize they’re happening. When your breathing stops and repeatedly resumes throughout the night, and you keep on waking up as a result of it, it becomes difficult to reach the most restful phase of sleep where your energy gets replenished. The constant waking means you didn’t sleep as well as you assumed, and could explain why you’re so sleepy after getting what you thought was a full night’s sleep. Signs of sleep apnea include:
- Excessive, loud snoring
- Sudden awakenings at night, along with feeling short of breath
- Headaches in the morning
- Pauses in your breathing while asleep
If you or your partner has noticed symptoms like these, it’s well worth taking the in-home sleep apnea test. You don’t have to live with sleep apnea — a continuous positive airway pressure machine (or CPAP machine) can help you get a full night’s sleep by keeping your airways open. Getting one of these devices can help change your life by leaving fatigue behind for good.