Skip to chat with us. Skip to content
Woman who feels tired all the time for an unknown medical reason.

August 13, 2020 • read

Share this article

10 reasons you’re feeling tired all the time

We all have days where it feels like there’s no cup of coffee big enough to give us the energy we need. Feeling tired once in a while is part of life. But, there are lots of Canadians who feel tired way more than they should. 

Canada is the third most sleep-deprived country in the world. One in three Canadian men don’t get the sleep they need. In fact, a third of Canadians surveyed for one report said they had difficulty staying awake during daylight hours. Even people who do get a full eight hours of sleep don’t always feel energetic during the day.

If you feel tired all the time, it can usually be traced back to one of three things. Persistent fatigue is linked to mental illness, underlying physiological issues, or lifestyle choices. Here are ten possibilities for why you’re feeling fatigued, and tips to help.

1. Diet

Food is fuel. Junk foods that are high in sugar, while they provide a short-term energy boost, really slow you down. That’s because they cause a spike in your blood sugar. When that happens, your body produces insulin to bring your blood sugar down to normal. The sudden dip in your blood sugars leaves you feeling sluggish. Eating nutritious foods like vegetables and healthy fats can leave you feeling more energetic throughout the day.

2. Stress

Stress causes your body to produce a hormone called cortisol that puts your system in fight or flight mode. When stressful thoughts put your body on high alert, it can be hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Talk to a mental health professional if sleeplessness from stress is making you tired in the daytime.

3. Lack of exercise

When you don’t get enough physical activity, it can actually make you even more tired than when you’re active. Exercise gets your blood pumping, which helps move oxygen and nutrients around your system. This makes you more energetic and alert. When you’re sedentary, your body doesn’t get the oxygen it needs to convert your food into fuel. That can leave you feeling less than your best.

4. Sleep disorders

If you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s tough to have a productive day. Sleep disorders like insomnia can rob your energy if they’re left untreated. Long-term effects of sleep disorders include changes in mood and trouble focusing on daily tasks. A sleep therapist can help you get to the root cause of your trouble sleeping, and ultimately improve your waking hours.

5. Anemia

If you’re anemic, your body has trouble supplying its tissue with enough oxygen. Your body needs oxygen to turn nutrients to fuel. That’s why anemics experience feelings of weakness and tiredness throughout the day. There are several different types of anemia. Some are caused by a lack of minerals like iron, and others are hereditary. A doctor can help you assess your risk and recommend the best treatments.

6. Diabetes

People with diabetes experience fluctuations in their blood sugar levels. When that happens often enough, the rollercoaster of high and low blood sugar can cause fatigue. Rest won’t fix this kind of tiredness. If you’re at risk or living with diabetes, speak to a doctor or endocrinologist to find the right diet and medicine for you. It could be just what you need to balance out your system and get your energy back.

7. Alcohol

Alcohol is a sedative. That means it makes you drowsy, and if you’re already tired, it will add to your fatigue. It can also compromise the quality of your sleep. Once you drift off, alcohol can make it harder for you to sleep without waking up during the night.

8. Caffeine

Healthy adults should only drink one cup of coffee per day. Caffeine provides a nice boost for a little while, but just like anything else, what goes up must come down! After-effects of too much caffeine include tiredness and trouble focusing. Being mindful of your caffeine intake could improve your daytime stamina.

9. Depression

Fatigue is a symptom of depression. If you’re feeling tired and finding it hard to enjoy things that usually make you happy, talk to a therapist. A therapist can help you resolve trauma and negative thought patterns that are sapping your zest for life.  

10. Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is more than just snoring. The condition causes your throat muscles to become too relaxed, which obstructs proper breathing. This can happen hundreds of times per night, causing extremely poor sleep quality that can seriously reduce your energy during the day. Sleep tests can reveal the root cause of your sleep apnea. 

If you’re feeling fatigued during the day, you may have to do some exploring to find the root cause. From diet to depression, there are lots of circumstances that result in feeling tired all the time. Whether you need sleep therapy or a naturopath, there’s a healthcare provider to help you out. We hope that helps you rest a little easier!

See a doctor online

General health
What to Expect When Seeing an Endocrinologist Virtually

Read more
General health
How to get Access to Healthcare when Abroad this Summer

Read more
General health
What Health Appointments Should Men Make as They Age

Read more