Lack of Restful Sleep Is a Symptom
There are two kinds of sleep, and the question you need to ask yourself is: which kind are you getting? One kind of sleep involves closing your eyes at night, maybe rolling around at night, waking up in the morning, and feeling like you could have slept another 3 hours. Another kind of sleep involves falling asleep, sleeping deeply, and waking up feeling mostly or completely refreshed. Which one sounds familiar to you?
If you wake up feeling like you hardly slept, even if you slept all night, it’s going to inhibit your ability to enjoy life – you’re going to be tired all the time. When you are tired all the time, you are crabbier, perform worse in nearly every task, lose motivation to do things for yourself or with others, have reduced sex drive, and on and on. Life is simply less full when you have chronic fatigue.
To boot, it’s frustrating because you feel like you should be rested and happy – you are getting a full night’s sleep after all. This phenomenon is generally a strong symptom of either of the following:
· Bad habits and/or cognitive conditions
· Sleep disorders
· Bad sleeping environment
· Medical problem
Let’s look at these in more detail.
Common Medical Causes of Fatigue
There are some relatively common medical conditions that can make you tired all the time, even though you are getting 8 or more hours of sleep. These include:
· Hormone problems
· Heart Disease
· Chronic illness
These medical conditions can leave you feeling drained of energy, enthusiasm, and make you feel like you could “sleep a year.” With such conditions, you might range from feeling chronically fatigued, to feeling like you happily put your head down and sleep at any time, to being so disruptive you can hardly function normally.
Sleep Conditions That Cause Fatigue
One of the more common reasons you are tired all the time even after 8 hours of sleep is that you have a sleep disorder. Sleep disorders are conditions that prevent you from getting quality sleep. Here are a few sleep disorders that would give you illusion of sleeping throughout the night, but actually don’t provide quality sleep.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder and medical condition that causes you to repeatedly stop breathing constantly throughout the night, anywhere for 40 to over 100 times per night, and wake up to resume breathing (though you won’t remember waking). Therefore, you might sleep 8 hours and still feel like you barely slept – because you really didn’t sleep! It causes severe sleep deprivation and the following symptoms:
· Bed partner hears you repeatedly stop breathing throughout night
· Loud, chronic snoring
· Wake up exhausted in the morning
· Wake up with headaches
· Waking up choking/gasping
· Mood disruptions, such as constant irritability, brain fog, etc.
Fortunately, sleep apnea is usually treated 100% with CPAP therapy, using a CPAP machine as shown in the picture above.
Another set of sleep disorders that will leave you feeling tired after a full night’s sleep are parasomnias. Parasomnias are disruptive sleep disorders that interfere with your circadian rhythm, and may impact sleep quality without your awareness of it. They include the following disorders:
· Restless leg syndrome
· Sleep walking
· Night terrors
· Chronic nightmares
Lifestyle and Cognitive Causes of Fatigue
Finally, there are numerous lifestyle and emotional related causes of being sleep deprived from lack of sleep quality. Some of the more obvious ones are
· Dinking too much alcohol, which greatly impacts REM sleep
· Poor diet/malnutrition, such as allergies or intolerances that can make you feel lethargic and sluggish all of the time
· Clinical depression/anxiety
· Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
· Shift Work
Bad Sleeping Environment Affecting Sleep Quality
Sleep deprivation despite good length of sleeping isn’t always the product of a sleeping disorder. Your sleep quality might also be impacted by:
· Not having an ideal sleeping environment: quiet, dark, peaceful, and comfortable room
· Adjust to doing shift work
· Stress/anxiety from work, marriage/divorce, moving, etc.
· Working hours that do not align with your natural circadian rhythm
· Too much “screen time” with laptops/TV/cell phones before bed, as the blue light can delay the onset of restorative stages of sleep
Any of the above can cause you to get less quality sleep even though you are getting the right amount of sleep time.
If you are living in Anchorage and struggle with chronic fatigue or tiredness during the daytime, contact us. We can help.