Chronic Fatigue – Life Doesn’t Have to be Miserable
Being tired all of the time can kill your ability to enjoy life. You feel crabby around your family, children, and loved one. You can’t perform at school at work. You lose your drive to spend time with friends. You might struggle with erectile dysfunction (for men) and/or reduced sex drive. Small tasks become a big deal. And so on.
In so many words, life loses its luster, and you feel less like the real you.
But the upsetting caveat here is not just that you are tired all the time, but that you otherwise seem to be getting a normal amount of sleep. That doesn’t make sense. If you are getting 8 hours of sleep, then you are likely doing many of things you are supposed to in order to feel rested.
But here’s the thing, there are conditions that will give the illusion of a proper, full night’s rest without actually providing quality sleep needed, and generally fall into these categories:
- Sleep conditions
- Medical conditions
- Lifestyle conditions
Let’s look at how these play out in real life.
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 Causing Chronic Fatigue
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.
When you stop breathing, you momentarily wake up to begin breathing again (though you won’t remember waking). Therefore, you might sleep from 9pm to 7am and still feel like you barely slept – because you really didn’t sleep! It causes severe sleep deprivation because you are constantly being rouses, thereby preventing any restful sleep from happening.
Here are common 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.
Parasomnias Causing Chronic Fatigue
Parasomnias are disruptive sleep disorders that interfere with your circadian rhythm, and may impact sleep quality without your awareness of it. You might compare this to, say, insomnia where you are acutely aware of your lack of sleep.
Common parasomnia’s include:
- Restless leg syndrome
- Sleep walking
- Night terrors
- Chronic nightmares
Other Sleep Related Causes of Fatigue
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
- Shift work
Any of the above can cause you to get less quality sleep even though you are getting the right amount of sleep time.
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.
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
If you are living in Anchorage and struggle with chronic fatigue or tiredness during the daytime, contact us. We can help.