Ask SleepBetter: Why Am I Always Tired?

Have you wondered about something related to sleep, but just can’t find the answer?  Lots of people do, and that’s why we created Ask SleepBetter.  You can ask your own question on the SleepBetter Facebook Page, or by using our Ask SleepBetter contact form.  We will try to answer as many questions as possible, but we are not able to answer queries about physical issues or medicinal issues.  Those should be addressed face-to-face with a physician.

Today’s question is from two women who are tired despite sleeping a lot:

“I’m always tired. I can fall asleep anytime anyplace. I love my bed and fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow. I had to retire after 22 years of running my own day care because of my horrible exhaustion. I sleep 8-12 hours a night, and can still nap for 3-4 during the day easy. Could I have some problem where I’m not getting the right KIND of sleep?”

-Michele S. (via Facebook)

I’ve got the same problem! I can sleep for ages yet still feel tired. Always tired, it’s ridiculous. Is there any way to fix it, and lift up the energy levels?

-Scarlet N. (via Facebook)

We always say that if you have a sleep problem you should see your doctor first, and for these questions, it’s particularly true.  There are a lot of issues that can cause you to feel sleepy despite getting what you think is a full night’s sleep.  One that comes to mind is obstructive sleep apnea, which causes you to stop breathing intermittently throughout the night.  You may not even realize it’s happening, but it disrupts your sleep patterns and leads to you not getting the rest you need.  It can also be very dangerous to your health and should be treated.  There are other REM sleep disorders that can cause issues like this as well.  So, again, Michele and Scarlett, please get checked out by your respective doctors.

In the absence of a physical problem, there are some other possibilities to investigate.  Check the following items related to your sleep environment:

  • Is your bedroom the right temperature?  The best air temperature for sleep is between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.  If it’s any colder or warmer, your sleep will be disrupted.
  • Make sure it’s not too noisy in your bedroom.  Outside noises can cause small disruptions in your sleep throughout the night.  A white noise machine can help drown these out.  And, if you sleep with the television on, try doing without it and see if that makes a difference.
  • If it’s too light in your room, try purchasing room-darkening blinds or wear a blindfold.

One other thing to look into is your bedding.  If your pillow or mattress are too hard or too soft, they can lead to a poor night’s sleep.  If your pillow is more than 18 months old, purchase a new one.  If your mattress is less than perfect, one option that’s cheaper than buying a new one is to get a high quality mattress topper.  Check out recommended products from SleepBetter here.