When you are feeling fatigued even when you get enough sleep, this could be a sign of a medical condition.
Why You’re tired all the time (and what you can do about it)
Life can feel like a juggling act. You try to balance work with other commitments. Paying bills, taking care of your house or car, feeding yourself and your family. It’s no wonder why half of the sleep surveys done last year said they feel tired almost daily.
Busy lives can wipe the energy right out of you. But what if you are sleeping okay and you’re still struggling during the day, unable to muster the energy to do what you want and need to do?
To answer that question, it’s important to differentiate sleepiness from tiredness. When a person becomes sleepy, his body functions slow down. It’s not only his physical activities that slow down but also his mental activities. The parts of his body become relaxed until he falls asleep and rests. When a person is tired when he has used up his energy and strength. Tired people become impatient, bored, and lose interest in the task that he is doing. This might be due to both physical and psychological factors.
Knowing the difference can help you pinpoint the cause and have a more productive conversation with your doctor.
The Sleep Foundation advises that healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Babies, young children, and teens need even more sleep to enable their growth and development. People over 65 should also get 7 to 8 hours per night.
Knowing the general recommendations for how much sleep you need is the first step. Then it’s important to reflect on your individual needs based on factors like your activity level and overall health.
Recommended sleep times by age group
How much sleep do you need?
These guidelines serve as a rule of thumb for how much sleep children and adults need while acknowledging that the ideal amount of sleep can vary from person to person.
For that reason, the guidelines list a range of hours for each age group. The recommendations also acknowledge that, for some people with unique circumstances, there’s some wiggle room on either side of the range for an “acceptable,” though still not optimal, amount of sleep.
Deciding how much sleep you need means considering your overall health, daily activities, and typical sleep patterns. Some questions that you help assess your individual sleep needs include:
- Are you productive, healthy, and happy on seven hours of sleep? Or have you noticed that you require more hours of sleep to get into high gear?
- Do you have coexisting health issues? Are you at higher risk for any disease?
- Do you have a high level of daily energy expenditure? Do you frequently play sports or work in a labor-intensive job?
- Do your daily activities require alertness to do them safely? Do you drive every day and/or operate heavy machinery? Do you ever feel sleepy when doing these activities?
- Are you experiencing or do you have a history of sleeping problems?
- Do you depend on caffeine to get you through the day?
- When you have an open schedule, do you sleep more than you do on a typical workday?
Start with the above-mentioned recommendations and then use your answers to these questions to dial in on your optimal amount of sleep.
Improve your sleep today!
Once you have a nightly goal based on the hours of sleep that you need, it’s time to start planning how to make that a reality.
Start by making sleep a priority. This means budgeting for the hours you need so that work or social activities don’t trade off with sleep. While cutting sleep short may be tempting in the moment, it doesn’t pay off because sleep is essential to be at your best both mentally and physically.
Improving your sleep routine and your bedroom setting including related habits, is an established way to get better sleep.
Examples to improve your sleep routine:
- Stick to the same sleep schedule every day, even on weekends.
- Practice a relaxing pre-bed routine to help make it easier to fall asleep quickly
- Choose a mattress that is supportive and comfortable, and dress it with the best pillows and bedding.
- Minimizing potential sleep disruptions from light and sound. (try using black-out curtains or a sleep mask.) while optimizing your bedroom temperature and aroma (soothing, relaxing smells from essential oils, etc.)
- Disconnect from electronic devices like mobile phones/tablets, and laptops for a half-hour or more before bed.
- Carefully monitor your intake of caffeine and alcohol and try to avoid consuming them in the hours before bed.
If you’re a parent, many of the same tips apply to help children and teens get the recommended amount of sleep that they need for kids their age. Pointers for parents can help with teens, specifically, those who face a number of unique sleep challenges.
Getting more sleep is a key part of the equation, but remember that it’s not just about sleep quantity. Quality sleep matters too, and it’s possible to get the hours that you need but not feel refreshed because your sleep is fragmented or non-restorative. Fortunately, improving sleep hygiene often boosts both the quantity and quality of your sleep.
If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms such as significant sleepiness during the day, chronic snoring, leg cramps or tingling, difficulty breathing during sleep, chronic insomnia, or another symptom that is preventing you from sleeping well, you should consult your primary care doctor or find a sleep professional to determine the underlying cause. I hope this information reaches someone having difficulty sleeping or knows someone that is having difficulty so that healthier sleep can become everyday sleep that powers the mind, restores the body, and fortifies virtually every system in the body.