You might wake up on Monday morning ready to take on the day. Or maybe you, like many people, make a beeline for the coffee maker after hitting the snooze alarm twice.
For most people, waking up exhausted means you’re not getting enough sleep. However, it could also mean that something is disturbing your sleep — that is, besides getting used to Daylight Savings Time.
Many Americans suffer from chronic sleep deprivation. To be fully rested, adults need at least seven hours of sleep, but some people may need as many as 10. If you’re always feeling tired, even after getting enough sleep, there may be a deeper problem.
Here are four reasons you may feel tired every day:
Stress is probably the most common reason for fatigue and drowsiness. Whether it’s residual stress from the day or worrying about tomorrow, your stress level won’t let your body fall into deep sleep. If this goes unchecked, you can fall into a vicious cycle of stress and sleep deprivation.
If your stress levels are high throughout the day, it’s likely that they’re carrying through to your sleep. Try lowering your stress levels with activities like exercise and yoga. Twenty to 30 minutes of exercise every day can help reduce your stress levels noticeably.
Feeling tired when you wake up is one thing. But if you feel tired throughout your entire day, it could be caused by anemia.
Anemia is a blood disorder where you don’t have enough red blood cells. Red blood cells distribute oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. When you don’t have enough of them, you’ll get tired easily.
Iron and vitamin B deficiencies are usually the main causes of anemia, but other conditions such as kidney disease and slow, unnoticed blood loss can also cause anemia.
If you notice that you’re constantly tired throughout the day, talk to your doctor. If it’s found that you have anemia, after a few tests, it is easily treatable with medications or even diet changes.
When it comes to sleep, both quantity and quality matter. If you’re waking up constantly throughout the night, you will inevitably feel tired the next day.
Sleep apnea is a condition where you stop breathing in your sleep. When you stop breathing, your body wakes up briefly.
The most common cause of sleep apnea is being overweight or obese; extra weight is associated with excess tissue or an oversized tongue, which can obstruct the airway. Sleep apnea can also be the result of drinking alcohol or using drugs. Often, sleep apnea also causes snoring.
To diagnose sleep apnea, your doctor will do a sleep study. During a sleep study, doctors record how much you sleep and how many times you wake up. If they find that you do have sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend treatment options like exercises or a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. A CPAP machine keeps pressure on your airway while you sleep. This stops your tongue and throat from obstructing your airway.
Thyroid diseases like hyperthyroidism can make it hard to sleep. Hyperthyroidism is when your thyroid is overactive and produces too much thyroid hormone. This overstimulates the nervous system, resulting in restlessness, night sweats and waking up in the middle of the night.
Your doctor will likely diagnose a thyroid disorder during a physical or routine blood work. If your thyroid is swollen or has growths on it, your doctor will be able to feel it. However, blood tests are the only way to truly diagnose a thyroid disorder.
In all cases, if you find you’re getting enough sleep and still feeling tired, talk to your doctor.
Dr. Alfred Casale, a cardiothoracic surgeon, is Associate Chief Medical Officer for Geisinger Health and Chair of the Geisinger Cardiac Institute. Readers may write to him via [email protected]