What to Do If You Feel Tired All the Time

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Everyone goes through periods of occasional sleepiness and low energy. However, it is not normal to feel tired all the time. If you feel tired all the time, it is crucial to find the cause and find solutions.

If you’re not finding relief through sleep or rest, it’s time to address why you’re experiencing excessive tiredness. It might be related to a medical issue or a mental health condition like depression.

Fatigue, sleepiness, and feeling tired all the time are common when dealing with depression. “Depression itself can cause fatigue, apathy, and listlessness due to the nature of the disease,” said Leela R. Magavi, MD, a psychiatrist and regional medical director for Community Psychiatry

Signs of depression related to fatigue include:

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Trouble staying asleep
  • Difficulty waking in the morning
  • Sleeping too long

Once you’re up and moving, you may also feel sluggish and unmotivated throughout the day. If your days and nights include more periods of restlessness and sleepiness than bouts of energy, it’s time to make some small changes. These nine strategies can help boost your energy so that you can feel better. 

Figure Out Why You're Tired All the Time

If extreme tiredness is getting in the way of your daily routine, you should first see your doctor. They can rule out health-related conditions that can cause you to feel tired all the time such as:

  • Anemia
  • Certain medications
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Eating disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Heart disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Sleep apnea or other sleep disorders

They can also help assess if there might be other factors causing you to feel tired such as:

  • Excessive caffeine intake
  • Mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Stress

Your doctor can recommend treatments, suggest lifestyle modifications, or refer you to a mental health professional. 

Set Realistic Goals

Taking on a goal that is too complex or requires too many steps can feel overwhelming, especially when you are feeling tired. To help with small steps, Magavi recommends scheduling an achievable exercise and mindfulness goal for each day. That’s because scheduling in advance and creating routines transform healthy behaviors into positive habits.

This could be as simple as a mindful walk on a busy day that only takes 15 to 20 minutes. But make sure it is something you will enjoy doing. “It’s important to individualize the activity to avoid overexertion or demoralization,” Magavi said. 

Keep Track of What Affects Energy Levels

Tracking your daily activity and energy levels may help you spot patterns and habits that could be making you feel tired all the time. For example, you might note that you have more energy on days when you participate in specific activities. Or you may notice that certain actions—like staying up late or having a glass of wine after dinner—leave you feeling fatigued the next day.

Tracking your activities can also help you to feel more motivated and energetic by helping you recognize your successes.

At the end of the day, Magavi recommends journaling successes and reviewing these frequently to help gain further motivation for the remainder of the week. “Each success releases neurochemicals such as dopamine, which positively reinforce healthy behavior,” she said.

For example, if you write down a goal to walk for 20 minutes and cross this out when completed, this will release some positive neurochemicals. “The next day, if demotivation strikes, it is helpful to think about the success from the prior day and attempt to repeat it again,” she adds. 

Move Your Body to Fight Tiredness

Physical inactivity can sometimes be a factor in why you feel tired all the time. Participating in exercise and physical activities you enjoy can help boost your mood and your energy levels.

That said, finding the motivation to move your body when you feel tired can be challenging. Research has shown that feelings of fatigue are linked to decreased physical activity. The first step is to find one thing you like that requires you to move. Then, set a goal to do this once daily—even if it is for 10 minutes. 

Find Support

If you struggle with self-motivation, Magavi says accountability is critical. If this sounds familiar, calling a friend and scheduling a time to exercise each day could prove beneficial.

Some excellent ways to incorporate exercise into your day and help boost your energy include:

  • Cycling
  • Playing a recreational sport like golf or tennis
  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Working in the yard
  • Yoga

Not sure where to start? Magavi recommends a routine of deep, diaphragmatic breathing coupled with Pilates, squats, walking, or running, which helps you concurrently engage in mindfulness and exercise.

Practice Mindfulness Meditation

The main types of fatigue are physical and mental. Physical fatigue stems from strenuous activity, while mental fatigue stems from your brain becoming overstimulated or overworked. Research suggests that mindfulness meditation is one useful tool that can help reduce feelings of mental fatigue.

Mindfulness meditation, relaxation, and breathing exercises can help calm your mind and body, which may allow you to feel more energetic. It only takes a few minutes each day to feel a difference. Use this time to be aware of what’s going on in your mind and body.

Start with five minutes a day and work your way up to mindful moments several times a day. To help you get started, listen to a guided meditation or recorded breathing exercises. Once you feel comfortable with the practice, you will have more focus and awareness throughout the day. 

Focus on Fresh Air and Light

Lack of sufficient sunlight is associated with increased illness, symptoms of depression, and feelings of fatigue. If you are always tired, increasing your daily sun exposure might be beneficial.

Brightening your environment with light can do wonders for your mood and energy. Open all the blinds in your house. Get outdoors and take a walk. If the weather is not cooperating or you are unable to leave the house, sit by a window while reading or working on a computer.

Always practice safe sun exposure. Wear sunscreen or UV-blocking clothing. Researchers suggest increased exposure to sunlight incrementally between 5 and 30 minutes per day, depending on skin type, UV index, and individual tolerance.

You may also want to consider purchasing a light box (10,000 lux), which allows you to do light therapy. This is one of the treatment modalities for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). A doctor or mental health expert can recommend an individualized treatment plan to follow while using light therapy.

To treat SAD with light therapy, the National Institute of Mental Health recommends sitting in front of a light box for 30 to 45 minutes, first thing in the morning. Most people use a light box from fall to spring.

Adjust Your Expectations

Expecting to jump out of bed each morning full of energy may cause you to feel more stress and anxiety. Instead of expecting perfection, understand that some days may be easier than others. If you can bring your expectations down just a bit, you may experience more success.

To do this, choose one small thing you can do today that can help boost your energy. For example, you might:

  • Walk up and down the driveway,
  • Do 10 minutes of restorative yoga
  • Listen to a 10-minute guided meditation
  • Go outside and breathe in fresh air

Make sure to write down your goal and check it off once you accomplish it.

If you are having difficulties waking up and getting out of bed, in addition to having a plan, you can start your day with a few minutes of breathing exercises to help set the tone of the day, especially if you are waking up feeling stressed or anxious.

Troubleshoot Your Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene is the term used to describe healthy sleep habits or behaviors you can practice that may help improve your ability to fall asleep and remain sleeping through the night. Following good sleep hygiene can improve the quality and quantity of sleep you get each night. It also plays a significant role in your physical and mental health.

To help improve your sleep hygiene:

  • Make sure to follow a nightly routine that allows time for relaxing activities.
  • Find ways to unwind before bed may allow you to quiet your mind, relax your body, and get a better night of sleep.
  • Aim to get up and go to bed around the same time each day.
  • Limit or eliminate electronics in the evening hours and shut down all screens at least 60 minutes before bed. 

Talk to a Mental Health Professional 

Feeling tired all the time can be a sign of a mental health issue like depression. Being tired doesn't necessarily mean that you are depressed, but it can be a cause for concern if you also experience other symptoms, such as feelings of sadness, loss of interest, irritability, and low energy that last two weeks or longer.

If your sleepiness becomes excessive and difficult to manage, ask your doctor for a referral to a mental health professional. Talking with a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist who can treat the underlying issue may help you feel better. They can also work with you to develop strategies to boost your energy. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

A Word From Verywell

Dealing with fatigue and excessive sleepiness can interfere with your daily routine. Making changes to your sleep hygiene, moving your body more, practicing mindfulness, and getting outdoors can all help with energy levels. However, if these strategies are not working or you’re continuing to feel tired all the time, seek professional help. 

5 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Cao S, Geok SK, Roslan S, et al. Mindfulness-based interventions for the recovery of mental fatigue: A systematic reviewInt J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19(13):7825. doi:10.3390/ijerph19137825

  3. Alfredsson L, Armstrong BK, Butterfield DA, et al. Insufficient sun exposure has become a real public health problemInt J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(14):5014. doi:10.3390/ijerph17145014

  4. National Institute of Mental Health. Seasonal Affective Disorder.

  5. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Healthy sleep habits.

By Sara Lindberg, M.Ed
Sara Lindberg, M.Ed., is a freelance writer focusing on mental health, fitness, nutrition, and parenting.