Tired? It May Not Be From a Lack of Sleep

sleeping studentSometimes, I find myself lacking energy in a big way. Walking into the kitchen to get a glass of water becomes a huge chore, and I feel physically and mentally weak. I’m sluggish and it’s just not fun.

Usually, when I feel tired, it’s not because of a lack of sleep. Sure, I have insomnia some nights, but generally I get at least 6 hours of shut eye every night, and stick to my routine quite religiously. Most people assume that exhaustion is about lacking sleep, or at least deep sleep, and try to battle it by getting more sleep, which can actually be counterproductive and is often not addressing the issue. There are several reasons why you may be exhausted that may not be linked to your sleeping patterns.


When you are stressed, you may sleep quite well due to physical exhaustion, but you will likely wake up after what was supposed to be a long, refreshing deep sleep still tired.

Stress can mess with your hormones and with your brain, causing exhaustion regardless of how much sleep you are getting.

Over Caffeination

Believe it or not, caffeine can very much effect how much energy we have, but in the opposite way than you’d expect. Caffeine can spike your energy in small doses, but it also has the ability to make your energy levels crash and stay there if you over-do it. One or two servings of a caffeinated beverage per day should be more than enough to keep you energetic.

Diet or Nutrient Deficiencies

There are a few different nutrients that you can be lacking which will make you feel sluggish and exhausted. Women tend to feel this way when they need to add more iron back into their diets. Most people will feel burnt out if they aren’t eating enough protein, because that is what gives you energy and keeps you full throughout the day.

Believe it or not, but being dehydrated will also wear you out. It’s important to drink enough water to keep your energy levels up.


I remember moving to the town I live in now from about 5 hours away, and the climate was vastly different (it happens in BC). I all of a sudden had onset allergies to the environment, particularly in the earlier months of spring.

I was tired all the time, my eyes were swollen, my ears were sore, and I was getting big headaches. At first I thought it was the flu, because of my exhaustion, but when I went to the doctor I was told that I had a common hay fever. She prescribed me some allergy medication and sure enough, as I took the medication, I got my energy levels back.

Over Sleeping

Unfortunately for all of those weekend sleep warriors, you aren’t catching up on your sleep when you sleep in, sometimes you are over sleeping. Our bodies don’t work in a way where you can sleep little during the week and make up for it on the weekend; in fact, it’s better for you to have the same schedule day in and day out whether or not that’s sleep deprivation.

Oversleeping can be very damaging to our energy levels and our hormones, as well.


Notice how your teenager never wants to get up? (S)he is always tired, always yawning, telling you they are too tired to do chores or pick up their room or play a sport? Well, there is merit to that. Their hormones are going nuts, and unfortunately that really effects their energy levels.

It’s not just teenagers that have hormones, though, we all do. Depending on what stage in your life you are at, hormones can make you feel exhausted.

Next time you feel tired and run down, consider that sleep may not be the problem and look at your other options.


Tired? It May Not Be From a Lack of Sleep — 22 Comments

  1. Thanks for the health tips! I over caffeinated once and I didn’t realized just how it was for my health till I began to feel very tired, but not sleepy. I decreased my intake and it eventually make me feel a lot better. I still drink coffee, but I limit my intake and if ever I feel the need to go beyond that, I go for the decaffeinated ones.

  2. Great tips. I think lack of sleep may be the reason for me with the newborn, but he’s getting better. I used to be tired even before the baby so I shouldn’t blame him. I definitely think other factors are involved such as diet and hormones. I really think that I need to exercise more to boost my energy.

  3. dont forget that one of the major causes of lethargy is through being dehydrated.
    Its amazing how many people dont drink enough water, get dehydrated and blame the symptoms on something else

    • Dehydration can be reason sometimes, no doubt. Water is so important, yet too many people don’t drink enough or drink other beverages that won’t quite help. I generally drink a full glass of water soon after waking up each day, and it’s interesting how that can get a person awake and moving quickly.

    • Definitely, I mentioned it under “diet and nutrition deficiencies” because it’s so true. It can really drag somebody down.

    • Meditation will help, and exercise will help with stress too. Being stressed is a cause of a lot of negative reactions to your body.

  4. That’s what I also notice, I tend to be more energetic when I get less sleep than when I oversleep.. I also try to get at least 6 hours per night, but mostly internet makes me stay up late, so late that I only get 3 or 4 hours left to sleep. And yeah, coffee.. the stronger the coffee I consume, actually gives me higher chance of slacking after a few hours, plus, my heart! haha not good. :
    So I try to maintain my coffee upto to 2 cups/day.

    • That stupid internet, always making people stay up late! Hehe. I know what you mean, I have a hard time limiting my coffee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I appreciate your readership and really enjoy hearing your thoughts on different topics. Thank you for contributing to the discussion.