Why am I so tired?

Throughout most of my adult life, I have been a very sleepy person. Classroom situations, after work, even behind the wheel, I have been known to drift off quite regularly. I am often totally exhausted after work and feel like my whole body is made of lead. But I’m not in terrible shape or anything. I go to the gym on a semi-regular basis. I’m not particularly overweight or anything like that. So what gives?


I get about 6 1/2 hours of sleep a night, on average. If I sleep more than that, I tend to be just as tired the next day, if not moreso.

I do not have a thyroid condition.

Sometimes when I exercise I feel invigorated, other times I practically croak.

I may have a little depression, but this sleepiness thing has been going on for decades. And that wouldn’t really explain why I get dog tired after exercise and whatnot.

Not sure what else is germane. I have had a physical within the last four months, and, aside from a little high cholesterol, it was fine.
Anybody want to shed some light? Make a few WAGs?

I do plan to continue to badger my doctor about this, so don’t worry that I’m relying exclusively on the SDMB for my medical needs.

Height and weight currently? Also, Male or Female?

Just starters for questions…

It sounds like you’re just not getting the benefeit from sleep that you should. Perhaps you have some form of sleep apnea. I recommend having a sleep study done.

Here’s what WebMD has to say about being tired after exercise.

here’s my WAG;
Talk to your doc about having your testosterone checked (if you are male) also allergies can have this effect…
good luck

Male 5’11" 180 lbs

I do snore a bit, but I apparently don’t have a significant physical abnormality that would cause apnea (i.e. it’s supposedly not bad enough to require a “procedure”, says the otolaryngologist(sp?)).

No sleep study yet though.

Hyperactive thyroid, perhaps? My wife’s thyroid got hyper when she was pregnant, and it wore her down even more than usual. She also had to be on medication to regulate her thyroid level so the hyperactivity wouldn’t affect the fetus.

As you get older, you need more sleep. Stop aging, and you’ll be okay. 6 1/2 hours is not enough sleep for a normal adult. IIRC, studies in which a person was deprived of time indicators (daylight, clocks, etc.) eventually, after some initial variations, would settle to a normal pattern of slighlty more than 8 hours of sleep for every 24 hours. Stop reading message boards, the monitors tend to tire the eyes.

I find one of the biggest factors affecting my tiredness etc is diet. Too much junk food etc might give me an initial hit, but would get very down several hours later.

Just my tuppence’oth, and IANAD, but I find the same thing about feeling tired after lots of sleep - unless I persist. As in, try 9 hours per night over the course of an entire week. Avoid alcohol while doing this, and I’d be willing to guess you’d feel a lot more sprightly by the end of the week.

I’ve heard of those studies. Most study participants would, as you said, eventually settle to a pattern of about eight hours sleep per 24 hour period. But I seem to remember that for a lot of people, a natural sleep-wake cycle was actually a bit longer then 24 hours; it was often 24 1/2 or 25 hours. Which might tend to explain why it’s hard for people to get enough sleep. I’d suspect that the small discrepency between their natural cycle and the real day results, for many, in getting just that much less sleep then they need.

The other thing I remember hearing or reading about those studies was that they found that a small minority of participants had a natural sleep-wake cycle that was hours longer then this planet’s 24 hour day. I think I’m one of those people. We’re probably decended from aliens from a planet with a much longer day. :wink: I think if I could sleep as long as I needed to, then stay up untill I was actually ready for more sleep, the cycle would probably be closer to 30 hours then 24: ten hours sleep/20 hours awake. My fantasy is to live in an orbital habitat with a 30 hour day.

I’d like to second scm1001’s observation about diet.

Perhaps you’re not eating enough, or not eating the right foods. Maybe you need more protein or carbs because you’re not fueling yourself enough.

Of course, I can’t tell you that, but I’d suggest you also evaluate your diet and make sure you’re eating a wide variety of foods in amounts that are neither excessive nor restrictive.

It’s also the easiest to fix and doesn’t require a trip to the MD.