5 reasons you feel tired all the time & what to do


We’ve all felt tired at some point in our lives, and quite often it will pass. However, if you find you are constantly feeling tired, it might be time to look at the reasons why.

Whether it’s stress and pressures of modern life, or a medical condition, here are some reasons you may feel tired and what to do about it.

You’re not getting enough sleep

This might seem obvious, but the most common reason for feeling tired is simply not getting enough quality sleep. One in every three people in the UK are now living with sleep issues such as disturbed sleep or insomnia.

Many of these sleep issues can be short term, due to stress, illness or environmental and lifestyle factors, but some can escalate into chronic, long term issues.

What to do:

To help you relax before bed, try a digital detox where you turn off all electrical items and try winding down with a nice warm bath or reading a book.

Removing all clutter and distractions from your bedroom and keeping a bedtime routine such as eating, closing the curtains and going to bed the same time every night can also help regulate your circadian rhythm, meaning more quality sleep and less feeling tired.

Diet & vitamin deficiencies

Do you tend to eat convenient ready meals and unhealthy snacks or skip meals altogether? A healthy diet plays a key part in your body’s energy levels, so it’s important to fuel it with the right elements.

Feeling tired all day can also be a sign of vitamin deficiency, especially in vitamin D, B-12, iron and magnesium.

What to do:

Eating plenty of fruit, vegetables and healthy sources of protein such as chicken, eggs and nuts and making sure you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner will help regulate your blood sugar levels and keep you energised all day.

Visit your doctor who can help recommend supplements and take blood tests to see if you are deficient in any vitamins. Your GP can also help suggest what food to eat to help reverse deficient naturally.

Stress

A little stress is good for us, as it can make us more alert and help us perform better in situations like important meetings, interviews and big life events. Stress, however, should be short-lived. That’s because when we’re under stress, our bodies go into fight-or-flight mode, which increases cortisol and adrenaline. If we’re constantly stressed, this can really take a toll on our bodies, leaving us feeling mentally and physically exhausted.

What to do:

Try exploring your stress triggers – what is causing your stress? Learn to say no to things that add increasing pressure to your life. Keeping a diary can really help you track this and practicing deep breathing can help you stay calm in situations that are stressful as and when they occur.

Read more about what causes stress and how to handle it

Lack of activity

For some, especially those with chronic conditions, staying active can be difficult. However, a sedentary lifestyle can cause fatigue and make you feel constantly tired.

What to do:

Although when you’re tired and the last thing you want to do when you feel tired is move, it’s actually the best thing for you.

The NHS recommends individuals between 19-64 should:

  • Aim to be physically active every day in one way or another
  • Attempt strengthening activities that works major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) at least 2 days a week
  • Do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity a week
  • Reduce your time spent lying down and break up long periods of inactivity

You have a medical condition

If you’ve tried all of the above and you still feel tired, then you might have one of the following medical conditions:

Anaemia – the most common iron deficiency where your muscles feel heavy and you feel really tired performing simple tasks

Chronic fatigue syndrome – also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME where you feel a severe and disabling fatigue

Diabetes – one of the main symptoms of diabetes type 1 and type 2 is feeling really tired

Anxiety – feeling anxious is part of life, but some people suffer with chronic anxiety, which can also affect your sleep

Depression – depression can make you feel really drained but also cause sleep issues, which means you wake up throughout the night and earlier but feel tired throughout the day

Coeliac disease – a lifelong disease caused by your immune system when your system reacts to gluten

Sleep apnoea – a condition where your throat closes during sleep, which interrupts your breathing and sleeping

Underactive thyroid – when you have too little thyroid hormone in your body, which makes you feel really tired

Glandular fever – a common viral infection that causes fatigue, a sore throat and swollen glands

What to do:

Always speak to your GP to get the right advice and guidance for you to help you feel less tired.

Need extra support?

We offer a free Sleep support programme and a well-being support programme, which have been written by experts and both offer support and guidance to help you with a range of health issues, such as how to get a better night’s sleep.

Information contained in this Articles page has been written by talkhealth based on available medical evidence. The content however should never be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine. talkhealth does not endorse any specific products, brands or treatments.

Information written by the talkhealth team

Last revised: 28 November 2019
Next review: 28 November 2022