Always Sleepy No Matter How Much Sleep I Get
Are you struggling to stay awake at work and run your daily errands, and you don't know why? Is it because of sleep apnea, or could another medical condition be the primary culprit? Is shoulder pain from sleeping on your side causing you sleepless nights? Sometimes, the cause of tiredness isn't easy to figure out, especially if you went to bed early and had a relaxing sleep.
Being constantly sleepy and tired isn't normal. Your body could be raising red flags about a more serious condition. Sleeping with broken ribs, for instance, can lead to sleep deprivation as you experience aches and pains during the night. If not looked into, this can affect your overall performance and well-being in general. Fortunately, there are plenty of explanations for why this is happening and, most importantly, countless viable fixes.
If you often wake up feeling tired every time your alarm goes off, here's all you need to know about what could be the problem and how you can maintain high sleep quality.
So, Why Am I Always Sleepy No Matter How Much Sleep I Get?
Everyone deserves to have a good night's rest and wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Unfortunately, this isn't realistic for those who feel sleepy all the time. While there are countless quality mattresses in the industry that can guarantee a quality sleep, you might still wake up feeling tired even if you always sleep on a hybrid and luxurious mattress.
It can be frustrating, especially to people who experience low energy levels and tiredness daily, even after going to bed at a reasonable time and trying to sleep a full night. So, what might be causing you trouble?
The first thing to consider is the amount of time you spend sleeping each night. Generally, the National Sleep Foundation advises that we sleep for about 7-9 hours every night. Aside from time, the quality of your sleep also matters.
But what does quality sleep exactly mean? Well, this simply refers to how well you've slept: Did you have an easy time falling asleep? Was your sleep interrupted during the night? Did you wake up in the morning in a natural way? These and many more factors can affect your sleep quality and, therefore, how tired and sleepy you feel the next day.
For instance, if you spend most of your nighttime in a lighter, non-REM stage of sleep, your body won't get the deep sleep it requires to reenergize itself for the next day. So, you'll still feel sluggish the following day, even after having a full night of sleep.
Sleep issues can also be caused by over-reliance on sleep medicine, such as synthetic pills and even natural alternatives like melatonin. Although natural remedies are somehow safer and come with fewer side effects, depending on any sleep medication can mask underlying problems.
You can consider investing in a sleep tracker to help you understand your sleep patterns better. This device can help you comprehend things like;
- Amount of time spent before you fall asleep
- Amount of time spent in REM sleep and deep sleep
- The rate at which your sleep was disrupted
By using this data, you'll be able to know how much quality sleep you're receiving and whether it's time to make some lifestyle changes.
You Might Be Getting Too Much Sleep
Yes, you read that right. Sleeping too much can leave you feeling just as tired as having too little. While you can sleep as much as you want, the quantity of time spent snoozing isn't a reflection of the sleep quality you're experiencing.
What's more, sleep studies have shown that when adults sleep for long hours, they tend to experience high levels of fatigue, irritability, and lethargy. Try to maintain a regular sleep pattern that allows you to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. And although it's a bit tempting, try not to break your sleep routine over the weekend or during your off days.
Sleep Disorders and Persistent Tiredness
Do sleepless nights make you feel like you want to return your mattress? Well, sometimes, returning an underperforming mattress for a new one doesn't help improve your sleep quality. You might be suffering from a sleep condition which can't be resolved even if you keep on changing your mattress.
Sleep disorders are conditions that disrupt restorative sleep. They can negatively affect your quality of life and health, so it's vital to watch out for their signs and symptoms. If you always wonder why you're tired all the time, it's time to look at additional causes of your sleepiness that might be beyond your control.
Here are some of the sleep disorders that may be contributing to chronic tiredness.
This is one of the most common sleep disorders that cause chronic sleepiness. It's a serious medical condition that occurs when your breathing is interrupted during sleep. Specifically, obstructive sleep apnea happens when your throat muscles periodically relax, blocking your airway during sleep.
The main symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness. This sleep disorder is also a common reason why most people who maintain a healthy sleep routine still feel sleepy the following day. If not treated, sleep apnea can lead to various health issues such as diabetes, heart attack, hypertension, heart failure, and stroke. It can also cause underachievement in school in kids and job impairment, and work-related accidents in adults.
One beneficial solution for this condition is a treatment known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure ( CPAP). It simply involves wearing a nasal or face mask that provides a consistent airflow stream to your nasal passages. This is an effective non-invasive treatment method that can help you improve your sleep quality. Meanwhile, the common medical recommendation for patients with sleep apnea is to work out and engage in activities that promote weight loss.
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the regulation of sleep and wakefulness. This sleep disorder is related to the dreaming phase of sleep, known as rapid eye movement sleep. It usually starts between the age of 15-25, though it can become apparent at any stage of life.
Patients with narcolepsy experience overwhelming daytime drowsiness and intermittent, uncontrollable attacks of sleep during the day. These sudden episodes of falling asleep occur at any time of the day during any activity.
Sometimes, narcolepsy comes with cataplexy (a sudden loss of muscle tone), which might be prompted by strong emotions. This can either be a total body collapse or a slight feeling of weakness and last up to one minute.
During sleep, this condition may cause insomnia, hallucinations, temporary paralysis, and vivid dreams. Paralysis and hallucinations may both occur as you fall asleep or during the process of waking up.
Although narcolepsy has no cure, lifestyle changes and medications can help you manage its symptoms. Support from others, especially friends and family, is also vital in coping with this chronic condition.
If you always stick to healthy sleep habits, but you're often tired and sleepy, irrespective of how much sleep time you get, you may have hypersomnia. Also known as excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), this chronic condition can make you tired even after long stretches of sleep.
Hypersomnia can either be primary or secondary. Primary hypersomnia comes with no other medical condition. You'll only experience excessive fatigue. It's thought to occur due to problems in your brain systems that regulate sleep and waking functions.
Secondary hypersomnia, on the other hand, is the result of other medical conditions, especially those that cause insufficient sleep or fatigue. For instance, sleep apnea can lead to hypersomnia as it interrupts breathing, giving you sleepless nights.
Hypersomnia can also be caused by frequent alcohol and drug use, which can trigger sleepiness and tiredness during the night. Other causes include head injury, low thyroid function, kidney failure, and Parkinson's disease
Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sleep dysfunction that causes an intense and uncontrollable urge to move the legs. Also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, this condition can be experienced by people of all ages and backgrounds and worsens as you age. It's characterized by uncomfortable sensations in the feet, calves, and thighs, which can be triggered by resting, such as when you're lying down in bed or sitting for prolonged periods. Occasionally, your arms are affected, too.
This unpleasant crawling sensation often occurs in the evening and worsens at night, making you have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Restless legs syndrome can also be associated with periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMS), a condition that involves involuntary jerking of your legs and arms. Often, people suffering from RLS want to shake their legs and move around to ease the unpleasant feeling.
Some patients have these symptoms occasionally, while others experience them every day. RSL symptoms can alternate from mild to severe. Severe cases of restless legs syndrome can be distressing and disrupt your daily activities. Mild cases that aren't connected to any underlying medical condition may not need any treatment other than making some lifestyle changes. These include following a regular sleep time ritual, avoiding alcohol late at night, and exercising regularly during the day.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Also known as Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a long-term condition with an extensive variety of symptoms. It's often associated with persistent daytime sleepiness that doesn't go away with rest.
Besides causing fatigue, it leads to frequent headaches, memory loss, unexplained muscle pain, and sore throat. Other symptoms include;
- Severe mental and physical exhaustion
- Post-exertional malaise
- Widespread joint pain
CFS can affect anyone, though it's common in women and often occurs between the ages of 20 and 40. It can be aggravated by intellectual stimulation and intense physical activity. Although this condition isn't related to any other health condition, it can be actuated by certain factors.
These include psychological stress and viral infection like Epstein-Barr virus herpes. It's also linked to autoimmune disorders and immune system problems.
Because no single cause of CFS is yet to be identified, diagnosing it can be quite challenging. However, despite its setbacks, working with a physical therapist can help you take back control of your sleep life. Plus, a therapist can help you minimize your hypersensitivity to exercise and gradually start assisting you to get active. This can stimulate blood flow, thus boosting endorphins and supporting higher energy levels.
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Improving Your Sleep Hygiene
Not getting enough quality sleep is often a result of having poor sleep hygiene. For instance, most people have a hard time maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, thus making it difficult for their bodies to adjust accordingly during the day. Remember, going through a mattress buying guide isn't the only surefire way of getting enough sleep. You also need to change your sleep hygiene. Many factors can influence your sleep quality, but most of it all comes down to what you do before and after getting in bed.
Things like exercising too late in the evening, drinking alcohol during the night, using your smartphone while in bed, and using your bedroom for work are some of the things that you need to address. You can improve your sleep hygiene through consistency: going to bed and setting your alarm clock at the same time each night and morning.
This can get your internal clock (circadian rhythm) back on track. What's more, such consistency around sleep is an ideal way of training your body when to get tired and when to wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Staying away from electronics before bed is another way of preparing your body for sleep.
The type of environment you're resting in also really matters - is it clustered, or is it a restful one? You might have to make some few changes to create a conducive sleep environment.
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Mental Health Management
It would help if you also considered your mental health when you always wake up feeling exhausted. Stress and anxiety are the two common, but often overlooked causes of fatigue. Stress can elevate your cortisol levels, which in turn disrupts your body's ability to maintain high sleep quality.
Sleep studies suggest that reducing your body's cortisol levels and stabilizing your HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis can significantly reduce sleep disturbances, thus improving your sleep quality. The HPA axis is your body's system for regulation that helps keep you safe in regards to constantly changing environments.
That's why it can put your body in flight or fight mode, causing anxiety and stress. By taking care of your mental health, you'll be able to keep your HPA in check and control cortisol levels, preventing you from having a bad night's sleep. Effective regular stress management practices, such as yoga, physical activity, meditation, and creative expression, are all perfect ways of improving your well-being, calming your nervous system, and getting back to sleeping soundly.