Why do I feel tired all the time?
There’s often an explanation for why a person feels tired a lot of the time
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
Everyone goes through times when they feel tired. This could be because you're busy at work, have a lot of school or college work to do, or there could be a lot going on in your life. Sometimes, it could be caused by poor sleep habits, but other times you could feel tired a lot even when you are managing to get to sleep at night.
Tiredness becomes a problem when it goes on for more than a few weeks, persists throughout the day, and limits your activities.
9 reasons why you might feel tired all the time
Below are some of the common reasons why you might feel tired all the time. In order to find out why you're feeling like this, it's a good idea to speak to a doctor.
Anaemia is the technical term for not having enough red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen around the body, so if you don’t have enough of these you may feel tired. There are a few causes of anaemia, but the most common causes include:
- Low iron
- Low folic acid
- Low B12
If you don’t have enough of these key nutrients your red blood cells will not work properly and your whole system will slow.
You can ask your doctor to check your levels of these nutrients. Too much iron can be dangerous, so it’s best to consult your doctor before trying to take iron supplements. You could also consult a dietician to help you increase the amount of iron in your diet.
2. Low thyroid function
This is very common and basically means that your thyroid gland isn't working properly. It can cause a variety of symptoms, from unexplained weight gain, to period problems, to fatigue (severe feelings of tiredness). You can get blood tests done at your local GP, but diagnosing thyroid problems can be difficult and may take a while.
3. Other vitamin/mineral deficiencies
The body needs many vitamins and minerals to function at its best, so being low in any of them can cause issues. Many Irish people are deficient in Vitamin D for example and this can cause fatigue. Ask your GP to check all your vitamin and minerals levels.
4. Sleeping problems
Sometimes people have issues with getting to, or staying asleep, even if their life is a stress free zone. It’s awful being sleep deprived so click here to check out these sleeping tips. If you keep having trouble, a trip to your doctor may be worth a try.
5. Sleep apnoea
This is a condition where the throat closes during sleep. When your throat closes, you won’t be able to breathe properly, will wake up constantly throughout the night, and get poor quality sleep. Many people don’t know they have it, but if you are always tired and feel that you never sleep well, it may be worth getting tested. For more information on sleep apnoea, click here.
6. Big changes or upheavals
Sometimes change is good, but it can still be exhausting! Maybe you have started a new job, moved house (or even country) or entered into a new relationship. All of these can be positive changes, but everything is new and different, so it can also be tiring. In such cases, time is often your best friend.
Sometimes people with depression find that tiredness is their main symptom. Sometimes this is caused by the depression itself, but many people with depression have problems sleeping, which can be a direct cause of the tiredness. If you are depressed it's really important to talk about it and seek help. For more information on depression, click here.
Problems in relationships, whether that's a romantic relationship or a friendship, can be both mentally and physically exhausting. Even when things are going well, relationships can be tiring. For example, when you are in a new relationship, you may not sleep very well from the excitement of it all.
9. Burning the candle at both ends
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of studying/working all day and then staying up late socialising. It’s also easy to burn the candle at both ends when exams lurk. It’s normal to have to do this sometimes, but if you do it for long periods of time, you’ll be exhausted and may get very run-down. Check out these top tips for avoiding all-nighters at exam time.