Featured image of tired but can't fall asleep.
Last Updated on May 10, 2022 by Peter

Why Am I Being Tired But Can’t Fall Asleep?

Are you tired all the time? Do you feel like no matter how long you sleep or how often you nap, you just can’t seem to feel good? Well, you’re not alone. Quite a few people suffer like this.

It is not uncommon for folks to feel groggy or tired all the time, even if they’ve just woken up from a nap in the middle of the day. But, knowing you have a problem isn’t enough, isn’t it?

Fortunately, we know a thing or two about this particular issue, and we’re ready to help you out. 

Today, we’re going to cover this topic, top to bottom, offering insight into what might cause this, what could the consequences be, and finally – how you can overcome this problem.

Let’s go!

Consider your circadian rhythm

It is rather hard to stay awake and feel good during the day if you don’t obey your circadian rhythm.

Think of your circadian rhythm as your internal sleep-wake clock. There are several circadian rhythms to be mindful of, but the one we’re interested in here is the one regulating when you go to sleep and when you get up.

An image of a sleepy middle aged man with beard in a bathrobe holding an alarm clock.

Essentially, your circadian rhythm will dictate when you should go to sleep, as well as when to wake up. So, if you aren’t exactly following that schedule, you might experience trouble falling asleep or getting up in the morning.

Am I sleepy, fatigued or tired?

Knowing whether you’re sleepy, tired, or fatigued is paramount in figuring out why you want to but can’t fall asleep. Sleepiness is a state during which you’re unable to stay awake even if you absolutely have to. For instance, when driving a car or in the office.

Tiredness is a natural feeling. It occurs after we’ve depleted our resources during the day, and a good night of sleep is all we need to resolve this “issue”.

An image of a sleepy woman holding a pillow.

Fatigue, on the other hand, is a feeling of overwhelming exhaustion, both mental and physical. However, neither rest nor sleep seems to solve this issue. In fact, falling asleep when fatigued is usually quite literally impossible, or at least incredibly hard to do.

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Why am I feeling tired every day all day?

It will be hard to answer this question if you can’t identify whether you’re sleepy, tired, or fatigued.

However, it is often one of these feelings that make it hard for us to fall asleep in the evening and stay fresh during the day. Therefore, one (or several) of these could be the reason you’re feeling tired all the time.

Wrong napping plan

It could be that reason you can’t fall asleep is that you don’t know how to nap – regardless of how ridiculous it might sound.

An image of a woman taking a post workout nap.

No matter the benefits of afternoon naps, you’ll have a hard time come slumber time if you pop down for a quick power-up around 6 pm or later. Also, a cup of coffee before a quick shut-eye is actually a good idea – but only if done correctly!

Anxiety and depression

Both anxiety and depression could be the reason you’re struggling to stay awake but having a hard time falling asleep.

Depression is often linked with excessive daytime sleepiness, as well as grogginess, drowsiness, or even chronic fatigue.

An image of a depressed woman due to menopause.

On the other hand, anxiety makes us tense and restless, preventing us from relaixing and falling asleep. That may lead to chronic sleep deprivation resulting in a constant feeling of tiredness.

Caffeine overdose

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that keeps us awake. However, what it also does is bind to the same receptors as adenosine – an inhibitory neurotransmitter responsible for making us sleepy.

an image of a woman drinking coffee to stay awake

Overindulgence in caffeine makes it impossible for adenosine to do what it has to do, resulting in tiredness and sleepiness, but also the inability to sleep.

Excessive blue light

Exposure to blue light is not inherently bad. However, excessive blue light exposure is – especially late at night.

Blue light suppresses the body’s ability to release melatonin, a hormone that’s responsible for making us sleepy in the evening.

a man working on a laptop late night in the dark

And, as fate would have it, every single screen that we’re looking at for hours each day is emitting blue light – literally keeping us awake. So, falling asleep to Netflix is not such a good idea.

Insomnia or other sleep disorders

If you’ve been diagnosed with insomnia or other sleeping disorders, you already know what’s keeping you up at night.

an image of a woman suffering from insomnia problems

On the other hand, if you haven’t been diagnosed but you suspect that you may suffer from it, we’d strongly suggest visiting a doctor, as that is pretty much the only way to overcome an issue like this one.

Poor diet

A poor and imbalanced diet has a detrimental effect on our sleep. A diet high in carbohydrates is not only unhealthy and can lead to weight gain, but it can also affect the quality of our sleep, research suggests.

balanced diet before bed time

Additionally, a lack of vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, as well as other key nutrients such as calcium or magnesium, is also associated with daytime tiredness and disrupted nighttime sleep.

Improper exercising time

Contrary to popular belief, exercising right before bedtime will not put you to sleep. In fact, it’ll wake you up.

An image of a woman exercising

Exercise raises our blood pressure and gets the heart pumping which is the complete opposite of what we want our bodies to do when we are trying to fall asleep.

So, either start working out earlier or just do it in the morning.

Sleep medications

One of the most common side-effects of sleeping medicine is daytime sleepiness and excessive fatigue.

An image of an older patient holding medicine for Parkinson's disease.

Just like caffeine, these medicaments also impact the neurotransmitters in your brain, causing us all sorts of problems, including the one we’re discussing right now.

Being tired every day all day leads to...

Unless dealt with, daytime tiredness can lead to an array of problems, including the following:

Stroke

While there is no evidence to support the theory that tiredness can lead to stroke, it has been proven that fatigue and exhaustion are common byproducts of a stroke. Therefore, it could be possible that you’ve had a mild stroke that you ignored and are now suffering consequences.

An image of an older man suffering from a stroke.

Heart attack

Recent research has shown that there is a direct correlation between chronic fatigue and exhaustion and an increased risk of a heart attack – especially in men. However, scientists are not quite certain is it the fatigue or lack of sleep caused by it that increases the chance of a heart attack.

Alzheimer’s disease

According to a new study, it is possible for older adults, especially men, to experience excessive sleepiness and tiredness during the day because their brains have atrophied. More specifically, they’ve atrophied in the areas often affected by early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Obesity

Excessive tiredness during the day can lead to obesity in many different ways. Most often, daytime sleepiness or fatigue leads to a lack of desire to eat healthily and regularly, which in return results in weight gain, both sudden and gradual.

High blood pressure

Being tired and unable to sleep is linked to various cardiovascular problems, one of which is also high blood pressure. Over time, poor sleeping habits lead to poor lifestyle habits, which results in elevated blood pressure.

Diabetes

Exhaustion and sleep deprivation have been linked to increased risk of diabetes, according to several studies done over the years. It is not uncommon for diabetes and sleep loss to go hand in hand, so it’s only natural that sleep deprivation could actually cause diabetes.

An image of a doctor is checking a patient's blood sugar level.

How to fall asleep easily when tired but can’t sleep?

There are three things that will prevent you from sleeping – light, noise, and distractions.

On that note, we’re going to give you some tried and tested methods to eliminate those three and help you fall asleep when you can’t.

Ensure a dark & cool bedroom

Light plays an integral role in regulating our sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm we mentioned earlier). In fact, our internal clock is often perfectly synchronized with sunrise and sunset. – you know which dictates which.

an image of a bedroom with a potted plant

By that same logic, eliminating the light from the room you’re supposed to sleep or nap in will help you become sleepy. Lack of light stimulates the release of melatonin, the hormone that gets us sleepy, which allows us to drift away even when it seems we can’t.

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Use earplugs or a white noise machine

Our ears are listening even when we are not. Loud, irregular, or high-pitched noises can not only prevent us from sleeping, but they can also disrupt the quality of our sleep.

The brain processes sound even when we sleep. So, even after you fall asleep – some sounds will disturb you. The keyword here is “some”.

An image of a white noise machine.

To eliminate the unwanted sounds, you may sleep with earplugs in, although some people find them uncomfortable – although you won’t know until you try them.

Another thing you can do is use a white noise machine. Unlike sudden or irregular sounds, low-frequency, soothing, flat sounds like the one played from a white noise machine speaker can actually calm you down and put you to sleep. What they will also do is mask all the other sounds, preventing your brain from picking up on them and ruining the quality of your sleep.

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Meditate

Mediation can help you sleep better – period.

a woman meditates before sleep

Practicing meditation calms and relaxes both your mind and your body, putting you in an ideal state to fall asleep and have a good rest. A restless mind is hard to put to sleep, so practising meditation before bed might help tremendously.

As we said earlier, distractions will keep you awake, but if you meditate and clear your head – they shouldn’t bother you at all.

Leave your electrical devices in other room

Phones, tablets, TVs, laptops, and other light-emitting gadgets don’t belong in the bedroom.

Not only do they emit blue light, which we said inhibits the release of melatonin, but they also pose a great distraction.

an image of electronic gadgets that disrupt your sleep

As we have said, distractions will keep you awake, and these digital ones are potentially worse than our own thoughts.

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