Why Does Depression Make You Tired?

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We, as humans, can generally notice when something is wrong with another person.
It is a certain sense of innate empathy, an understanding that we all have about one another.

As such, when we see someone who is depressed we can easily tell that something is wrong with them.
We do this by observing a few things about them and their behavior

Even if many people don’t understand that depression and sadness are not the same thing, they aren’t blind.
A loss of interest in life, bad eating habits and a general sense of hopelessness are just a few of these symptoms.

These weren’t the ones that I got called out for.
Back when I was a soldier in boot camp and my depression was at its worst, nobody really cared about these symptoms.

Sure, I bet that they all noticed that something was wrong, but they all had their own problems to deal with.

Nobody really looked at what I put on my plate and how much I ate.
None of them really cared about how pessimistic I was at my worst, we were all there against our wills after all.
Not a single one of them bothered me during whatever little free time we had to ourselves.

They did take note of how tired and unfocused I was.

There was no reason to be so fatigued

At the time, there was a valid reason.
We had about 6 hours of sleep every night and our days were long, with little rest in between.

My constant fatigue put a burden on our entire squad during training exercises, and everyone was mad at me as a result.

All the same, I figured that this tiredness would pass once I finished my training.
After all, fully fledged soldiers had more time to sleep than most recruits.
Not only that, But their workload was way easier in comparison.

But I didn’t.
Even after getting a simple desk job and getting plenty of sleep I was still tired.
I honestly couldn’t figure out why, though.

I wasn’t doing any hard work, I was getting lots of sleep, So why was I still so tired?

You see, when people noticed how uninterested and unenthusiastic I was they just assumed that this is the type of person that I am.

It wasn’t the case though.
it was all depression’s doing.

Why does depression make you tired?

This is the big question and one that can easily be answered.

Fatigue is a symptom of depression, one that is almost synonymous with the disorder.
So much so that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is often times misdiagnosed as depression and vice versa.

The simple answer to the question in the title would be to say that fatigue (tiredness) is a symptom of depression and be done with it.

But that doesn’t really give us a reason as to why this is the case.

There are multiple reasons that depressed people are more fatigued than average, regardless of how long they rest.
Here are a few examples.

Resting on a bench

Being depressed is tiring

Something that a lot of people don’t quite understand is that depression, by itself, can be extremely tiring.
Yes, even if the depressed person does seemingly nothing to justify it.

Stress is very common among depressed people, and about half of the people that were diagnosed with depression were also diagnosed with anxiety.

Stress is very demanding of the body, making you build up fatigue as you go.

After all, stress is an extreme response that is very demanding of the body

Depression causes sleeping disorders

Aside from work, normally a bad night of sleep is something that we hold synonymous to fatigue.
If you work very little but barely rest at all then you will probably be pretty tired throughout the day.

As it turns out, sleeping disorders are symptoms of depression.
In fact, evidence suggests that insomnia sufferers are ten times as likely to develop depression when compared to the average person.
This works both ways, with depression causing sleeping problems and with sleeping problems causing depression.

A poor night of sleep makes you much more likely to have an extremely tiring day.
I think that this is something that we can all agree on.

Depression lowers your quality of sleep

Aside from the amount of time that you spent sleeping, another indicator of rest would be the quality of your sleep.

Your quality of sleep is measured based on the stage of sleep.
One of these stages is called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep.

In this stage you experience dreams and your brain is fully active as a result of that.

According to data, people who were diagnosed with depression have exhibit REM sleep for longer periods of time.

In other words, the depressed brain doesn’t rest as much as the average one, taking away from the overall sleeping experience.

What can be done about that?

Alright, so we’ve established that fatigue and depression are closely related.
In fact, fatigue is a general symptom of depression, and the source of it is often times misdiagnosed.

As such, in order to correct this problem we need to tackle those other problems directly.

Here are some ideas to do just that:

Lower your levels of stress

Stress makes you fatigued, and it takes a lot of energy to be stressed.
As such, it should stand to reason that lowering your levels of stress will make you less fatigued in the long run.

It is easier said than done, though.
Truth be told, there are many different ways to decrease stress on the hormonal level, but they generally break down into two categories:

Increase your quality of sleep

The other problem with depression is that it alters your brain in such a way that makes your sleep much less restful.
The alternative to that would be to try and have better sleep.

After all, there is a variety of factors that can make your sleep more restful.
These, also, break into a few general categories:

  • Getting ready for sleep – Having the right rituals before going to bed can make a huge difference.
    Avoid bright lights and screens for two hours before sleep, go to sleep and wake up at specific times, avoid caffeine and the like.
    These habits are meant to turn sleep into a routine, giving your body a system to fall onto.
  • Setting the conditions – sleep is already difficult as it is, so why put the odds against you?
    Make sure that your bed is comfortable, that the temperature around you is to your liking. Stretching also helps with sleep.
    After preparing your body, there are multiple things that can help you prepare your mind.
    Meditation, breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques are a few examples of such methods.
    When your body and mind are as relaxed as they can be, sleep will become much easier for you.

Overcome your depression

In the end, there is only so much that can be done with fatigue.
As a symptom of depression, your fatigue will not go away by itself unless you overcome your own depression.

This is easier said than done, but most of the methods to handle fatigue can be very helpful for depression.
Increasing your quality of sleep is known to help with depression, and your diet and exercise regimes can have a huge, positive effect on your mental health.

Depression and fatigue are very closely related, to the point that they are misdiagnosed very often.
The simple fact is that a healthy lifestyle can be a huge benefit when it comes to treating either.

sleeping woman

In the end, fatigue isn’t all that bad

The truth is that fatigue builds up over time, and it is very difficult to get rid of it.
Sure, habits and preparations can go a very long way, but in the end, your fatigue will be a constant struggle for you.

At least until you treat its very source.
If your fatigue is caused by depression then you should try and overcome it.

All of the self-help methods detailed in this article will be extremely helpful to you, so there’s that.
Another recommendation I would make is to check out the Destroy Depression Program – It is a very thorough guide, filled with useful tips on how to overcome depression.

Before you go, here’s a quick question for you – How much does your fatigue hold you back?

Be sure to write down your answers in the comment section below I would love to hear them!
If you got any questions, feel free to contact me by email.

Email: VladOsipkov@projectconquest.org

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