Anxiety is naturally tiring. Anxiety can essentially cause both low and high levels of fatigue, and leave you feeling incredibly drained. Some people simply feel tired throughout the day. Others feel tired only after an attack. Still others feel extreme fatigue, often finding they need to nap hours upon hours extra - or feeling as though they can't focus on life because of their tiredness.
Feeling tired is a natural body reaction, and one that can often be caused by stress and anxiety. In this article, we'll explore the origins of anxiety tiredness and what can be done to fight it.
Are You Tired Because of Anxiety?
The more overwhelming your tiredness is the more you may want to visit a doctor just to be safe. But the reality is that anxiety can make you EXTREMELY tired. Take our free 7 minute anxiety test to compare your symptoms to others, and receive an anxiety score that will help you find treatments.
Causes of Tiredness
If you are tired from anxiety, then there are usually other symptoms involved. Tiredness is natural in life, especially if you are not getting enough sleep, but it may also be caused by anxiety. If you have anxiety symptoms, then take our free 7 minute anxiety test to move forward to get an idea where your tiredness comes from, and to learn more about your anxiety.
There is also more than one reason for feeling tired from anxiety. The most common reasons include:
- Crash The main reason has to do with the crash you feel after your adrenaline runs out. Anxiety is like being on high alert. Your body is preparing you as though you're about to get ready for a fight, and so it floods with energy in order to get you ready to attack and run from anything coming at you. Of course, nothing comes at you, and when that adrenaline runs out your body goes through a crash that can cause severe fatigue and tiredness.
- Post Muscle Tension There's a relaxation exercise known as "progressive muscle relaxation." The goal is to tense each muscle as hard as you can individually one at a time until you've tensed every muscle in your body. The tension is so draining that the muscles end up losing their energy an relaxing. Anxiety causes profound muscle tension all throughout the day, and often this causes a similar "drained" feeling that makes your body tired.
- Mental Tiredness Some of that tiredness is entirely mental, simply because your brain - like a muscle - can also run out of strength. Anxiety can cause a host of rapid, stressful thoughts. When it does, your brain is incredibly active. So it should come as no surprise that all that hard work makes it tired to the point where it wants you to rest.
- Coping Becoming tired is sometimes a coping mechanism that your body uses to prevent you from experiencing severe stress. Tiredness allows you to rest in a way that stress doesn't, so some people's bodies are tired on purpose in order to make sure the anxiety doesn't get too overwhelming.
- Relaxation Habits Do you often try to go home and take a nap? You may be developing a tiredness habit. Your body still start to crave the nap more each and every day in order to make sure it gets that much needed break from anxiety.
- Sleep Issues Many people with severe stress and anxiety also develop very serious problems sleeping. They may even wake up in the middle of the night without realizing it. All of this contributes to an overall lack of sleep, which causes natural tiredness.
- Depression Finally, anxiety can cause temporary or fully depression, especially after an anxiety attack. That depression creates a complete loss of energy, and that loss of energy makes it very hard to stay active throughout the day.
All of these are contributing factors to tiredness from anxiety, and they don't even include hormonal and neural changes that occur during times of severe stress.
What You Can Do To Stop Tiredness
Stopping tiredness is difficult because it's your body's way of resting when it feels it needs to rest. Coffee would be one way, but ideally you don't want to drink coffee because coffee can make anxiety symptoms worse.
Fighting your tiredness can actually be valuable. In a way, you don't want your body to get used to the idea of being tired. If you go home and taken naps or rest when you're tired, then your body is essentially going to get used to the idea that you're okay resting whenever anxiety makes you tired, and you'll be more prone to feeling tired later.
Tiredness is much easier to prevent than it is to stop. That's why you need to take steps to start controlling your anxiety better. The less intense your anxiety is, the less tired you should feel.
I've worked with many people suffering from mild to intense tiredness. Start with my free 7 minute anxiety test, where you'll learn a great deal about your anxiety and what you can do to reduce its impact.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.