Does Depression Make You Tired?

A feeling of tiredness and exhaustion—or fatigue—is common for individuals with depression. When one is depressed, their energy levels reduce significantly as feelings of emptiness and sadness rise. Alongside the associated less restful and restorative sleep, these symptoms exacerbate tiredness in depression.

It is a common occurrence to feel tired after not getting adequate sleep, but fatigue from depression is more serious. It can last for weeks or more, usurping one’s physical, emotional, and cognitive strength. With fatigue and depression, a person loses the motivation and desire to engage in previously exciting activities.

Notably, depression and fatigue aren’t always linked. Sometimes, you might become fatigued without being depressed, and vice versa. The two can also occur as a result of an underlying medical condition or as side effects of a particular drug.

Let’s discuss why depression makes you tired as well as how to fight depression and fatigue.

EZCare doctors will examine your symptoms, make a diagnosis, and determine a personalized treatment plan.

Why Does Depression Make You Tired?

Depression affects the neurotransmitters in your brain and body, which can cause fatigue. Neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine play vital roles in regulating body functions, including sleep, appetite, energy levels, pleasure, and motivation. With depression, an imbalance of these brain chemicals leads to dysregulation of perception and mood—bringing about the feeling of tiredness.

However, an imbalance in brain chemicals does not explain the etiology of depression in its entirety. Depression is a complex mental disorder with many possible causes, including genetic predilection, improper mood regulation, stressful life events, medical conditions, and others.

Smoking and alcohol abuse also contribute to the development of depression and fatigue. The complexity of the disease and associated decline in energy level make it difficult to distinguish between depression-related fatigue and everyday tiredness.

While both depression and fatigue can make one feel sleepy, lazy, and tired, treating these conditions requires completely different approaches regardless of symptom similarity.

Waking up Tired With No Energy: Depression or Everyday Tiredness?

Both fatigued and depressed individuals can experience symptoms of low energy, loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities, and lack of motivation. But how do you tell whether you are depressed or just tired?

The first difference emerges when considering the desire to engage in activities. With fatigue, you desire to do things but lack the energy to complete the tasks. On the other hand, depression depletes your motivation and energy to engage in any activity.

Secondly, the duration of symptoms and whether they improve with sleep can distinguish simple fatigue from depression. A good night’s sleep will make you feel rested and refreshed if you are just tired. However, depression-related fatigue will last two weeks or longer and permeate every facet of your life.

Effects of Fatigue From Depression

Depression and fatigue can impact you physically, cognitively, and emotionally:

  • Physically, you can be lazy, with your body feeling heavy, stiff, and slow. As a result, everyday activities such as showering, eating, and getting ready for work become burdensome.
  • Cognitively, depression reduces your ability to concentrate, making it quite challenging to maintain focus and process information. The reduced cognitive performance probably results from sleep disturbances associated with depression.
  • Emotional disturbances are the most profound effects of fatigue and depression. When you are depressed, tiredness makes it even more challenging to weed through the confusing feelings and thoughts that come with the disorder. Fatigue degrades your ability to connect with colleagues, friends, and family, perpetuating the feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness linked with depression.

Overcoming depression will improve your overall well-being in different spheres of life. Consult a doctor today!

Depression, Fatigue, and Sleep

Besides neurotransmitter imbalance, depression causes fatigue by affecting your sleep-wake cycle. Typically, adults require seven to nine hours of sleep per day to function optimally. But people with depression often have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. The depressed subjects usually have shorter phases of slow-wave sleep, making their nights less restorative and restful.

Due to boredom, depressed individuals develop maladaptive behaviors that contribute to disordered sleep patterns and disrupt their circadian rhythms. For example, depression-related tiredness can push you to take a nap, making it harder to fall or stay asleep at night.

The above concern creates a vicious cycle of fatigue and depression, in which you feel sleepy during the day but wake up earlier than desired. Again the depressive feeling of laziness causes physical inactivity that contributes to sleep disturbances and, consequently, fatigue in depression.

Dealing With Depression Fatigue

1. Improve the quality of your sleep

Having a restful night’s sleep alleviates symptoms of depression and fatigue and helps you function better. Adopting sleep hygiene practices such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding alcohol and other stimulants before bedtime, and limiting screen time in the evening will improve the quality of your sleep significantly.

2. Exercise regularly

Regular exercise promotes good sleeping patterns and reduces fatigue associated with depression. According to research, 20 minutes of low to moderate-intensity exercise daily increases energy levels and reduces fatigue. The U.S physical activity guidelines recommend that adults perform at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week to remain alert and active.

3. Speak to a doctor

While numerous strategies for dealing with depression-related fatigue exist, speaking to a doctor as soon as possible is the best. The doctor’s professional diagnosis lets you access the right treatment plan and avoid potential complications.

Get the Help You Need

Fatigue is one of the primary symptoms of depression. The imbalance of brain chemicals, stressful life events, and genetics contribute to the dysregulation of mood, energy, and motivation in depression, leading to fatigue. When you get fatigued and depressed, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible to receive the right treatment. Contact EZCare Clinic today to get personalized depression treatment.


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