Sometimes when you’re tired you need more rest. And sometimes you’re tired because you’re resting too much. Or you’re getting the wrong kind of rest
I am well-aware of the importance of sleep; yet I personally find that more is not always better.
Sometimes feeling tired means you need more sleep. And sometimes it points to another issue.
Here are 3 other reasons that you might be tired that are not related to sleep quantity.
(1) Too Much Passive Rest
I write a lot about the importance of rest and recovery; the need to slow down. I also practice what I teach.
I love a good yin yoga or restorative yoga practice. Yoga nidra. Sound healing. Reiki. All the modalities.
There are times when we need to slow down and rest. We live in a very Yang culture, with a lot of rewards for doing.
That said, sometimes we can go overboard with the yin. Too much yin can cause us to become stagnant. We need to bring yin and Yang into better harmony. This is the essence of yoga — the word means union, as in the union of body and mind, yin and Yang, effort and recovery.
Too much rest can be just as draining as too little rest.
Research supports this. According to Harvard School of Public Health,
Research bears out the connection between too much sleep and too little energy. It appears that any significant deviation from normal sleep patterns can upset the body’s rhythms and increase daytime fatigue.
(2) Nervous System Fatigue
I love with a hyper-vigilant nervous system that is constantly sending my body messages that it is under attack, or could be.
Some people call this “highly sensitive.” I prefer “highly attuned.” The system is in a near constant state of monitoring my environment for threats from every sensory organ: smells, sights, sounds, physical sensations, my external space.
This puts my body in a near constant fight-or-flight state, where much of the energy goes to keeping the organism safe.
This state can be exacerbated by various daily mental habits and activities that cause fatigue.
Overthinking. Making decisions. Inefficiencies. Logistics. Screen time.
My ADHD brain gets especially fatigued by too many decisions and too many inefficiencies in my workflow. Each time I need to adapt to a new plan for where to work, each interruption, inefficiencies in communication flows, disruptions to my routine, planning logistics around my day — all of these create what I call energy leaks.
These energy leaks may be small individually but they add up to create sizable drains that cause fatigue.
I am an extrovert; I draw energy from spending time around people and community. The right people with the right energy.
People who lift me up, encourage me, have faith in my abilities, and are working toward the same objectives.
For the past several years, even before the pandemic, I haven’t been around the right people. Especially since the pandemic I have often been isolated. Remote working, interacting by Zoom, just doesn’t work for me on a full time basis. I need to be around people in person.
The resulting loneliness is a major factor in both fatigue and more serious illness.
A study published in 2011 linked loneliness to sleep fragmentation, which is defined as “arousals and awakenings that disrupt the normal stages and architecture of sleep.” In other words, it’s when you can’t sleep through the night, and are continuously waking up.
The study concluded that
Humans’ social nature may partly be manifest through our dependence on feeling secure in our social environment to sleep well.
Loneliness also creates more stress.
According to Psychology Today, “lonely individuals report higher levels of perceived stress even when exposed to the same stressors as non-lonely people, and even when they are relaxing.”
And stress can cause feelings of fatigue.