Can Depression Make You Tired

Can Depression Make You Tired? Interesting Connection Revealed

Writen By: Sadia Mirza
Reviewed By: Huma Khan
Publish Date: December 4, 2023

Depression, often known as a silent battle, affects millions of people worldwide. It manifests in various ways, leaving individuals going through it feeling hopeless, overwhelmed, and emotionally drained. One question that arises among all these symptoms is: Can depression make you tired? 

While the emotional impact of depression is widely recognized and known, its physical impacts are often overlooked. One common symptom that many people experience while going through depression is tiredness, fatigue, and exhaustion. So, is your low energy actually caused by your depression, or is there another reason? 

In this blog post, we are going to answer the question that might pop up in your mind: Can depression make you tired?  We will discuss the physical signs of depression-related fatigue, the connection between fatigue and depression, the causes of depression and fatigue, and effective strategies for coping with it. Read with us till the end of this article, as it might help you in your journey with depression and fatigue.

Depression and its symptoms

Depression is a mental health disorder that affects your feelings, thinking, and behavioral patterns. It is followed by constant feelings of sadness and loss of interest and it can interfere with your daily activities. It can cause many physical and emotional problems.

The common symptoms of depression are:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed.
  • Changes in appetite and weight, either significant weight loss or gain.
  • Trouble sleeping or excessive sleeping.
  • low energy.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt.
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
  • Restlessness or irritability.
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, and digestive problems.

Can Depression Make You Tired and Fatigued?

Fatigue is identified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) as a symptom of MDD that is defined as a feeling of tiredness, loss of energy, and exhaustion. 

The connection between fatigue and depression is real, as when you have depression, you may feel tired and exhausted most of the day and have low energy to do anything. It takes away the fun activities and lowers your motivation. 

Research indicates that over 90% of people have shown fatigue who are going through depression. 

The question: Can depression make you tired? forces us to dive deeper and look for its answers in the brain chemistry and mechanisms lying behind the connection to the tiredness from depression.  

Depression can affect the levels of hormones that regulate energy levels, such as cortisol and thyroid hormones.  Depression can also affect the neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, that are associated with alertness and mood regulation. It also affects our energy levels, leading to fatigue.

One research study found that fatigue was associated with depression, physical function, bodily pain, and mental health. 

Another research from 2015 shows that patients with fatigue reported great measures of depression, pain, sleep difficulty, and anxiety. 

So depression and fatigue are related to each other, just like depression and anxiety. So the answer to this query “ Can depression make you tired?” Yes, depression makes you tired and it affects your daily life. 

Now let’s take a look at how depression makes us tired and what factors play a role in it. 

Factors Contributing to Fatigue in Depression

Tiredness, also known as fatigue, is a state of physical or mental weariness and exhaustion. It can manifest in various ways, including feeling drained, lacking energy, having difficulty concentrating, and experiencing irritability. While tiredness is a common experience, it can become a persistent problem when intensified by psychological and emotional factors.

Stress, anxiety, depression, and negative thoughts are the psychological factors that worsen tiredness and fatigue.

Emotional factors include emotional distress such as anger, grief, and loneliness can disrupt sleep patterns, and appetite and increase stress, leading to fatigue, depression and lack of energy. Emotional regulation difficulties and lack of emotional support can also worsen depression and make you tired all the time

Many factors contribute to tiredness from depression. Discussing them and reading about them will make it easier for us to identify depression fatigue.

1. Cognitive Exhaustion

When someone is dealing with depression, their mind often gets caught in a loop of negative thoughts. These thoughts might include self-criticism, feelings of hopelessness, or dwelling on past events. Such persistent negative thinking requires a lot of mental effort and energy.

This constant mental activity and rumination take a toll, leaving the person feeling mentally fatigued. It’s like using a computer non-stop without giving it time to rest or recharge. This mental exhaustion contributes significantly to the overall feeling of tiredness and lack of energy that is commonly experienced in depression.

2. Sleep Disruption

Depression affects your sleeping pattern, as research shows that about 80% of people who have depression also experience insomnia. And this lack of restful sleep makes you feel tired all day.  

On the other hand, oversleeping, which is also a symptom of depression, can also cause fatigue and tiredness.

Insomnia and oversleeping are both the biggest causes of fatigue for those who experience depression.

3. Change in Appetite

A balanced diet and proper nutrition play an essential role in maintaining good energy levels and feeling energetic the whole day. When you are depressed, sometimes you feel like eating too much, like craving sweet foods or you might have less of an appetite, skipping meals. 

Eating excessive sugar and fat foods can make you feel tired and eating less and having a low appetite or poor diet choices can also make you feel fatigued.

Foods that are rich in nutrients, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can boost your energy and promote your health.

4. Lack of desire to Exercise

Feelings of depression might make it difficult for you to exercise and work out daily. You can experience a lack of motivation or interest due to depression and this can lead to reduced physical activity.

Exercise in its essence is already hard enough to do but depression and other feelings due to it, such as reduced self-esteem, and other destructive patterns, may affect your motivation to work and exercise. The lack of exercise further decreases energy levels, creating a cycle of fatigue.

5. Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety often coexists with depression. The constant worry and stress associated with both conditions can drain a person’s mental and physical resources, leading to fatigue. 

Tiredness from depression can also be due to stress. Stress related to depression might be developing overactivity in your brain that may make you feel drained. The amygdala, the brain part that is associated with anxiety, stress, and fear, when it is overactive, creates negative thinking by seeing the world and yourself negatively, as these feelings are associated with depression. Thus making you feel drained and exhausted.

6. Antidepressants and its side effects

We all know that antidepressants provide relief from depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. But there are also side effects, and fatigue is one of the most common side effects of antidepressants. 

Research has shown that the most common side effects of antidepressants are sexual dysfunction, gastrointestinal problems, sleep disturbance, apathy, and fatigue.

Antidepressants make your energy level much lower than usual as they work on the mood-affecting neurotransmitters and they also affect the brain chemicals like histamine and acetylcholine. These changes may make your body feel weak and you feel tired throughout the day. 

So, can depression make you tired? Absolutely yes, as it’s clear from these factors that depression can indeed make you tired. The impact of depression on energy levels is profound, affecting not just the body but also the mind. But with the right support, it’s possible to find renewed strength and vitality.

Other Causes of Fatigue

Fatigue is not just bound to our lifestyle issues; it can sometimes be the result of an illness and the medicine you are taking. There are many causes of fatigue other than depression; let’s find out.

  1. Too much physical activity, like excessive exercising,
  1. Too little physical activity can also make you feel tired.
  1. drug abuse.
  1. Anti-allergy medicines that are used to treat allergies and coughs
  1. Not getting enough sleep.
  1. Poor appetite.
  1. Underactive thyroid/hypothyroidism.
  1. Iron deficiency or anemia.
  1. Chronic illnesses like diabetes or fibromyalgia
  1. Chronic stress or burnout
  1. Nutritional deficiencies, particularly in vitamins like B12 or D
  1. Excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption
  1. Undiagnosed medical conditions like infections or heart diseases

Impact of Depression Fatigue On Daily Life

Research indicates that patients with fatigue have lower quality of life, cognitive function, and physical performance. 

  • Fatigue can have a negative effect on your mood, leading to negativity and unhealthy relationships.
  • You may find yourself less active and having less energy to do things you once enjoyed doing.
  • Fatigue can interfere with your ability to do work and daily activities. 
  • You may not feel like taking care of yourself and others.
  • It can make it difficult for you to focus and pay attention.
  • It can affect your memory, as you will forget things.
  • Fatigue can make driving dangerous, as you may fall asleep while driving a vehicle. 
  • Depression can make it difficult for you to get out of bed, exercise, and focus on tasks. It can lead to physical symptoms such as pain and aches.

If you are experiencing fatigue, it is important to seek help from a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying medical conditions, as fatigue can have a significant impact on your quality of life, making it difficult to work, socialize, and enjoy activities you once did. It is important to manage fatigue to improve the quality of your life and to fight depression that is related to it. 

How to Deal with Depression Fatigue?

Depression low-energy treatment consists of various ways to deal with it. Let’s discuss some practical tips for managing depression fatigue. 

Lifestyle suggestions for fighting Fatigue 

1. Get Regular Exercise

Getting regular exercise can help improve your energy levels and overall health. Start slowly and gradually increase the duration of your exercise and workouts.

2. Avoid Smoking

Smoking contains many harmful substances and affects your energy levels as the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke reduces the amount of oxygen available in the blood that is needed to make energy for the body. 

Check out this website, SmokeFree as it can help you in your journey of quitting smoking. 

3. Workplace burnout

Workplace workload sometimes causes depression, which leads to fatigue. You should take a break from work and have some time for yourself to prevent burnout and depression fatigue.

Sleeping tips for fighting fatigue

1. Get Enough Sleep

Most adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep per night. If you are not getting enough sleep, you may feel tired during the day. Sometimes getting a good night’s sleep becomes difficult due to depression and fatigue so here are some recommendations for you. Avoid naps throughout the day, go to bed and wake up in the morning at the same time every day, and have a warm bath before bed. 

2. Avoid Caffeine intake

Too much caffeine can cause insomnia. Make your caffeine intake limited and avoid these types of drinks after dinner.

3. Relax yourself Mentally

Depression and thinking about your problems at bedtime make it difficult for you to sleep. Try different relaxation techniques. For example, listen to sleep meditation music, or create an image in your mind of a beautiful place with nature, waterfalls, and trees. Try to focus on your breathing and you can also say affirmative phrases or anything else that can help you sleep.

Diet Suggestions for Fighting Fatigue

1. Healthy Diet 

Fruit, vegetables, whole grain foods, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats should cover a greater portion of your diet. Try to reduce the amount of high sugar, high fat, and high salt foods in your diet. 

2. Drink Plenty Of Water

Sometimes fatigue occurs due to dehydration. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. 

3. Eat Iron- Rich Foods

Iron deficiency (anemia) can lead to fatigue so you should make sure that your diet includes iron-rich foods such as lean red meat. 

Other Professional Treatments

Depression fatigue can make it difficult to get out of bed, concentrate, and complete everyday tasks. There are a number of professional treatments available that can help improve depression fatigue, including therapy, and medication.

Therapy

Therapy can be effective for the treatment of depression fatigue. There are many therapies that can be effective for depression low-energy treatment.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

    Cognitive behavioral therapy can be helpful to identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that cause depression fatigue.

  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT)

IPT helps to improve your relationships and resolve conflicts that may be contributing to depression fatigue.

  • Psychodynamic therapy

 Psychodynamic therapy can help you understand the underlying issues and causes of your depression fatigue, such as unresolved trauma or childhood experiences.

  • Behavioral Activation: 

Encourages engagement in positive activities to counteract fatigue and increase energy levels.

Medications

Taking medications is also an option for the treatment of tiredness from depression. There are several medicines that can be helpful.

  • Antidepressants 

Antidepressants can help improve your mood and energy levels. Some common antidepressants include SSRIs, SNRIs, and tricyclic antidepressants. 

Note: Don’t take any medicine without the prescription of your doctor. 

  • Stimulants

Stimulants can help increase your energy levels and alertness. Some common stimulants include modafinil and armodafinil.

Resources and Helplines for Depression Fatigue

Here are some resources and helplines that can help you cope with depression fatigue:

Resources

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

This website can help you in any of your mental health issues.

The MentalHealth.gov

This provides you with information about mental health and assists you with your depression and anxiety.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

This website helps you find treatment options near you.

Helplines

Conclusion 

In conclusion, the question “Can depression make you tired?” has been thoroughly explored in this blog post. It is evident that depression can indeed cause extreme fatigue and feelings of constant tiredness. The emotional and psychological burden of depression can take a toll on one’s energy levels, making even simple daily tasks feel draining. 

It is crucial to recognize the relationship between depression and fatigue and seek appropriate help and support. Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and reaching out for help can make a significant difference in managing both your mental health and overall well-being.

FAQs

1. Does depression make you tired?

Yes, depression makes you tired as it affects the neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, that are associated with alertness and regulate energy levels. So depression affects our energy levels, leading to fatigue and tiredness.

2. Why does depression make you tired? 

Depression makes you tired due to changes in brain chemistry as it imbalances neurotransmitters that regulate energy levels so it decreases energy levels. It also causes sleep disturbances and a low appetite, which also makes you tired.

3. Does depression make you sleep more?

Yes, depression can make you sleep more, as it affects sleep patterns in different ways. While some individuals with depression may experience excessive sleepiness and sleep for longer durations, others may have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and may experience insomnia.

4. Why does depression make you sleep more?

Depression causes feelings of fatigue and low energy that result in increased sleep. Depression can disturb the normal sleep-wake cycle, making you sleep excessively. Sleep can provide temporary relief from negative thoughts that are associated with depression, leading individuals to sleep more as a result of escaping their thoughts. Depression also causes hormonal imbalances that make you sleep more.

5. Why am I tired but I sleep a lot?

There are many possible reasons why you might be feeling tired, even though you are sleeping a lot.

Poor sleep quality: Even if you are sleeping for a sufficient number of hours, you may not be getting restful sleep. That’s why you may be feeling tired.

Underlying medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as anemia, hypothyroidism, and chronic fatigue syndrome, can also cause fatigue.

Medications: Some medications can cause fatigue as a side effect, such as antidepressants, which can make you feel tired.

Lifestyle factors: Lifestyle factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption can also contribute to tiredness.

6. Why am I so tired but can’t sleep?

Here are some potential reasons why you might be feeling tired but still unable to sleep. Irregular sleep schedules such as excessive screen time before sleeping, caffeine intake, mental worries, excessive anxiety about not being able to fall asleep, and other medical conditions such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome can disrupt sleep patterns. 

7. Can depression make you physically tired?

Yes, depression can make you physically tired. In fact, fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of depression. It can feel like you have no energy, even after getting enough sleep. This can make it difficult to do everyday tasks, such as going to work or school, taking care of yourself, or spending time with loved ones.