Why Does Anxiety Make You Feel Tired?

Why Does Anxiety Make You Feel Tired? - PleaseNotes

Anxiety can be an exhausting experience, leaving you feeling drained and exhausted. It is a common experience, affecting millions of people worldwide. Many people with anxiety also experience significant fatigue, feeling constantly tired even after a full night's sleep. This exhaustion can make daily activities feel overwhelming, contributing to a cycle of anxiety and tiredness. But what's the connection between anxiety and fatigue?

The Physiological Impact of Anxiety

When you experience anxiety, your body enters a state of heightened alertness, often referred to as the "fight or flight" response. This reaction involves the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which prepare your body to deal with perceived threats.

Energy Consumption

Anxiety requires a significant amount of mental and physical energy. When anxiety is chronic, these stress hormones remain elevated, even when there's no real threat. This constant state of hyperarousal takes a toll on the body's resources. A 2017 study published in the journal "Frontiers in Psychiatry" found a link between chronic anxiety and mitochondrial dysfunction – a disruption in the cells' energy production process. Your brain is constantly working to process anxious thoughts, which can be mentally draining. 


Additionally, the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate and muscle tension, consume energy, leaving you feeling exhausted. Imagine your body constantly running on overdrive, burning through fuel without proper recharge. 

Sleep Disruption

Anxiety often interferes with sleep, causing difficulties in falling asleep, staying asleep, or achieving restful sleep. Lack of quality sleep can exacerbate feelings of tiredness and make it harder to cope with anxiety. A study published in the journal "Sleep" found that individuals with anxiety disorders are more likely to experience sleep disturbances, which contributes to daytime fatigue.

Emotional Strain

Dealing with anxiety is emotionally taxing. Constant worry and fear can wear you down emotionally, making you feel drained. Emotional fatigue is just as real as physical fatigue and can significantly impact your overall well-being.


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Breaking the Cycle

Understanding why anxiety makes you feel tired can help you take proactive steps to manage both your anxiety and its associated fatigue. Here are some tips to help you manage it:
  • Therapy Journaling: Keeping a therapy journal can be a a great way for managing anxiety. For me, I started using my anxiety journal to track my symptoms and identify triggers. Writing down my thoughts and feelings helped me release some of the mental tension and gain clarity on my anxiety patterns. Therapy journal prompts can be very helpful, for example, start where you are when you feel the anxiety followed by "What happened today that made me feel anxious?" or "What physical symptoms do I experience when I'm anxious?" from that, you can make a journal for self-exploration.
  • Mindfulness and Relaxation: Practice mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation, to reduce stress and promote relaxation. These practices can help lower your stress hormone levels and conserve energy.
  • Improve Sleep Hygiene: Establish a consistent sleep routine and create a calming bedtime environment to improve the quality of your sleep. Avoid stimulants like caffeine before bed and practice relaxation techniques to ease into sleep.
  • Physical Activity: Engage in regular physical activity, such as walking or yoga. Exercise can boost your energy levels and improve your mood by releasing endorphins.
  • Seek Professional Help: If anxiety is significantly impacting your daily life and you're struggling to manage it on your own, consider seeking professional help. A therapist can teach you coping mechanisms and develop a personalized treatment plan.

Related: Getting Help: The 5 Professionals You Can Talk To About Mental Health


Anxiety can make you feel tired due to its physiological, emotional, and sleep-disrupting effects. Understanding these connections allows you to take steps to manage your anxiety and reduce fatigue. Addressing both your anxiety and its impact on your energy levels can reclaim your vitality and live a more balanced life. You are not alone. With self-awareness, healthy habits, and professional support if needed, you can manage anxiety and reclaim your energy.
Related: Journaling Your Emotions: How Can It Help Your Mental Health
 
 


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