Reviewed by Aaron Horn, LMFT
ARE ANXIETY AND FATIGUE RELATED?
Do you feel tired when you get stressed out? Fatigue and anxiety have significant effects on your mental health and it influence actions related to your physical well-being. A person with fatigue may feel tired often and low on energy. A person with anxiety may feel anxious about something or feel like they can’t calm down due to unwanted feelings or tension. Understanding how these two elements affect your emotional and physical health may help you find suitable ways to help you cope.
What Happens When You Feel Anxiety?
Anxiety occurs in different forms and most people experience some type of anxiety in their normal day. You may feel anxious while waiting for something exciting to happen. You could also feel anxious trying to make decisions during times of uncertainty or waiting for something that could happen. Anxiety occurs when the body experiences stress, increasing hormone production. It creates an adrenaline rush that sometimes contributes to problems such as sleeping and the ability to calm down. Anxiety may also lead to racing thoughts and constant worrying.
Anxiety becomes a concern when a person is not able to function in their daily life. Sometimes the effects are so severe that relationships with family, friends, and coworkers suffer. Unexpected life changes or unavoidable circumstances may cause anxiety to worsen, also known as anxiety triggers. Triggers vary from person to person and influence how people experience stress differently.
What Happens When You Feel Fatigued?
The feeling of fatigue is something many people have experienced. Fatigue occurs when you feel low in energy or are constantly tired. The source of fatigue may be mental, emotional, physical, or a combination of these sources. When a person feels fatigued, they feel drained. It isn’t easy to concentrate and you may just want to sleep or relax. A person’s well-being is at stake when fatigue is a problem. A person may lack energy, motivation, confidence, and the ability to stay focused.
Sometimes fatigue is a sign of a medical condition. If it doesn’t go away after trying different remedies, you should look into physical causes for the drain. For some, they feel exhausted if they lack sleep, proper diet, or if they are dehydrated. Fatigue may be a sign of a mental health condition like anxiety or depression. These conditions can take a serious toll on your emotional and physical health when left untreated. When feeling fatigued, it is essential to understand the cause and work toward improving your well-being to reduce health risks.
THE PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL RELATIONSHIP OF ANXIETY AND FATIGUE
Many people wonder how anxiety can make you tired? Some refer to this as a form of mental exhaustion. It is a way anxiety and fatigue share emotional and physical connections that affect overall well-being. The body creates hormones to help defend itself against perceived threats. When the body produces too many hormones, it leads to spikes in adrenaline. When these spikes occur and fluctuate, the body feels tired as a result. Hormones from increased stress make it challenging for the body to regulate energy. Such elements contribute to sleep problems like insomnia and make it difficult for a person to fall asleep even while feeling tired.
Anxiety creates an abundance of energy in the brain through racing thoughts and worries. The brain is a muscle, and when it gets overworked, it gets fatigued. A person may feel tired but also experience brain fog as a result. It is a common symptom of people with depression and why many complain of fatigue and tiredness. Fatigue often follows anxiety, but each component can make daily living challenging. Fatigue builds up over time but may follow close behind anxiety, especially when you feel anxious often.
So, Does Anxiety Make You Feel Tired?
Do you wonder if your fatigue has anything to do with anxiety? There are a few things to notice that may help you understand if you have this connection. Fatigue may be caused by different things such as lack of sleep, chronic pain, mental health condition, or a deficiency in vitamin D. Here are some signs to help determine where your fatigue comes from.
A Caffeine Drink Doesn’t Help
A drink with caffeine, such as coffee or tea, doesn’t seem to give you an energy boost. People with anxiety may not get any energy from a caffeine drink. It is common for people to seek caffeine in the morning to help wake them up. Unfortunately, some only feel worse after one cup, and if they have anxiety symptoms, they could worsen while feeling jittery or with a racing heartbeat.
You Slept Last Night But Still Feel Tired
Some people feel better the next morning after getting to bed early the night before. Some adults need anywhere from seven to nine hours of rest each night to feel fully rested the next day. Maybe you’re running on a sleep deficit where you only sleep a few hours. Try getting to bed each night at the same time that allows for plenty of rest. If you wake up feeling tired, anxiety could be to blame.
Your Eating Habits Have Changed
People with anxiety experience changes in their diet or appetite. Some eat when they are stressed out. If they can’t decide what to eat, they won’t bother if they don’t have a desire. People may also experience symptoms related to their stomachs, keeping them from eating, such as constipation or nausea.
If you have problems with fatigue and you are not sure of the cause, contact your doctor. Sometimes making lifestyle changes may remedy the problem. If you have concerns about anxiety, your doctor may want to learn more about how fatigue affects you to assess your situation further.
What To Do When Anxiety Makes You Tired
Whether you have concerns about anxiety, fatigue, or both, there are things you can do to help yourself feel better. When you suspect anxiety is keeping you from getting the rest you need, consider the following suggestions:
- Take a nap to help yourself stay awake during the day. Experts suggest a nap no longer than 20 minutes. Some refer to this as a power nap. It may help give a boost of energy to get you through the next few hours. If you nap for too long, you may find it hard to fall asleep at bedtime. It may result in lost sleep and trigger more anxiety.
- Practice getting to bed at the same time every night with a routine. When it’s hard to fall asleep at night, take a few moments to help yourself sleep. Choose a time to be in bed by and turn off electronics at least an hour before bedtime. Consider doing some exercises such as stretches before bed to burn some energy and help your body calm down.
- Help your body relax with a calm activity. Before bedtime, help your body unwind with a quiet activity such as listening to soft music, reading a book, practicing meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Help your body eliminate any stress or anxiety from the day to make it easier to get comfortable and fall asleep.
- Work on keeping your anxiety levels to a minimum during the day. It may take some time to practice this, but as you learn what triggers your stress, consider things you can do to avoid it. Your fatigue may subside with time once you understand what actions to avoid.
- Keep caffeine to a minimum. Some people can’t get through the morning without a caffeine fix. Some studies show caffeine could be helpfulbut in limited quantities. Try to limit how much coffee you drink to encourage your body’s natural energy to come forward. Relying too much on energy drinks may throw off your sleep schedule.
- Let your eyes rest from technology. Taking a break from devices such as your smartphone, television, computer, or tablet helps the body calm down. The light from these devices acts as a stimulant to the brain.
- Get help for your anxietythrough therapy or counseling. Gaining control of your anxiety can reduce fatigue. You can work with a therapist to get to your anxiety’s underlying cause and learn additional methods to manage it.
These are just a few ideas on how to help yourself deal with fatigue and anxiety. Whatever methods you choose, give them time before saying they don’t work. Try to give things a couple of weeks to kick in. You may find it easier to do something a certain way to reduce risks while maintaining a safe living environment. Making changes and adjustments to your lifestyle is crucial to managing your emotional and physical well-being. While you may have symptoms that point to one or the other, getting clarification from a doctor may help you understand the best actions to take.
You can get help managing fatigue and anxiety. Be open to making changes to your routine and be consistent with your actions. You can learn more about how to cope with anxiety or fatigue by contacting your doctor.
DO YOU HAVE ANXIETY?
Everyone has concerns now and then. And it’s natural to be a little nervous in situations that involve risk. However, having an anxiety disorder is different. It can seriously affect your daily life and your ability to reach your long-term goals. One way to get an idea of whether you have an anxiety disorder is to take an anxiety test online. Once you know whether you have a significant problem, you can focus on finding out your unique answer to “What is good for anxiety?”