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Women's Health

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Why Am I So Tired?


Problems With Your Thyroid

It's a small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits in your neck. It makes a hormone that helps control how you use energy. When your thyroid gland is out of whack, you're out of whack.

"People with an underactive thyroid are going to feel tired," Friedman says. "Their cells aren't working well, they're sluggish, and their reflexes are slow."

Your doctor may test your blood for thyroid hormone to see if it's to blame for your fatigue.

Heart Disease

Extreme tiredness is a common symptom of congestive heart failure, which happens when it doesn't pump as well as it should. If you have it, your fatigue usually gets worse when you exercise. You might also have swelling in your arms or legs and shortness of breath.

Sleep Apnea

This disorder keeps you from getting enough oxygen when you sleep, which means you won't get real rest during the night.

"The brain notices you're not getting rid of your CO2, and it wakes up really briefly in an alarmed state," says Lisa Shives, MD, director of the Sleep Medicine Center at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. You don't even realize it, which makes it hard to figure out why you're so sleepy during the day.

"You don't get into REM -- the sleep that makes you feel best," Shives says.

A device called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine can help keep your airways open for a solid night's sleep.


If you're a woman who's going through menopause, you may find it hard to get good sleep. Your hormones change a lot at this time, which give you night sweats and hot flashes. That can keep you up at night and leave you dragging during the day.


It robs your brain of the chemicals it needs to work at its best. One of those is serotonin, which helps regulate your internal body clock.

Depression can lower your energy levels and make you feel tired during the day. You may also find it hard to fall asleep at night, or you might wake up earlier than you want in the morning.

Talk to you doctor if you think you're depressed. Talk therapy and medicine can help.

Reviewed on October 27, 2015
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