ZocdocAnswersWhy do I constantly feel tired?

Question

Why do I constantly feel tired?

I'm a 20 year old college student. Most days, I feel exhausted as little as 2 hours after waking up. I make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, and sometimes more, so it's not an issue of not getting enough sleep. It's difficult to get through a day without taking at least one nap. Could this be a diet issue, or is there another cause for persistent fatigue?

Answer

There are many things that could cause fatigue in a 20 year old student, and not all of them have to do with enjoying college life too much (although that is obviously the most common cause!). First, sleep hygiene is often poor. This has to do with the timing of how and where you sleep, how interrupted it is, and what else is going on. There is some very good advice about how to improve in this aspect available online. Another idea is sleep quality. Many people in America, even young people, have difficulty with sleep apnea, where the soft tissue in the back of the throat becomes floppy as you fall asleep, and started to block your airway. In order to breathe again, you have to partially wake up, which is very bad for your sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea can add up to be a significant medical issue for many people over time, causing heart problems, among others. Other issues might possibly include thyroid disease, which would be more likely if you have a family history of the same. Finally, there are endless numbers of other issues that can cause fatigue as a symptom, some of which are serious. Please see a primary care doctor to follow up.

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