You go to bed at midnight and wake up at 8 a.m. A full eight hours of sleep should leave you feeling energized and ready to take on the day.
But what happens if you’re getting eight hours of sleep every night and still feel tired?
Sleep quality may be the cause.
Are you sleeping the correct amount of time?
Sue Trudeau, a Marshfield Clinic Health System sleep medicine nurse practitioner, sees many patients for exhaustion who say they get enough sleep at night, but actually don’t.
“People say they get eight hours, but when I ask when they go to bed and wake up, many times they don’t get eight hours,” Trudeau said. “They’re only getting five or six, and those few hours lost can add up.”
If you are in the right environment, get the correct eight hours, but you’re still tired, then a sleep study may be conducted.
Trudeau says people who are susceptible to exhaustion are people who sleep out of their normal bedtime range like night owls who need to get up early or elderly people who go to bed early and wake up early.
Shift workers who work overnight shifts never get a good night sleep, even when they get eight hours. This is because they are going to bed and waking up at times not normal to the body.
Is your sleep interrupted?
Some circumstances can explain why you’re always tired despite getting a good night sleep. One such circumstance is if you experience some form of pain.
“Pain doesn’t go away while you’re sleeping,” Trudeau said. “If you have a shoulder injury, for example, that can affect your sleep because you’re not comfortable and can fragment your sleep.”
A sleep study can sometimes detect a bigger problem. For example, if you get up to urinate often, for men this may indicate an enlarged prostate.
“I have seen very frequent restroom use during sleep studies,” Trudeau said. “This is clearly a sign of a bigger problem.”
Is your mood affecting your sleep?
Some sleep studies can also find frequent periodic limb movements, which in some cases can be a sign of a more serious medical condition.
A constant lack of sleep also can put you at risk for weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease, Trudeau said.
“These are health problems that may be more difficult to avoid even when you start getting a good night sleep,” she said.
If you get enough sleep at night but are still tired during the day, talk to your doctor. Scheduling a sleep study may be an option for you.