Why does depression make you tired

Why Does Depression Make You Tired – 7 Common Factors

Depression doesn’t just make us feel sad and uninterested; it also brings a heavy feeling of tiredness. But this tiredness, often described as “Depression Make You Tired,” is more than just being physically worn out – it’s connected to our mental state. In this article, we will explore Why Does Depression Make You Tired and provide essential information to help individuals better understand and manage this aspect of their mental health journey.


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Depression goes beyond just feeling sad; it brings an intense tiredness linked to our mind. Understanding why this happens involves looking at how changes in brain chemicals, losing joy, negative thoughts, sleep troubles, emotional stress, being less active, and stress all add to this tiredness. Recognizing signs of depression versus usual tiredness and knowing when to get help can make treatment effective. Studies show imbalances in brain chemicals and changes in brain activity. Dealing with both mental and physical aspects is vital to reduce the ongoing tiredness caused by depression.

Top Questions

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Depression disrupts sleep patterns and affects neurotransmitters that regulate wakefulness, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness.
Yes, depression often brings extreme fatigue and low motivation, causing a lack of physical and mental energy.
Poor mental health, like depression, induces sleep problems, drains emotional energy, and affects brain chemistry, contributing to tiredness.

7 Psychological Reasons Why Depression Makes You Feel Tired

Why Depression Makes You Feel Tired

Depression is a state of ongoing sadness and disinterest in things that can also make you feel incredibly tired. This tiredness is more than just physical exhaustion; it’s deeply connected to your mind. To understand why depression leads to such fatigue, we need to look at a few important psychological factors that are all connected.

  1. Chemical Imbalance: Altered brain chemicals affect energy regulation, leading to fatigue.
  2. Joy Loss: Anhedonia reduces motivation, contributing to constant tiredness in depression.
  3. Negative Thoughts: Battling recurring negative thoughts drains mental energy, causing exhaustion.
  4. Sleep Disruption: Depression disturbs sleep, hindering body and mind recovery.
  5. Emotional Drain: Coping with intense feelings consumes mental energy, inducing fatigue.
  6. Reduced Activity: Depression’s inactivity reduces fitness and increases tiredness.
  7. Stress Impact: Depression disrupts HPA axis, affecting energy management, causing fatigue.

1. Imbalanced Brain Chemicals

Imbalanced Brain Chemicals when depression make you tired

Depression messes with the levels of certain brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These chemicals not only affect your mood but also control how energetic you feel. When these chemicals are lacking, your brain struggles to manage your energy levels properly, which contributes to the overwhelming fatigue.

2. Not Finding Joy

Not Finding Joy

A significant aspect of depression is known as “anhedonia,” which causes things that once brought happiness to no longer have the same effect. This absence of pleasure makes it challenging to gather motivation for even everyday activities. This reduced drive contributes to the constant fatigue experienced by individuals living with depression.

3. Exhausted by Negative Thoughts

Exhausted by Negative Thoughts in depression

Depression frequently triggers persistent negative thoughts that resurface. Managing these thoughts demands significant mental exertion, leading to considerable fatigue. This cognitive burden contributes to an overall sense of tiredness, even without physical exertion.

4. Messed-Up Sleep: Less Restorative Rest

Messed-Up Sleep

Depression can disrupt your sleep schedule, making it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or enjoy restful sleep. Quality sleep is essential for your body and mind’s rejuvenation. When sleep is disturbed, your body misses out on proper revitalization, resulting in persistent tiredness, regardless of the hours slept.

5. Drained by Strong Emotions

Drained by Strong Emotions

Depression often comes with strong feelings like sadness, guilt, and hopelessness. Managing these feelings takes a lot of mental energy. Dealing with these emotions constantly can leave you feeling emotionally drained, which adds to the overall sense of fatigue.

6. Doing Less: Becoming Inactive

Becoming Inactive

When you’re depressed, you might not feel like doing much, which can lead to less physical activity. This lack of movement can make your body less fit and healthy, making you feel even more tired even when you’re not doing much physically.

7. Stress Messes with Energy

Stress Messes with Energy

Your body’s stress and energy control system, called the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis, gets messed up by depression. Chronic stress, which often comes with depression, disrupts this system. When the HPA axis is off-balance, your body struggles to manage its energy, leading to more feelings of fatigue.

So, the tiredness that comes with depression is a mix of many things: messed-up brain chemicals, negative thoughts, disrupted sleep, strong emotions, and even the way your body handles stress. It’s important to tackle both the mental and physical parts of depression to start feeling less tired.

How to Tell If You’re Depressed or Just Really Tired

How to Tell If You're Depressed or Just Really Tired

Figuring out if you’re dealing with depression or just feeling tired requires careful thinking.

  1. Mood Over Time: Depression means feeling down for a while, not just momentarily tired.
  2. Not Enjoying Things: Depression often makes you lose interest in things you used to love, which is different from feeling tired.
  3. Constant Negative Thoughts: Depression brings negative thoughts that stick around, unlike regular tiredness.
  4. Physical Changes: Depression can affect how much you eat, sleep, and how energetic you feel.
  5. Heaviness Inside: Depression makes you feel hopeless, not quite the same as tiredness.
  6. How Long It Lasts: Depression hangs on longer than a short bout of tiredness.
  7. Daily Life Impact: Depression affects your everyday life more than just being tired.
  8. Pulling Away: Depression might make you isolate yourself, which isn’t common with tiredness.
  9. Getting Help: If signs of depression stick around or worsen, it’s wise to talk to a professional.

In the journey of battling depression, remember that your feelings are valid, and seeking help is a sign of strength. Reach out to a professional to reclaim your happiness and well-being. There’s a brighter path ahead – don’t walk it alone.

When to Seek Professional Help

If feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and fatigue persist for weeks, impacting daily life, or if thoughts of self-harm arise, seek a mental health professional. Additionally, sudden shifts in behavior or severe emotional distress warrant timely intervention. Seeking help ensures proper assessment and guidance towards effective treatment.


In 2022, the journal “Depression and Anxiety” published a study revealing that individuals with depression possess diminished levels of specific neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters play roles in controlling mood, motivation, and energy levels.

The “Frontiers in Psychiatry” journal featured a 2021 study highlighting altered brain region activity in those with depression, notably the amygdala and hippocampus. These regions manage emotion processing and sleep regulation.


In simple terms, the fatigue that comes with depression is a mix of things like changes in brain chemistry, emotional stress, disrupted sleep habits, and even how our body handles stress. If we recognize both the mental health condition and physical sides of depression, we can start to ease the constant tiredness, a common symptom of depression, that affects 90% of people. Knowing the difference between depression and regular tiredness is crucial, and realizing when to seek professional help is very important for getting the right treatment at the right time.


Are depressed people more sleepy?

Yes, depression can lead to sleep disturbances, making individuals feel both excessively sleepy and fatigued during the day.

Is sleep good for people with depression?

Yes, improving sleep quality through treatment or lifestyle changes can positively impact depression symptoms, reducing tiredness and enhancing overall well-being.

Is depression curable or just treatable?

Depression is treatable. Many individuals recover fully with appropriate treatment, which may include therapy, medication, and lifestyle adjustments. However, “cure” can depend on factors like the severity and individual response to treatment.

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