Why Do You Feel so Tired All the Time?

7 min read

When you wake up, does it take you 30 minutes to "actually wake up"? It is common for many people to need long periods of time to feel awake and it's usually because they are still tired. 

For some, it's setting 7 alarms in the morning - one every 5 minutes. For others its hitting the snooze button repeatedly. And for others it's that cup of coffee that is needed to start the day. The tiredness tends to stick around and usually follows you back into bed. 

Regardless of your technique for dealing with the extreme tiredness that hits you when you wake up - there is a reason for it. 

This reason dates back at least a few months and it's the source for more than your constant fatigue.

So Why are You so Tired All the Time?

I don't want to get all "sciensy" on you but i'll keep it short, I promise. 

Have you heard of cortisol?

It's also known as the stress hormone. We release cortisol through the adrenal glands when we face a stressful situation.

Cortisol triggers the fight or flight response, the body's natural reaction to stress. We can either run from the stressful situation or we can confront it and fight it. 

Cortisol is a helpful hormone because it signals the body to react. Without cortisol, we would be indifferent to stress. On the surface, it sounds kinda awesome to be indifferent to stress, right?

Well imagine this - you're at the zoo admiring a silverback Gorilla when he suddenly lets loose from captivity. If you were indifferent to stress because cortisol was not being produced, you would just stand there unconcerned. The gorilla might or might not attack you, but standing there would put you in great danger. This is exactly why cortisol production is crucial for our survival. 

So Why Am I Telling You All This?

Every stressful situation releases cortisol and adrenaline. When danger passes, you return to a balanced state. But, what happens when you face stressful moments frequently, every single day?

It can be unrealistic demands from your boss or being financially tight on bills every month but living under constant stress means your adrenal glands are producing cortisol non stop.

Why Does This Matter?

When cortisol is produced at high rates, it remains in your bloodstream.

This creates anxiety.

Feeling anxious is still part of your fight-or-flight response. When you are under stress, it's natural to remain alert and hyperaware of possible danger. 

Are You Starting to See Where This is Going?

Cortisol production causes stress, stress causes anxiety, anxiety causes fatigue. Why? Because being alert, fidgety, uneasy, scared for no reason are all super tiring for your body

If your job is stressful because of responsibilities, deadlines or high expectations - then your cortisol production is probably off the charts. 

The problem is that cortisol does more than trigger the fight-or-flight response.

Cortisol's Functions in the Body:

  • Regulate blood sugar
  • Regulate metabolism
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Form memories

If you have experienced weight gain, inflammation or memory problems and you also have a stressful job or lifestyle then high cortisol production is to blame.

What Are Other High Cortisol Symptoms?

  • Acne
  • Easy bruising
  • Weight gain of midsection or back
  • Severe fatigue
  • Weak muscles
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Thinning skin
  • Purple stretch marks
  • Face inflammation/rounding of face

So to answer the initial question I presented you - why are you so tired all the time?

It's because when you have a stressful job or lifestyle then you produce too much cortisol. When there is too much cortisol in the bloodstream you can develop anxiety - even if it's not super obvious at first.

The reason you feel tired is because cortisol production has literally burnout out your adrenal glands. Now they act like a broken machine with the same function - day or night, asleep or awake. 

If you wake up tired even after a full night of sleep it's because part of your body was hard at work, producing cortisol. This is also the reason you may have trouble falling or staying asleep. 

It's all connected to stress.

So What Solutions Are There?

Reducing stress will not do much for those who have burned out their adrenal glands. This is because they will continue to produce cortisol even during non-stressful situations. 

For those with chronic stress and fatigue, the solution is to slow down the production of Cortisol. This is where CBD comes in.

Early research into the effects of CBD suggests it can effectively slow down cortisol production. (study 1, study 2, study 3)

The calming and soothing effects of CBD result from blocking cortisol production. Meaning the fight-or-flight response can be turned off. It's like turning of the fire alarm after putting out the fire. 

This interaction triggers a response in the body. You feel relaxed, level-headed and no longer nervous for no reason. Once the stress and anxiety subside, you can rediscover deep, restful sleep. You can wake up with energy again and regain control of your day.

Is there a way to check if high cortisol is the reason for the symptoms you may be experiencing?

You can check your cortisol levels by speaking to your doctor. They can do a blood, urine or saliva test to see your cortisol levels. A CT scan may also be used to detect abnormalities. 

Having high cortisol levels for extended periods can have adverse effects on your health. It's best to seek medical advice if you want to be on the safe side. 


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