Why Does Depression Make You Feel So Tired?

Feeling tired and unable to work once in a while is normal. It also helps your body restore energy that goes into everyday tasks and enables you to return to your daily routine. But being chronically tired can be harmful to you. Such tiredness or a lack of motivation to do anything might be caused by depression.
But the question arises: Why does depression make you feel tired? & How can you recover from the effects of being fatigued?

We answer these queries & many more ahead, but let us look at what causes fatigue and depression and how you can differentiate between the two.

Why Does Depression Make You Feel So Tired?
Why does depression make you feel so tired?

Natural Reasons For Fatigue and Depression

Depression and tiredness and depression are somewhat linked. Depression can increase your chances of suffering from the former conditions. To understand the contrast between these conditions, here are the differences between their causes.

Natural causes for depression include:
-brain chemistry,
-medical conditions,
-substance abuse,
-childhood or significant trauma,
-family history,
-feeling pain for extended periods, etc.

Natural causes for fatigue, tiredness, and exhaustion include:
-tiring activity in the day,
-a lack of physical activity,
-extended periods of stress,
-physical exertion, etc.

Depression is a chronic mental health condition, while normal fatigue lasts for a day or more under normal circumstances. Likewise, their causes are quite different too. Fatigue is more controllable and can be prevented through regular self-care in most cases. A physical and mental health checkup is recommended if you are fatigued for more time. It also helps to check for other symptoms of depression and ideally get a psychiatric assessment if you doubt your fatigue is caused by depression. 

6 Science-Backed Reasons Why Does Depression Make You Feel Tired?

1. Loss of concentration

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions can harm your working memory, concentration, and focus. A lack of attention can cause a decrease in performance across various areas of life. It leads you to doubt your abilities and may make you more depressed.

So, why does depression make you feel so tired by affecting your attention? Trying to concentrate more requires more significant effort, and doing so can leave you exhausted.

2. Reduced interest and pleasure in the activities that you once used to enjoy 

As you gradually lose track of your former interests, it becomes harder to find joy in life. Man is a creature of habit, and losing connection with your habits, hobbies, or passions can leave you without anything meaningful to fill your time. Losing your moxie leads to boredom and a lack of motivation to do anything.

You are more likely to turn to short-term stimulation, such as overeating or distracting yourself with social media, your favorite series, or other similar activities. These activities can lead you into a negative loop of escapism from the problem of lack of meaning and can be substituted for self-care or self-improvement exercises instead.

3. Disturbances in your sleep schedule

One of the significant causes of depression is insomnia or an unbalanced sleep cycle. Many people who are depressed also have problems sleeping or suffer from an inadequate quality of sleep. Disturbances in your sleep schedule can leave you tired, groggy, or dizzy. They can also lead to health complications and aggravate the other symptoms of depression or other allied conditions.  

4. Changed relationship with food

Depression and fatigue can lead you to eat unhealthy foods and use foods as a coping mechanism to bring stimulation and interest into your life, or it can take away your appetite completely. Your appetite can be gone as you lose all interest and pleasure in eating. Eating food becomes a chore, and you can face severe complications if you no longer try to eat or get sufficient nutrition.

Eating unhealthy foods can lead you to become obese, a condition associated with a sedentary lifestyle that makes it harder to recover from depression. According to an article by Alexandros M.V, obesity is linked with daytime sleepiness and fatigue, making it a significant cause of depression-induced tiredness. Insufficient nutrition can tire you as you don’t have the basics to function and your body chooses to enter energy conservation mode.

5. Negative inner monologue

A negative and self-loathing inner monologue can take your time, energy, and motivation away. You begin to doubt yourself, losing all sense of hope and opting out of projects with any chance of failure. A pessimistic view of yourself causes you to distance yourself from people and may even hurt your existing relationships. Avoiding and fighting intrusive thoughts is necessary as they can leave you mentally exhausted and worsen your condition. 

6. Overwhelming physical and emotional pain 

Depression and tiredness make any pain feel worse than it already is. It also draws more of your attention to the pain, making it seem that way. Chronic pain is also another cause of being depressed. It can make you lose your will to live, leading to suicidal ideation and self-harm. The critical thing to remember is that there is more to life than pain.

Depression and exhaustion can have some physical symptoms, such as joint pain, limb pain, back pain, and difficulty sleeping, leading to headaches, dizziness, and other problems. These issues combined can make it hard for you to function normally and leave you in an exhausted state where you cannot do anything.

How To Deal With Fatigue and Depression?

You must first get diagnosed with the same when suffering from prolonged depression fatigue-like states. A diagnosis can clarify and act as the first concrete step toward recovery. To start dealing with depression yourself, you can:-

-add exercise into your routine,
-start eating healthy food(mindfully),
-ensure you are consuming the necessary nutrients and avoid deficiency,
-nurture a robust immune system,
-fulfill your body’s sleep requirements,
-avoid caffeine, alcohol, and other substances,
-cultivate supportive relationships,
-spend time with your loved ones, etc.

Joining a support group can move you one step closer to getting help. Such groups usually have people who have experienced and recovered from the same things you are currently going through. They can help you with wisdom, insights, and resources to recover. 

Someone recovering from depression is more sensitive to what you’re going through. There’s a stigma toward mental health in society because many people haven’t gone through it and thus can’t understand mental illnesses.

However, the best step for recovery you can take is opting for therapy. Therapy provides a system to recover, personalized according to your needs, cognitions, habits, and lifestyle. Many therapy platforms and options have become available online, and the tools for better mental health are now available a click away. 


Depression is one of the leading causes of fatigue, tiredness, and exhaustion. Prolonged or recurring tiredness may indicate that you are suffering from this condition. Upon understanding the six reasons why does depression make you feel tired, you can take concrete steps to improve your mental well-being.

Being tired can sap away your motivation, and so can toxic relationships. As we discussed, one way of dealing with depression is developing supportive and caring relationships with others. However, you cannot establish a beneficial relationship with everyone, and detaching from someone who does not benefit your life is a justified option. Here is a blog post explaining how and why you should detach from someone.

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