Home // Philosophical posts // Philosophical post #1 : On tiredness

Philosophical post #1 : On tiredness

Bags under her eyes

Semi-gratuitous picture of a tired woman.

I am tired all the time, like so many people.  In a recent imaginary study, 65% of adults reported that they feel tired or very tired more than half the time.  And also, a mere 7% of statistics are made up on the spot.

Actually, I retract that comment.  I’m not always tired, because many days I sleep late, until I am good and ready to wake up.

When I was unemployed, I sometimes tried to get up after 4, 5 or 6 hours of sleep.  I figured that if I could force myself to get up early every day, eventually my body clock would be normal again.

But after waking up, checking my emails, having a bath, and having breakfast, I found myself with nothing to do other than browse the internet and watch tv.  Ever noticed how the internet is good late at night, but not in the day?

Of course, I could have done the laundry and hoovering, but that’s a pretty miserable way to spend a day, isn’t it 😉

There is only one way to cope with being tired.  The way to cope with being tired is to be busy. My father complains almost every day that he is tired.  But he goes to work, does an interesting job, comes home and does fun things like go to play cards with his friends, and so on.  All of his hours of the day are full.  This is how you cope with being tired.

 

  • The famous Battle of Morpork, he strongly suspected had consisted of about two thousand men lost in a swamp on a cold, wet day, hacking one another into oblivion with rusty swords. What would the last King of Ankh have said to a pack of ragged men who knew they were outnumbered, outflanked and outgeneralled? Something with bite, something with edge, something like a drink of brandy to a dying man; no logic, no explanation, just words that would reach right down through a tired man’s brain and pull him to his feet by his testicles.
  • Terry Pratchett Wyrd Sisters 1989.  RIP

photo credit: via photopin (license)

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30 Comments

  • I have been having this problem recently. I stopped working and moved to Sweden a month ago. Sometimes I can’t keep my eyes open past 9 or 10 at night. Sometimes I stay up all night. Then, I wake up after a few hours sleep and am tired all day. I think you are spot on, though. Even when I am so tired I can barely stay awake, as soon as I get into a project or find something interesting to do it seems like the tiredness doesn’t matter. I should really stay busy during those late nights. I bet I could get a lot done.

  • Aha, insightful observation. If we want to stop feeling exhausted, it is necessary to differentiate between whether it is our body, mind or spirit that needs revitalizing. To figure out where our daily activity is lacking, and then to keep a balance between the three will bring more fulfillment and energy to carry on happily.

  • I feel like I am always tired. No matter how much coffee I consume, I seem to be in a constant state of dragging ass. I feel the need to take a nap every day that I have downtime — as opposed to working on a hobby or reading a book; however, after I take my nap, I immediately regret it. I feel like poo and have usually slept way longer than I intended. I feel like I’ve wasted so much precious time on unnecessary sleeping. Still, the next day, I feel like I am too tired to survive the day with getting a little extra shut-eye. I find that you’re right though. When I’m busy with things I absolutely HAVE to do, I feel less tired, perhaps because I know there is nothing I can do about it.

    • The Most Ordinary Man Ever

      June 23, 2015 at 8:36 pm

      I’m no doctor, but I think I spotted your problem. Try drinking less coffee, not more. Thanks very much for your comment.

  • Being tired is often viewed as a root problem when it is the symptom of something else. it is good to inventory your eating habits and daily activities to insure you aren’t doing anything unhealthy to cause the problem.

    • The Most Ordinary Man Ever

      June 23, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      That’s an interesting thought. I tried doing a calorie count, on my phone, recording everything I ate and how many calories it had. Even though I ate less than 2000 calories a day, I didn’t lose weight. Doctors are always saying the same things – eat healthily, exercise etc. but so many of us find it hard to comply! Thanks for your comment!

  • I feel tired majority of the day, unless I am doing something that I am captivated by. Even when there is something that interest me I am still a little tired. My biggest problem is poor sleep. I suffer from insomnia, and it is mainly because I am a deep thinker. I try to find time through out the day to think about all the thoughts that consume my mind, but I am not always successful when its bed time. I learned that if I schedule thought time, work out, and maintain a proper diet I can fall asleep better. The key is to be so tired from the day, that when its time to sleep I fall asleep instantly. Usually, when I have good sleep I am not so tired during the day.

    • The Most Ordinary Man Ever

      June 23, 2015 at 8:45 pm

      Some people would disagree – people say you get better sleep if you are not falling asleep the second you hit the pillow – a healthy sleep routine means that you are lying in bed staring at the ceiling for half an hour or so before you get to sleep. I don’t know whether it’s true but I suspect it probably is from my personal experience.

      Thought time is great. That’s why mundane activities like hanging out the washing, or walking on your own, can seem dull but they are really healthy, because it gives you that time to meditate and your brain has a chance to rest and rebuild. Thanks very much for your comments!

  • I needed every ounce of humor in this post today. Thank you. I am chronically exhausted and yet, I don’t do anything. I wonder sometimes – am I tired because I do nothing or am I tired because I’m now in my 30’s? I wish I knew. My children make me tired, but this persistence in sleepiness goes beyond being a parent. I am so tired sometimes that I can’t sleep.So, I stay up even later, doing absolutely nothing. Am I alone in this? Or are my suspicions correct and this is a rising epidemic?

    • The Most Ordinary Man Ever

      June 23, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      It’s an epidemic nowadays according to the newspapers and online sources, yes. My friend’s Dad said that once he hit 30 he suddenly got tired all the time. I’m no doctor but I would say that keeping busy and doing exercise (both light exercise and occasional high-intensity) would help. Thanks for your comment!

  • Hmm I think that when we have nothing to do (like when you were unemployed for example) we may feel unmotivated. I don’t believe is tiredness exactly, it may be boredom or a general unwillingness to act on anything. That’s why the Internet is always such a good distraction.

    I do agree with you on the part about keeping yourself busy. If you go for long periods of time without doing anything, you kinda get used to the idea of wasting your life away. It’s a cycle. You feel unmotivated/tired/bored, you struggle to get even simple things done, you get used to avoiding doing anything and then you’re even more unmotivated/tired/bored to get out of this self-created passiveness.

    Good post, I agree with the idea of keeping busy.

    • The Most Ordinary Man Ever

      June 23, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      I think you are right about the vicious circle of getting worse and worse. I believe the only way to get out of a slump of depression is to pull yourself out of the hole – nobody else will do it for you. It’s good to do small jobs, or break down big jobs into smaller jobs. So for example, if your problem is that you are jobless, your acheivement for the day might be to ring a job agency, rather than get a job all at once. Or if you’re overweight, your achievement wouldn’t be to lose 25 pounds, but rather to go for a walk. Thanks for your comment!

  • I can relate to your observation completely!

    I am currently on summer break from teaching, and I am finding I am more tired now than I was when I had a full day of teaching and a two-hour commute.

    I think it has to do with being productive and contributing something to society, or at least your family. At the end of a long day of work (and sometimes play), it’s easy to fall into that bed knowing you’ve done something. However, when you’re not being productive physically or mentally, it seems that sleep is a good alternative until work finds its way back into your world.

    • The Most Ordinary Man Ever

      June 23, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      Feeling useful is so important. It’s so easy to stay in bed when you don’t have anything to get up for. It always struck me that people fight for the best, most useful jobs, and this is an unpleasant aspect of human culture. In my voluntary work when I have worked for charities in the past, it was upsetting when other people would take the best jobs and I was left with the worst jobs. I am quite a passive person so I generally don’t stick up for myself. So when I worked for a theatre (unpaid) I was stuck collecting tickets every time whilst the old ladies would man the bar and sell drinks. I always wanted to have a go at selling drinks but I never did. Maybe I should fight harder to get the best jobs and feel more useful. Anyway your comment made me think. Thanks very much for joining in the conversations! Thanks for your comment!

  • heyitsjennybear

    June 23, 2015 at 9:03 am

    This article makes sense. The more bored we are, the more our body is going to want to go into sleep mood. If we stay busy then our body won’t try to shut down on us. This generation is full of lazy, disrespectful teens (and some adults) that don’t think they have anything better to do. Therefore, they are tired all the time.
    I know while I’m at school I feel awake, but right as j get home I just want to sleep for a million years. I try to drink coffee and stay up long enough to do my homework. As I’m busy at school, my body doesn’t have time to think it’s tired. But at home, I become restful.

    • The Most Ordinary Man Ever

      June 23, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      When I was at school I used to drink Pepsi Max and do my homework. I got good grades but my sleep started to suffer, possibly because of the caffeine. I had a part time weekend job and I started missing it. If I could go back in time I would tell myself to stay off the caffeine. But it’s not that simple of course, but caffeine is a bad thing. Thanks for your comment!

  • This is so true. I find that I am applying for positions in more clubs next year at my university so that I’m not lying around lazy and sluggish all day. Even coffee hasn’t been able to keep me “awake” in a functional sense anymore. The only thing that does is staying busy busy busy, and that I will do. 🙂 Hopefully, the internet doesn’t lure me for too long; I never seem to be able to get out of that procrastinating cycle once I’m in it.

  • aliciadow5898

    July 8, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    I’m 32 weeks pregnant and about to have my wedding in my house this weekend so we are busy pulling up and replacing carpet, re-painting and getting new furniture. No matter how tired I am or how late it is when I lay down, I can never fall asleep. It really sucks and i’m over-tired. On top of this, I was planning the wedding and trying to find my son-to-be husband a job. Hopefully when all this is over I can get some half-way decent sleep. I’ve always suffered from some type of sleeping disorder though.. It has just never been this bad.

    • The Most Ordinary Man Ever

      July 24, 2015 at 7:29 pm

      I am really sorry that you are struggling so badly. I hope things get better for you as soon as possible. Best of luck with the pregnancy. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  • I’ve been out of work for about 5 months now due to my pregnancy. Of course, having a baby adds extra things but I have noticed that on the days where I really don’t have much to do I am sleeping all day. The days where I work from home are the days where I can go all day until I decide its bedtime without sleeping. So, based off your post and my experience the lack of activity is really the cause? It’s interesting honestly. Great post!

    • The Most Ordinary Man Ever

      July 24, 2015 at 7:33 pm

      It’s great to hear another perspective! There are a lot of things to think about in what you wrote. Am I right in thinking you sleep at different times of the day but you get a good amount of sleep on most days? I am a man and I don’t have any kids so we are in two different worlds! Thank you very much for your comment 🙂

  • For me, sleep is the most vital part of my day. Sleep determines how I act, and shows how strong my worth it put out throughout the day. I generally get around 6 hours of sleep through school years. Is it enough? With after school activities and loads of homework I feel like I am not getting enough sleep.

    • The Most Ordinary Man Ever

      August 15, 2015 at 2:10 am

      I dont think six hours is enough really. If you are tired during the day, maybe get more sleep. Cut down on cafdeine. Thanks for ur comment

  • I have issues with fatigue but they are clearly health related. They are caused by chronic conditions and the best way I have found to cope is to sleep enough and keep busy when I’m awake.

  • I agree I’d rather be tired because I’m doing something meaningful than being tired because I’m depressed and don’t have energy for life. I’ve been unemployed too and it’s not the best feeling. People want to feel good about their talents and decisions in life that’s why I always feel guilty when I’m doing nothing productive which isn’t a great way to live. Status anxiety gets me all the time but these days I try to think more about my own needs than what other people think.

  • The College Student

    October 1, 2015 at 5:29 am

    As a college student who is busy with school and work, I find that even if I am productive throughout the day, I end up tired during my activities, whether I want to be or not. Of course, the fact that I usually get 5-6 hours a night might have something to do with it, but that’s better than pulling one all-nighter after another, which is what I did last year.

    Whenever I have “down time,” which is the few hours in between classes when I have nothing but homework to do, I nap in my car, but somehow end up more tired than before – resulting in a bleary-eyed student who isn’t listening to the lecture.

    Interestingly, in contrary to your opinion about being busy, the time that I am most awake is night time, when I have nothing going on; usually from 10PM to 2AM (hence the reason I’m commenting at 1:30 in the morning – let’s not mention the fact that I have an 8AM class tomorrow; hehe).

  • Keeping busy does stop you from being tired most of the time. I think it’s because you’re not thinking about being tired. You have other things on your mind, and you just keep going and going. You don’t get tired until you stop. You just need to get back into work and you’ll get it all back together.

    • The Most Ordinary Man Ever

      October 25, 2015 at 12:53 am

      Yes, keeping busy is always nice. I’m sure it’s important to have some downtime though as well. Thanks for the comment !

  • I am almost always tired, every second excluding the few moments right when I wake up and I’m very comfortable and the world is just a very bright, nice place to be. But when I’m really awake, and facing reality, I’m tired. I think the kind of tiredness that plagues me is most likely mental/emotional tiredness, though, as I do get a decent amount of sleep every night. I agree that being busy is the only way to cope with being tired, as being busy takes your mind off of what might be making you tired, and gives you something to focus on instead.

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