The Real Reason You Feel Tired After Doing Nothing

We all need rest after a long week. Unlike our busy weekdays, the weekends give us permission to relax, unwind, and simply do nothing at all. While this sounds heavenly, as we sit around and recuperate, why is it that we end up feeling more tired rather than energized? Fatigue can be triggered for any number of reasons — both mental and physical. Let's first take a look at possible mental associations between drowsiness and doing nothing before moving on to the physical.

If your idea of doing nothing involves spending the day lounging in your PJs, your clothing choice may be contributing to your feelings of sleepiness. While comfy and cozy, opting for pajamas over daytime clothes can prompt feelings of laziness. Executive director of the Northern California at Newport Institute Dr. Jennifer Dragonette told Yahoo!, "What many might deem insignificant can actually lead to dwindling motivation and productivity as you subconsciously associate your pajamas with bedtime or relaxation time." Dr. Dragonette went on to say that along with a lack of motivation comes a feeling of lethargy, stating, "Staying in our sleep clothes can potentially make us feel sluggish, but as with all things, moderation is key, and an occasional lazy day might feel like exactly what we need from time to time."

How to relax but still feel awake

But what is it that's physically going on in our bodies when we're doing nothing that leads to this feeling of sluggishness? Turns out, when we've been nestled into the couch for several hours, that inactivity actually affects our oxygen intake (via Bryanston). Keeping our body positioned in the same way over an extended period of time reduces our body's capacity for optimal oxygen intake, leaving us feeling low on energy and low on motivation.

Additionally, sometimes doing nothing can lead to snacking; and some snacks, like those with high amounts of sugar, can leave us feeling tired after a subsequent sugar crash (via Healthline).

While a "do nothing" day can serve as a much-needed break from the hectic nature of our everyday lives, for those looking to enjoy a day off while still remaining alert, experts at Verywell Mind offer some suggestions. First, start off your day with energy by eating breakfast items such as eggs or yogurt, and be sure to remain hydrated throughout the day. Additionally, making time for movement, even just a casual stroll through the park, can help stave off sleepiness. Lastly, have fun! Try occupying your time with activities that aren't overly laborious, yet still engaging, such as cranking up your favorite playlist, going out to dinner, playing a game, or spending time in the fresh air and sunshine.