Why is studying so exhausting [9 Reasons]

Almost all students in at least some part of their lives get tired or exhausted while studying. I was also a victim of being exhausted studying thus, I want to shed light on the topic. Student fatigue can be a big problem because it causes burn out which students now experience at a younger age than before. One way to solve this problem is to know why this is happening. Thus, this article will talk about the various reasons why students get exhausted studying.

The main reason why people get so exhausted studying is that they don’t have a deep reason for why they are studying. If we have a deep reason to study, it would not feel very exhausting at all. However, it can also be that they’re not taking care of their body, thus their energy levels are low.

Here, I have listed the different reasons why studying becomes exhausting.

Here are the reasons why studying can get exhausting:

  1. You Are Studying for a Long Time
  2. Not Having a Deep Reason To Study
  3. Not Exercising
  4. Not Eating Right
  5. Constantly Being Distracted
  6. Overthinking Can Cause You To Get Tired
  7. Not Motivated
  8. Not Getting Enough Sleep
  9. Not Studying Smart

Now that I’ve given you the summary, let’s discuss each of these reasons one by one.

Why is studying so exhausting infographics

You Are Studying for a Long Time

The first reason and common to students that are hardworking is that they are just studying for a long time.

People feel tired after studying might be because they are studying for a long time. Our brain uses too much energy, especially when learning. Furthermore, you might be really focused on your studies that you’ve only felt fatigued after you’re finished studying.

If you’re studying for a long time, it can be that you’re in a deep work state.

This is normal for students.

When we are so focused on our work, we tend to forget about the time. Because of this, we lost track of our time studying.

What happens is that while we are studying, our brain is using too much energy. The brain itself uses a lot of energy. While it is only 2% of our actual weight, 20% of the energy we use is used by our brain.

However, if you are using your brain for learning, it is using much more than that.

Combine that with studying for longer periods, this means you are using energy at a rapid pace.

This usually happens to me when I start studying for more than 4 hours. This happens when I’m in complete focus.

This means that if you’ve experienced this, you have to regain your energy and sleep. It is perfectly natural for you to get tired if you’re studying for longer periods.

However, if you’re just starting out or you feel tired just after studying for just 15 minutes, then there are other problems we need to look out for.

Thus, the following other reasons here can serve as a means for you to find out what’s happening.

Also, I recommend you to check out this article where I talked about why are people having a hard time studying. It’s a good read alongside this article: Why is studying so hard or difficult?

Not Having a Deep Reason To Study

Not having a deep reason to study is one of the leading causes of getting tired when studying. The reason is that they just don’t find interest in what they are studying. This causes our body to feel tired because you will just prefer to do other things.

Many including me have experienced being sleepy just after a few minutes of reading a book.

The reason for that is you are bored and the reason why you are bored is that you don’t see any deep reason to study.

Studying just to pass the exams or tests is a shallow reason to study. I was a victim of this and caused me to hate reading.

But think of it this way, if you really love what you’re studying, if you think what you’re studying is interesting, then it will not be the same.

In fact, you can get very attentive when the topic is about games, or you’re reading forums on game guides. Or you’re looking to study how to make a video.

Did you see what I mean?

Most of the time, you get tired not because you’re tired, but it is because you are bored with what you’re doing. That happens because you don’t have a solid why on why you’re studying.

Sometimes, it is the topic that’s to blame. You just don’t see any advantage in learning the topic, or you just hate your teacher so much that the things they teach or the way they teach is boring.

Thus, you see the subject itself as boring.

But when we’re talking about the subjects you really love, then you are glad to study and would study for a long time until you feel tired because you’re studying for a long time.

As you can see, find a way to make things interesting. Find a solid why for doing things. If you are interested in finding more about the power of knowing your “why”, then I recommend you check this article about people who love studying and why not all people hate it: Does everyone hate studying?

Not Exercising

Exercising has been found to increase energy levels in the long run. Plus, exercise keeps us awake throughout the day naturally. One of the main reasons why people feel tired when studying is just because their energy levels are low. Thus, exercise can help in preventing this.

Not only does exercise keeps our energy levels up, but our brain also improves with exercise.

A research study found out that exercising can increase the number of brain cells and learning. So, you will be better at learning when you start exercising.[1]

Furthermore, exercising can keep us awake naturally.

While caffeine also works in keeping us awake, you can’t always take caffeine. It disrupts our sleep and there are people who are very sensitive to caffeine.

Thus, they can start to do some pushups or jumping jacks to keep them awake while studying.

Another is that exercise increases our energy levels by increasing the mitochondria concentration in our cells.[2]

In basic biology, we know that mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell. Thus, with their increased number, we will generally have more energy throughout the day which can be used for studying or to prevent fatigue.

So, why not add some exercise such as jogging to your routine? Not only does it make you have increased energy levels, but it would also make you smarter.

Not Eating Right

Not eating right can be a cause of becoming exhausted when studying. The reason is that studying takes up a lot of energy from our body. When we don’t eat right, we won’t have enough energy to support our learning thus, we feel tired.

It is normal for students especially if they’re young to not take care of their bodies.

In fact, it is common for them to each junk foods which is not good.

While these can provide energy through calories, they are not a good source of nutrients for a healthy brain and body.

Not only that, since it’s not good for your body, not eating right can significantly affect your energy levels.

Therefore, you would feel tired more often.

Another reason is that not eating right can cause us to get sick. Remember that we are always low in energy levels when sick.

So it would mean that you can’t even study well because you’re tired

As you can see, there are numerous disadvantages of not eating right. We need a balanced meal with proper nutrition in order for us to function properly.

Not only our body but for our brain.

So start eating right so you can have more energy levels to be used for studying or doing other things you love.

Constantly Being Distracted

Distractions are one of the reasons why you feel tired when studying. The reason is because of the concept of switching cost which is the energy it takes just to switch on another task. If you’re distracted, you’re wasting a lot of energy with distractions.

If we want to be productive, we have to learn that distraction is an enemy.

The main reason is the concept of switching cost.

Basically, it is the price we have to pay for switching our focus. For example, from studying to browsing social media and then back to studying and so forth.

The problem here is that the average time it takes to switch focus is about 15 minutes. This means that you’re wasting about 15 minutes of your time and energy just to switch on studying and distractions.

Which means that you are wasting your energy. And as we know, wasting energy means that you will get tired much faster than necessary.

I’ve discussed more on the concept of switching costs in my article about goals, if you want to learn more about switching costs and what is the optimal number of goals to have when it comes to achieving them, then I recommend you to read that article: Is it bad to have too many goals?

The next reason for distractions causing fatigue is because generally, they seem more fun compared to studying.

As I’ve said, sometimes, we are not tired but we feel tired because we are bored.

One type and a common form of distraction are games. For most students, games are relatively more fun than studying. Because of that, we feel bored when it is time to study.

What happens is that because of the feeling of boredom, they can easily get sleepy or tired even before studying.

Furthermore, the thought of games can lurk on their heads, thus preventing them from concentrating on studying.

This in turn makes learning unproductive since not concentrating on tasks is actually not efficient.

Overthinking Can Cause You To Get Tired

Overthinking can cause us to get tired when studying. The simple reason being thinking takes up too much energy from our body. Learning takes too much energy and overthinking, the combination of the two can easily tire a person out.

It is normal for a person to worry about something, but it is a problem when it comes to learning.

Overthinking is basically thinking of things that shouldn’t be thought of at a certain time.

The problem here is that overthinking takes too much energy from an individual.

Same with learning, it uses a lot of brainpower. Thus, making us tired in the process.

What we can do when this happens is to try to calm our minds down.

You can also put on a note what you’re thinking and tell yourself that you will handle it later after studying.

That way, you can be focused on your studies and finish more with less time.

If you are wondering what I mean by overthinking, here are some examples:

  • I am not good enough.
  • I already failed my first exam.
  • I should just give up.

Not Motivated

When we are not motivated to study, we tend to get bored. Being bored means that there is a high chance that a person might feel tired even before doing the task. The solution to this problem is to find a deep reason why you are studying.

When you’re not motivated, then there is a high chance to get bored.

As I said, being bored doesn’t mean that you are tired, but your body would feel tired because of boredom.

Therefore, we need to find the motivation or a reason to study.

You can watch a motivational video or quote if you want. That works for a short time and can boost you if you don’t feel like studying.

But getting your motivation from videos and quotes is not a long-term solution. As I said, it gives a short burst of motivation but not enough for the long term.

The most powerful motivation is motivation as a mental state. This type of motivation can last years. If you are interested in this type of motivation, then I recommend you to read my other article about motivation. Here it is: Is Motivation Mental or Emotional?

Not Getting Enough Sleep

Not getting enough sleep pulls our energy down making us tired even before studying. Furthermore, sleep is necessary for learning, and not sleeping makes studying unproductive. Since we need sleep for learning, we need to find the right balance between studying and sleeping.

Sleep is very important.

I discussed more on the importance of sleep in learning in a separate article where I discussed if you can study for 7-8 hours a day. More on that in this article: Is it ok to study 7-8 hours a day?

But here are the basics.

When we sleep, our brain transfers its short-term memory, to long-term memory. This means that what we learn throughout the day is only becoming a long-term memory once we sleep.

This means that things we’ve learned can easily be forgotten when we don’t sleep making studying counterproductive.

In fact, it was found out that sleep increases memory by 42% because of the transfer.

When it comes to energy, here is the point. Short-term memory is like storage. Once it gets full, you can either throw memories or put them into long-term storage by sleeping.

If we don’t sleep, since our short-term memory is already full, our brain would either throw away some information to get the things we’re studying or not remember the thing we’ve studied.

This means that we are going to study for longer and we’re going to learn less which is a waste of both time and energy.

Not Studying Smart

Not studying smart is one of the reasons why we get tired when studying because we study for longer hours when we are not efficient in studying. When studying, it is important to be efficient so you can learn more with less time and energy. Thus, less stress and fatigue.

As I said, it is important to be efficient in learning.

The point is if you can learn more with less time, you would use less energy in studying.

This means you would conserve more energy.

There are many ways to study smart. Some of which are:

  • Time Blocking
  • Listening to your Teacher
  • Answering Questionnaires
  • Concentrating on studying

Basically, anything that lets you achieve more with less time is studying smart. Do it to save energy and not get tired of studying.

I’ve made an article for working effectively. While it is an article for working, it also works on studying. You may check it out here: How do you work alone effectively?

Only the things I love.

ongjason.com is reader-supported. When you buy through links on the site, I earn an affiliate commission.

If you’re following me, you’ll know that I believe it is essential to have some tools, whether it’s for personal development or lifestyle in general.

So, here are the things I love.


If you want to learn things for free, then I recommend you to watch my YouTube Channel. Click the Button Below to go straight into my Channel. 🙂

Okay, let me first explain my Channel.

I believe that I really can’t explain everything too well on my blog. That’s why I created a YouTube Channel so I can easily explain a lot of things. Plus, I believe that Video Sharing is the future.

Recommended Books

The next thing is books. Books are, for me, one of the cheapest ways to get invaluable information. We can learn personal development, finance, career, relationships, and many more from books.

Here, I will be listing my favorite books in different categories.

  1. For Beginners7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – Personal development has a lot of concepts and ideas to learn. Thus it can be really hard for beginners to know where to start. Thus, I recommend this book since all the basic concepts of personal development are here(except finance, check what I recommended for that)
  2. ProductivityThe One Thing by Gary Keller – This book teaches us the power of focusing on one thing which is the ultimate source of productivity. The concepts taught are what I am using to constantly publish YouTube videos while maintaining this website.
  3. Busy?Make Time by Jack Knapp – This book teaches us how to make time for the things we love. The concept is really simple but I think that makes it a book worth reading.
  4. HealthLifespan by Dr.Sinclair – This Book teaches about the latest scientific research on lifespan. In his book, he has shared numerous things he is doing to slow down his aging process. This can be as easy as eating less which he recommends.
  5. FinanceThe Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason – Perhaps one of the first books I’ve read about Finance, this book for me is the best if we are talking about learning basic finance such as basic saving and investing. The concepts are very simple but effective.


Take this advice as a grain of salt.

I don’t recommend buying Audiobooks one by one. I mean, audiobooks can be quickly finished by listening while working out or doing some mindless tasks.

So here is to save you some money. Just go for a monthly subscription to Audible. I believe that you will save a lot of money with that plus, they usually give freebies to anyone starting.

My Audiobook Recommendation will always be the same as my book recommendations, but I personally like The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. I like how she is so casual while reading her book.


  1. Hu, Peter, et al. “Sleep Facilitates Consolidation of Emotional Declarative Memory.” Psychological Science, vol. 17, no. 10, 2006, pp. 891–98. Crossref, doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01799.x.
  2. Morgan T.E., Cobb L.A., Short F.A., Ross R., Gunn D.R. (1971) Effects of Long-Term Exercise on Human Muscle Mitochondria. In: Pernow B., Saltin B. (eds) Muscle Metabolism During Exercise. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, vol 11. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4613-4609-8_8

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