There’s no evidence to suggest that creatine can directly make you tired. Creatine works by increasing the amount of available ATP in your muscle cells, which gives your muscles more energy.
That being said, there are a few reasons why you may feel tiredness and fatigue after taking creatine.
So, in this article, I cover these reasons as well as whether creating loading makes you tired, and more.
Why Do You Feel Tired After Taking Creatine?
You’re Working Out Harder
As I’ve just explained, creatine helps increase ATP, which is what your cells use to make energy.
So, the more ATP your muscles have, the more reps you can theoretically do.
By doing more reps, your muscles will be more fatigued which can lead to tiredness.
Furthermore, creatine can help increase muscle mass. But in order to gain muscle, you need to be in a calorie surplus so that your body has enough calories to gain weight.
If you’re trying to gain muscle mass but aren’t consuming enough calories, you may find yourself low on energy.
You’re Not Drinking Enough Water
One of the effects of creatine is that it increases water retention in your muscle cells.
(This is why creatine can make you bloated.)
One of the downsides of this is that other areas of your body may not be receiving enough water to stay adequately hydrated. And there’s a lot of research which suggests that dehydration can cause tiredness and fatigue.
Also, if creatine increases your workout output, then you’re more likely to sweat more as you burn more energy, which again can lead to dehydration.
When supplementing with creatine, it’s important to be drinking plenty of water so that your muscles and the rest of your body are sufficiently hydrated.
For most people, it’s recommended that you drink around 2 litres of water a day, which is around eight 8-ounce glasses.
You’re Not Consuming Enough Calories
Lots of people take creatine when cutting to help maintain muscle mass while reducing levels of body fat.
But when you cut, you need to be in a calorie deficit in order to lose body fat.
(A calorie deficit means that you’re consuming less calories over the course of a day than you’re burning through exercise and normal metabolism.)
It’s been well-documented that you’re more likely to feel low on energy and tired when in a calorie deficit, as your body is receiving less calories (and thus less energy).
You may find that once you start increasing your calorie intake, your energy levels increase back to normal.
You’re Taking Creatine Alongside Other Supplements
Many people take creatine as part of a supplement stack alongside other supplements like pre workout and mass gainer.
However, both pre workout and mass gainer can cause tiredness in some cases.
Pre workout supplements are typically high in stimulants, like caffeine, and when the effects of caffeine wear off, you may experience a caffeine crash which can leave you feeling run down and lethargic.
Whereas mass gainer powders are usually loaded with simple carbohydrates. These spike your insulin levels which can result in a blood sugar crash. When your blood sugar levels plummet, you’re more likely to feel fatigued and low on energy.
If you do take pre workout and/or mass gainer, then stop taking them for a week or so and see if your energy levels return to baseline.
You’re Not Getting Adequate Sleep
One of the most neglected areas when it comes to health and wellbeing is sleep quality and duration.
In fact, it’s estimated that around 1 in 3 adults do not regularly get the recommend amount of uninterrupted sleep.
But when you take creatine, high-quality sleep becomes even more important.
Well, since creatine helps you work harder in the gym and increases muscle mass, you need even more sleep than normal so that your body has enough time to recover properly.
So, if you’re not getting adequate sleep, then not only will you feel more tired in general, but your muscles will likely be more fatigued the following day.
When taking creatine, aim for at least 8 hours of quality sleep each day, and remember to practise good sleep hygiene, such as:
- Making your bedroom as dark as possible.
- Avoid screen time at least 90 minutes before going to bed.
- Avoid taking caffeine after 3pm.
- Sleep in a cool environment.
While these may seem insignificant, you’ll be amazed at how much your sleep and energy levels improve by following them consistently.
Does Creatine Loading Make You Tired?
Creatine loading is when you take a lot more creatine than usual when starting a creatine cycle to saturate your creatine levels.
Many people take up to 20g a day for the first 4 days of creatine loading, before taking a maintenance dose of 5g a day.
While there’s no evidence to suggest that creatine loading makes you tired, it’s mechanistically possible.
Well, excess creatine is converted to creatinine which is a waste product.
So, if you take more creatine than your body needs, then you’re more likely to have higher levels of creatinine.
As creatinine is a waste product, your body excretes this in your urine.
(This explains why creatine makes you pee more!)
And the more often you pee, the more likely you are to experience dehydration which can lead to tiredness.
Should You Stop Taking Creatine If It Makes You Tired?
Since creatine is unlikely to directly make you tired, there’s no obvious reason why you should stop taking it.
But if you’ve increased your hydration, increased your calorie intake, improved your sleep quality, stopped taking other supplements, and are still feeling tired, then there’s no harm stopping it for a week or so to see if your energy levels improve.
Then you’ll know for certain whether it’s the creatine that’s making you feel tired.
Does The Type of Creatine Matter When It Comes To Feeling Tired?
There are many different types of creatine, such as:
- Creatine monohydrate
- Creatine ethyl ester
- Creatine hydrochloride
- Buffered creatine
- Liquid creatine
- Creatine magnesium chelate
While these are molecularly different, they all work the same way in the body by increasing levels of ATP.
And therefore, it’s unlikely that the type of creatine matters when it comes to feeling tired.
The cheapest, most common, and most researched form of creatine is creatine monohydrate, which is what I recommend for fitness purposes.
Does Creatine Make You Sleepy?
There’s no evidence to suggest that creatine can directly make you feel sleepy. However, you may feel sleepy after taking creatine due to other factors.
I always feel sleepy after an intense workout (especially leg day), so if creatine makes your workouts more intense, then it could indirectly make you feel sleepy.
- Creatine is unlikely to cause tiredness, however, you may feel fatigued after taking creatine for the reasons outlined in this article.
- Stopping creatine is unlikely to increase your energy levels. Instead, you should consider other reasons why you’re feeling tired and look at fixing these, such as improving your sleep quality and drinking more water.
- The type of creatine is irrelevant when it comes to tiredness as all forms of creatine work the same way in the body.
That’s all for creatine and tiredness, but does creatine cause gyno?
Hope this helped!
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.