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Feeling Fatigued? This Might Be Why.

Feeling Fatigued? This Might Be Why.

Everyone gets tired—it’s just part of being a human. After a good night of sleep (and, for some, a crucial cup of coffee), many people are able to wake up feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the day. 

For others, though, it’s a bit more complicated. Do you wake up after a long night of sleep feeling just as tired as you were the night before, if not more? Are you constantly feeling worn out, with “tired” as one of your primary personality traits? 

If so, you may be dealing with fatigue. Fortunately, there are a few different ways to combat that constant tiredness. Keep reading to learn more about the common causes of fatigue, along with some expert fatigue-fighting tips. 

What is Fatigue? 

Simply put, fatigue is the feeling of being overly tired; it’s that whole-body tiredness and a consistent lack of energy that isn’t fixed with sleep, even if you’re meeting the recommended hours of sleep each night. 

Acute fatigue typically lasts for one month or less, generally brought on by a specific culprit such as an illness, grief, or a particularly stressful event.  

Chronic fatigue,on the other hand, lasts much longer—one month to six months, or even longer. Chronic fatigue can be caused by more serious issues such as underlying health issues, nutritional deficiencies, or depression. 

Fatigued vs. Tired: Understanding the Difference

Some people use “fatigued” and “tired” interchangeably. While there are certainly similarities between the two, they are actually quite different.  

Tiredness is natural, and it happens to everyone. Whether it’s jet lag, a cold or flu, or simply the end of the day, the source of your tiredness is typically not a mystery and a good night of sleep can leave you feeling much more energized.  

Fatigue is different. It’s more constant, excessive tiredness that doesn’t go away after a good night of sleep. If not addressed, fatigue can wreak havoc on your ability to function in your day-to-day life, not to mention your overall quality of life.  

Signs of Fatigue

Fatigue affects both the body and mind. When fatigued, you will likely find yourself feeling both physically and emotionally exhausted. 

Common signs of fatigue (in addition to constantly asking yourself “why am I so tired?!”) include:  

  • Never feeling fully rested, even after getting at least 8 hours of sleep
  • Trouble focusing
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Flu-like symptoms such as tender lymph nodes and a sore throat
  • Irritability 
  • Tired eyes
  • Stiff shoulders
  • Apathy  

Some may even find that despite the chronic fatigue, they have trouble falling asleep at night. 

Causes of Fatigue

Not everyone experiences fatigue the same way. Similarly, not everyone experiences fatigue for the same reasons. Common causes of fatigue tend to fall into a few different categories: lifestyle, physical health, mental health, and, of course, sleep disorders. 

Lifestyle

Common lifestyle factors that can contribute to fatigue include: 

  • Insufficient sleep
  • Poor diet
  • Excessive alcohol, drug, or even caffeine use 
  • Sedentary lifestyle 
  • High-stress schedule 

Physical Health

Common physical health factors that can contribute to fatigue include:  

  • Anemia 
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Nutritional gaps, such as vitamin B12 or vitamin D deficiencies 
  • Being overweight or underweight
  • Side effects from medications
  • Any health issues that take a toll on your body and mind: cold or flu, kidney disease, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and more 

Mental Health 

Common mental health factors that contribute to fatigue include: 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic stress
  • Seasonal affective disorder 

Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders can also contribute to fatigue and recurring tiredness. For example: 

  • Sleep apnea
  • Insomnia
  • Narcolepsy 

Whether it’s a lifestyle factor, health issue, or sleep disorder, anything that contributes to poor sleep quality can also contribute to fatigue. After all, 10 hours of sleep doesn’t mean much if it’s 10 hours of disrupted, low-quality sleep.  

Addressing Your Fatigue

Fortunately, chronic fatigue isn’t a life sentence; there are a few different ways to fight fatigue. That said, the treatment method(s) that work for you will depend on the cause of your fatigue. 

Because there are so many potential causes, it’s important to first try to confirm the culprit of your chronic exhaustion—scheduling more time for sleep won’t exactly fix your issue if sleep deprivation isn’t the cause of your fatigue.  

A good starting point is to make lifestyle changes as needed to ensure you’re as healthy as possible. For example: 

  • Eat a healthy diet (and stay hydrated) to nourish your body and mind from the inside out.

  • Exercise regularly to stay energized and promote better sleep at night.

  • Relieve stress by implementing healthy coping mechanisms such as yoga and meditation, and/or by removing certain sources of stress from your life.

  • Avoid drugs and alcohol.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

  • Implement a healthy bedtime routine, complete with Hilo Sleep Gummies.

  • Talk to your doctor about medications, either to aid sleep or to manage symptoms of fatigue-causing health issues.  

Of course, even if you’re not specifically asking about medications, it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor or another medical professional for individualized insight based on your health history. 

When to See a Doctor for Fatigue

Sometimes, you may just want to wait it out and see if the fatigue goes away on its own. However, there are times when it’s important to seek help from a medical professional, especially when fatigue comes with additional side effects.  

See a doctor if:  

  • Your fatigue is interfering with work and other daily activities and tasks.

  • Your fatigue is lasting longer than several days and there is no clear cause (such as sickness, jet lag, or sleep deprivation).

  • Your fatigue is accompanied by unexplained weight loss.

  • You’re an older adult (age 65+).

  • You’re experiencing additional symptoms such as headaches, nausea, muscle weakness, mood changes, and/or shortness of breath.

Your doctor will be able to conduct blood and urine tests, along with a physical exam, to help you determine the root cause of your fatigue and help you come up with a personalized treatment plan.

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