Mind & Body

Is it Fatigue or Am I Just Tired?

When coffee just isn’t cutting it and you wake up too exhausted to face a day that hasn’t even begun, you’re not just tired – you may be fatigued.

Remedy Team

9 minute read

We’ve all had those days when getting out of bed seems a little bit more difficult, you enter work just dreaming of clocking out, curling up on your nice, pillowy mattress, and dozing off. Such occurrences of being tired from time to time are natural. Maybe you’ve spent a few late nights out with friends, treated yourself to a Netflix marathon, or had a particularly stressful week. However, when occasional yawns and heavy eyelids stick around for longer than usual and weigh like a deep-seated exhaustion you just can’t shake, your tiredness may have morphed into fatigue – and despite often being seen as interchangeable, the two conditions possess some pretty significant differences.

The tell-tale signs of feeling tired

Sleep deprivation and being tired generally come hand in hand. So, when your nightly rest doesn’t hit the recommended 7-9 hour mark,1 more often than not you wake up feeling groggy, opting to roll over in bed, eyes closed, and muttering “five more minutes”.When it comes to the pillars of health and wellbeing, sleep can often take the backseat in a world of productivity and “hustle culture” – a move that we’re learning is actually counterproductive to getting things done.

Sleep is an essential part of our day-to-day functions, affecting our cognitive functions such as decision making, focus, mood, alertness, and memory recall among many others.2 It’s difficult to deny the invigorating feeling of lightness and energy you’re able to go about the day with when you’re running on a full night of sleep. Our bodies also undergo restoration with processes like muscle repair, tissue growth, and hormone release happening all while we snooze.

Unfortunately, tiredness due to sleep deprivation is a condition that’s increasingly common, with a third of adults in the US3 getting less than the recommended amount of sleep. The good news? It isn’t long-term. When lost sleep is made up for, the mind and body fall back into healthy patterns. So if you’ve ended a long, hectic week, invest in some well-deserved rest and relaxation during the weekend by taking it slow and of course, catching up on sleep.

From feeling tired to ‘always’ tired

In comparison to tiredness, curbing fatigue isn’t something curbed by simply sleeping more. Think of it as a more long-term energy drain, characterized by a lack of stamina and motivation,4 resulting from long periods of stress and anxiousness.

How do I know if I’m fatigued?

While fatigue is a symptom in and of its own, there are a few signs that you can look out for as a tell of when you tiredness has evolved into something else. These include:

  1. An overwhelming feeling of tiredness even after resting
  2. An uncomfortable ache in your muscles
  3. A hard time concentrating and accomplishing tasks
  4. A lack of desire to participate in activities that normally excite you
  5. A series of shifts and spikes in your mood making you feel impatient, irritated, or on edge

Several factors contribute to the onset of fatigue, sometimes simultaneously. But we can generally classify them into external and internal sources. Let’s say that you’ve been constantly working, navigating high-stress environments, or have gone through some particularly rocky relationships. Such are a few examples of external sources of fatigue. Internally, there are also a series of medical conditions such as anemia, thyroid issues, and low vitamin levels that could be causing you to feel low energy.

How do I curb my fatigue?

We’ve been through some tough times in the past few years that may have had us feeling stressed more than usual but being plagued by fatigue every single day is far from the norm. And yes, while bouncing back from constant tiredness involves a few extra steps, it’s definitely possible.

Targeting fatigue of course involves pinpointing what’s causing it, something you can do by evaluating lifestyle-related factors. When it comes to your day-to-day choices, your sleep, diet, and stress levels are good starting points. Have you been sleeping enough? And when you do, is it continuous and relaxing? Maybe a few missed meals have you running low on certain vitamins and minerals your body needs. Or perhaps the news and constant stimulation from social media has you feeling overwhelmed. Whatever it is, the rituals and routines we’ve gotten used to are a great place to start if we’re to address fatigue. A few recommended lifestyle changes you can try out include:5

  1. Revamping your sleep hygiene. Beyond putting in the required amount of sleep, the environment we fall asleep in is just as important. This includes giving yourself enough time to wind down before bed, ensuring your room is cool, dark, and cozy, and following a consistent bedtime, even on weekends.
  2. Getting those endorphins through exercise. Go for a run, have a leisurely bike ride around the neighborhood, or just walk around while listening to some music. Though exercising when you’re fatigued may seem odd, moving your body is a great way to invite some energy back into your days.
  3. Managing your stress. We know, easier said than done. But whether it’s grounding and breathing techniques, re-establishing work-life balance, or talking to someone, there are a ton of practices you can sift through to land on the one that gets the job done.
  4. Prioritizing your diet. Food is fuel but it is also one of the best ways to practice self-care. Forget the five-star meals (or don't!) – all it takes is ensuring that your body is hydrated and getting the balanced, nutrient-rich foods it needs to carry you through the day.

Now if you’ve gone through all the lifestyle changes you could possibly make and still feel this gnawing sense of energy depletion, consulting your general physician is always a highly recommended course of action. Remember, fatigue is a symptom and may be alluding to an underlying medical condition.

Either way, seeking help is a great way of beating fatigue whether it’s through a doctor, finding yourself an individual or community you can empathize with, or turning to the various innovations that can aid your journey. That last part? That’s where we can help.

Introducing A Study of Calm

With all that being said, the demands of the modern world can be difficult to keep up with and relaxation goes from a right to a luxury, with our wellness sometimes taking a backseat on the neverending list of to-do’s and priorities. Which is why A Study Of, the no-muss no-fuss wellness brand, recently launched the newest addition to their line up.

Meet A Study of Calm, your real-life chill pill, with five kinds of B vitamins and a blend of plant extracts that can help ease fatigue, compose your mind, and send your mood soaring.

It’s formulation puts you back on track with the help of five B vitamins, largely responsible for lifting your mood and washing away the effects of stress. The potency of these vitamins is enhanced by other ingredients in this formulation, such as magnesium and its relaxing properties, Ashwagandha extract’s anti-inflammatory abilities, and Hops extract’s calming effects against anxiety. Taken together, this curated elixir will have you sailing smoothly for the rest of the day.

We did our research! 👇🏼

1 Eric Suni, “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?”, The Sleep Foundation: How Sleep Works, March 9, 2022, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need#:~:text=National%20Sleep%20Foundation%20guidelines1,to%208%20hours%20per%20night

2 National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep”, Accessed July 22, 2022, https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/patient-caregiver-education/brain-basics-understanding-sleep

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Sleep and Sleep Disorders”, Accessed July 22, 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/index.html

4 Medline Plus, “Fatigue”, Accessed July 22, 2022, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003088.htm

5 Cleveland Clinic, “Fatigue”, Accessed July 22, 2022, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/21206-fatigue#care-and-treatment