We all have days, or even weeks, where we want nothing more than to stay in bed all day.  You drink an extra cup of coffee or have more soda at work for the caffeine boost, and all you can think is “Gosh, I’m exhausted.”

But are you really exhausted, or are you just tired? There is a difference between the two, as well as fatigue, and it’s important to recognize it.  Tiredness is more of a physical issue, with sufferers reporting mild muscle weakness and moodiness.  It can usually be relieved with a good night’s sleep, or by rearranging one’s schedule to allow for more rest and relaxation.  People who are fatigued report difficulties concentrating, increased anxiety and sensitivity to light.  If you’ve ever heard someone say they’re “too tired to sleep,” that’s not an exaggeration–it is possible to be so fatigued that falling asleep is difficult, if not impossible.  Exhaustion can cause mental confusion that is so serious it resembles delirium, as well as sleeping problems and social withdrawal.

While tiredness can be relieved largely by getting more rest, exhaustion and fatigue may be related to underlying physical issues.  Fatigue lasting longer than two weeks should be addressed by a physician, as it could be caused by anemia, diabetes or irregular thyroid activity.  It may also mean that you’re under too much stress or are depressed.  Fatigue and exhaustion also must be relieved through different means than ordinary tiredness–for instance, caffeine, while often safely used as a quick cure for tiredness, can actually make fatigue worse.  Taking vitamin D, getting more sunshine and exercise, drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol can both relieve fatigue and exhaustion and lower the risk of it, though nothing is as effective as getting enough sleep and finding time to relax and regroup.

Gena Radcliffe

Medex Supply Blogger

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Jim Witt

    I generally like to go for the sunshine and exercise first, and only use caffeine as a last resort. I find that caffeine wears off, and then I feel even worse, whereas starting my day with exercise usually keeps me feeling good all day.

  • Marlon Fisanick

    Thank you really much. It really helped! At least i finally understood what was going on!