Sleepiness versus Fatigue

Sleepiness versus Fatigue

Getting insufficient sleep can leave you dragging through you day. You might think you have sleepiness and fatigue, which are actually two different conditions. Sleepiness, or drowsiness, is the extreme desire to sleep, usually caused by a lack of good sleep. Taking a nap or sleeping generally gets rid of this feeling. In contrast, fatigue is constant state of weariness that doesn’t go away with sleep. It may be caused by a medical condition or medication.

Distinguish physical symptoms. Fatigue can really affect how your body feels. Constant and reduced levels of energy are two factors that distinguish fatigue from sleepiness. Identifying physical symptoms can help you figure out if you are just drowsy or fatigued. The physical signs of fatigue include:

  • Persistent weariness
  • Reduced energy
  • Feeling unrefreshed after a night’s sleep
  • Muscle pain
  • Frequent headaches
  • Multi-joint pain without redness or swelling
  • Dizziness
  • Appetite loss
  • Reduced immune system function
  • Slowed reflexes and responses

Sleepiness:  Your eyelids might get heavy during the day from a boring class or meeting or after a heavy lunch. Keep track of when you feel like dozing off. This can clue you into if you’re simply sleepy or sleep deficient. Common times people get sleepy include:

  • Sitting down in your office, classroom, or a meeting
  • Reading
  • Watching TV or a movie
  • Riding in a car for an hour without stopping
  • Waiting in traffic for a few minutes