Causes and Cures: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Vs. Tiredness

January 6, 2015
Guest blog by Lynn Bronson

Are you tired all of the time? Do you struggle to make through the day without 10 cups of coffee, a nap, and lots of sugar? You’re not alone. Millions of people all over the world suffer with this chronic fatigue feeling, but few make a conscious choice to properly cope with it and solve the underlying problems. Unfortunately, when you’re tired all the time, you open yourself up to some very serious problems.

The Underlying Cause Of Fatigue

The underlying causes of fatigue can vary from person to person, but the overarching cause is lack of quality sleep. Sure, if you get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night, you’re moving in the right direction, but how much of that sleep is quality sleep? In general, people are sleeping poorly.

Research shows that sleep quality is more important than sleep quantity (hours per night). And, some research even suggests that sleep timing (when you go to sleep) is more important than quality of sleep - though this might be one and the same.

Getting to bed at 9 o’clock, for example, may put you right in the meaty part of your circadian rhythm when your cortisol shuts down and melatonin levels rise. If your body releases melatonin at 10PM, this is when you want to be in bed, with the lights off. You don’t want to be in bed at 10:30, because your body might shut down melatonin production if you’re still being exposed to light at that time - you just missed your window for having a perfect night’s sleep.

Juxtapose this with simple tiredness. Tiredness can result from doing a lot of mental or physical work, but it’s not indicative of fatigue. Fatigue is more than just tiredness. It’s usually a chronic condition that manifests itself in the form of loss of motivation during the day, chronic physical or mental exhaustion, and reduced or no energy (even in the morning).

Potential Problems

If you don’t get enough sleep, or you’re not getting enough activity during the day (and eating healthy), you’re setting yourself up for problems with fatigue. What kind of problems?


One of the most common problems associated with fatigue is car accidents. That’s because most people drive to work either early in the morning or (at least during wintertime) at night when they’re most tired. According to Watson Goepel, a prominent car accident lawyer in Vancouver, the law regarding car accidents and personal injury claims in constantly evolving, and it’s not something you want to be caught up in - medical bills, fighting with insurance companies, and possibly even the other driver involved, will all take a toll on your mental well-being.

Reduced Quality of Life

Being fatigued will reduce your quality of life. You simply cannot do everything you want to do. You won’t have the energy for it.

Increased Illness

When you’re fatigued, it’s more than just a vague feeling. You are depressing your immune system, which makes it much more difficult to fight off infections. Reduced, or poor-quality sleep, can also lower your testosterone levels if you’re a male.

It can even lead to some forms of chronic disease, like hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity. More than that, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sleep deprivation leading to fatigue can eventually manifest itself as a serious health problem, like cancer, increased mortality (increased risk of death from all causes). If you already have a chronic illness, getting higher quality sleep will help, but it may not be able to reverse the damage already done.

So, if you’re serious about fighting fatigue, it’s time to brush up on your sleep hygiene, start making changes to your diet, get outside and move around more often, and take time at night to settle down before slipping into bed (hopefully earlier than normal).

Lynn Bronson has helped people as a life coach for many years now. Whenever she has a moment, she likes to share her insights by posting on the web. You can read her helpful articles on many of today's top websites and blogs.