From diet to exercise, a report from The Huffington Post examines the possible causes of daytime fatigue in addition to sleep.

When sleep is not refreshing, the feelings of tiredness and fatigue can undermine your daytime function. Beyond common sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia, what are some of the reasons for feeling tired? Explore some of these potential causes, ranging from medications to diet and exercise, and try to discover what you can do to feel better.

Understanding the Role of Sleep Disorders

First, it is important to recognize that there is a difference between sleepiness and fatigue. Sleepiness is the strong desire for sleep that often immediately precedes falling asleep. It is sometimes called drowsiness. Sleepiness is due to the build up of a chemical in the brain called adenosine that enhances the ability to fall and stay asleep (1). In contrast, fatigue is a sense of tiredness, exhaustion, and low energy. People often describe a sense of heaviness, a lack of initiative, and an inability to do normal daytime activities without a sense of impairment.

Sleep disorders often contribute to feelings of sleepiness and fatigue. The most common cause is simply getting too little sleep to meet basic sleep needs. Sleepiness can also be due to poor sleep quality, such as occurs in obstructive sleep apnea or narcolepsy. Fatigue is more commonly associated with insomnia. Sometimes we focus too heavily on our sleep when trying to discover the reasons for feeling tired.

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