What You Need To Know About How Fatigue Affects You

Is it fatigue or sleep deprivation?

Fatigue is that feeling you get when you’re physically or mentally tired or both. A lack of sleep or sleep disturbances can cause fatigue along with a whole list of other lifestyle, workplace, and psychological factors. It’s important to keep in mind that fatigue is a symptom, not a condition. To resolve it, you need to find the underlying cause. Fatigue is often confused with sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is also caused by a lack of sleep or sleep disturbances. Both fatigue and sleep deprivation impact your behavior and body.

Your behavior

When you are consistently sleeping less than 7 hours a day, it can impact your mood and behavior in many ways:

    • Poor concentration and increased forgetfulness
    • Increased moodiness and emotional insensitivity
    • Impaired judgments and ethics
    • Elevated stress levels
    • Growing lack of empathy or concern
    • Reduced productivity
    • Lack of motivation
    • Increased chance of causing critical errors
    • More likely to cause or be involved in an accident
    • Resilience declines
  • Increased likelihood of missing work or not completing work

Your Body

The lack of sleep can also have a variety of short-term effects on your body including:

  • A headache or dizziness
  • Sore, aching, or weak muscles
  • Reduced hand-eye coordination
  • Blurry vision and hallucinations
  • Decreased speed, accuracy, and reaction time
  • Increased susceptibility to injury

It can also have serious long-term risks for your health including:


  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Higher chance of developing dementia
  • Decreased ability to self-repair

Immune system

  • Vascular inflammation
  • Harder time fighting off disease
  • More susceptible to infections


  • Higher likelihood of heart attack
  • Increased risk of hypertension, heart failure, and coronary artery disease


  • Poor regulation of glucose and insulin
  • Increased risk of Type II Diabetes


  • Altered hormone regulation
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Gastroesophageal reflux


  • Collagen degrades
  • Skin looks blotchy and puffy
  • Dark circles under eyes
  • Loss of elasticity

Getting to the cause of your fatigue or sleep deprivation is essential in order to eliminate the short and long-term effects.

“The feeling of sleepiness when you are not in bed, and can’t get there, is the meanest feeling in the world.”

-Edgar Watson Howe