Waking up tired after catching up on (and finishing) the latest Netflix release is pretty normal. After all, you likely didn’t go to bed at your usual time and when you did, you might have only managed to get a couple of hours of sleep (not nearly enough to fuel you for the day ahead). And while this is a normal, and likely common, cause of feeling tired, if you’re consistently waking up feeling fatigued, even after a full night of sleep - it might mean that something else is to blame.

Most of the time, the cause of your fatigue can be a result of certain lifestyle factors such as too much exercise or lack thereof. However, if you are feeling overwhelmingly tired and sleep or rest isn’t helping, according to Mayo Clinic, it may be a sign of one of the following medical conditions:

  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Underactive thyroid
  • Celiac disease
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

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What are the common causes of fatigue?

Remember, feeling tired every now and then is something we all experience. This sort of tiredness might be caused by a change in eating habits, taking new medications, or simply not getting enough sleep. Still, if you’re feeling fatigued and there have been no significant changes in your day to day, it might be a sign of something more.

Iron deficiency anemia

Anemia is a condition that occurs when your body lacks enough healthy red blood cells to carry enough oxygen throughout your body. There are a number of different types of anemia with iron deficiency anemia one of the most common.

As the name suggests, iron deficiency anemia happens when your body has insufficient levels of iron. Although the signs can sometimes go unnoticed, some of the most common include extreme fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.

Iron deficiency anemia is most common in women or in those following a plant-based diet, if you want to know more about your iron levels you can do so with an LetsGetChecked iron test.

Related article: 5 Surprising Signs of Iron-Deficiency Anemia

Underactive thyroid

Also known as hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. Anyone can develop hypothyroidism however it’s usually more common in women, those with a family history of thyroid problems, or those with an autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes.

Symptoms of an underactive thyroid can develop slowly and you may not notice symptoms at the beginning. However tiredness, weight gain, and muscle aches are just some of the common early signs of the condition.

The most reliable way to know if you have a thyroid condition is with a thyroid test, you can do this from home with a lab test or with your doctor.

Related article: I Knew I Had a Thyroid Condition When...

Celiac disease

Not to be mixed up with gluten intolerance, celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that causes an immune reaction when you eat foods containing gluten. While the exact underlying cause isn’t known, it is more common in those with type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, or who have a family history of celiac disease.

With celiac disease, eating foods containing gluten can cause diarrhea, stomach aches, and bloat. Some other common symptoms include weight loss and tiredness as a result of not getting the right amount of nutrients.

If you experience unpleasant symptoms when you eat products containing gluten such as pasta or cereals, you should consider finding out more. You can do this through a LetsGetChecked Celiac Test or by visiting your doctor.

Related article: Celiac vs Gluten Intolerance: What’s the Difference?


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 1 in 10 people in the United States have diabetes - a condition that causes excess sugar, or glucose, in the blood. Family history, weight, and high blood pressure can all increase your risk [1].

If you are experiencing increased thirst and frequent urination as well as fatigue, it may be a sign that your blood sugar levels are higher than what’s considered normal. This may be an indication that you have either diabetes or prediabetes. Prediabetes means that your blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes - healthy lifestyle changes can help stop the progression.

You can determine your risk of prediabetes with a simple blood test, this can be done with your doctor or with a LetsGetChecked Diabetes Test.

Related article: 8 Signs of Diabetes You Might Miss

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which your breathing consistently stops and starts while you sleep. Smoking, excess weight, certain medical conditions, and family history can all have an impact on your risk of sleep apnea.

It can be difficult to tell whether or not you have sleep apnea as the majority of symptoms such as loud snoring and gasping for air happen while you sleep. Still, it can have an impact on your general wellbeing during the day and can cause symptoms such as daytime sleepiness, mood swings, and irritability. Treatment is available for this however it may not always be needed if it’s a mild case.

Chronic fatigue syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, is a disorder that’s characterized by extreme fatigue that lasts a number of months. The underlying cause isn’t known but according to the NHS, it’s suspected that it may be triggered by an infection such as pneumonia or glandular fever [2].

As well as feeling extremely tired, CFS can cause sleep problems, muscle pains, headaches, and a general feeling of unwellness. With treatment, these symptoms can improve over time.

What are the types of tiredness?

Unlike fatigue, tiredness can typically be relieved by a good night’s sleep and some rest. When the tiredness becomes overwhelming and sleep seems to have little to no effect, that’s when you know it’s fatigue.

There are a number of different types of tiredness that we can all experience in our day to day lives, these include:

  • Energy highs and lows, usually during certain points of the day
  • Emptiness due to skipping breakfast or meals
  • Lack of stamina
  • Tired but unable to fall asleep

The above types of tiredness are typically a result of a poor diet, a general lack of important vitamins and minerals in your everyday diet or even drinking too much caffeine throughout the day - with the latter being one of the reasons you might find it hard to fall asleep even when you feel exhausted. Check-in on your vitamin levels with LetsGetChecked to make sure your levels are within a healthy range.

Why am I so tired? What am I lacking?

If your tiredness isn’t caused by something obvious such as a lack of sleep and you don’t suspect an underlying condition such as diabetes or an underactive thyroid, it’s sometimes worth looking at what you’re eating and what nutrients you may be lacking.

There are a handful of vitamin deficiencies that might be the cause of your fatigue. If you’re deficient in iron (as mentioned above), vitamin B12 (often seen in those following a plant-based diet), or vitamin D (which is very common worldwide), tiredness and consistent fatigue can occur.

Think this may be the case for you? You can check in on your vitamin levels from the comfort of home with LetsGetChecked’s range of vitamin and mineral tests which test for some of the most common vitamin deficiencies.

Fatigue can be a result of a number of different health conditions or illnesses. If you feel as if you’re always tired and it’s not a result of any lifestyle changes such as an increase in physical activity, it’s important to find out more. You can do this by visiting your doctor and keeping a close eye on your health and wellbeing with LetsGetChecked’s range of health tests.

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is Diabetes? Online: Cdc.gov
  2. NHS. Chronic fatigue syndrome. Online: NHS.uk