Published on Jul 05, 2019 and last reviewed on Oct 19, 2019 - 4 min read
Do you feel sleepy and find it hard to concentrate at work during the day? Learn how to stay alert, ways to avoid daytime sleepiness, and get a good night's sleep.
Everyone feels sleepy and tired some days if they do not get enough sleep or due to exhaustion or excessive physical activity or jet lag, which is quite normal. But feeling sleepy during the day even after getting enough rest at night and taking frequent naps in the day is called hypersomnia.
Feeling sleepy regularly during the day might get in the way of other day-to-day activities. Poor sleep hygiene, sleep deprivation, and staying awake very late at night are the main causes of daytime sleepiness. In some cases, excessive sleepiness is a sign of some underlying condition.
Sleep disorders and conditions that prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep are responsible for daytime sleepiness. Some of the common causes include:
Restless leg syndrome.
A side effect of some hypertensive, antidepressants, antiemetics, antipsychotic, or anti-epileptic drugs.
The symptoms commonly seen with daytime sleepiness are:
Difficulty concentrating at work or school.
Sleep deprivation can have the following negative impact on the body:
The immune system becomes weak.
Increases the risk of respiratory infections.
It can reduce the production of growth hormones and testosterone.
Increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, as sleep helps the heart vessels to heal and maintain the blood pressure.
Increases the production of insulin, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The following are some tips to prevent daytime sleepiness and to improve nighttime sleep:
Get 7 to 9 Hours of Sleep at Night - Many of us sleep late or wake up early to study or work. But it is important to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Getting inadequate nighttime sleep is the main cause of daytime sleepiness.
Sticking to a Schedule - Train your body to sleep and get up at a fixed time every day. This helps the internal clock to stay alert during the day and sleepy during the night.
Do Not Use Electronic Devices on the Bed - It is best to avoid using all distractions like mobiles, tablets, laptops, etc., away from the bed. And avoid watching TV before you go to sleep. The light from these devices might interfere with sleep.
Do Not Skip Meals - It is important to eat healthy breakfast and lunch on time. Skipping meals might make you feel energy deprived and make you tired and sleepy during the day.
Exercise Regularly - Getting 30 minutes of exercise every day helps you get a good night sleep and also provides energy during the day.
Sun Exposure - It is recommended to spend at least 30 minutes outdoors. Exposure to sunlight helps regulate our sleep pattern.
Avoid Working or Studying Up Late at Night or Early Morning - Instead of scheduling meeting or studying late at night or waking up early to finish your work, distribute your work in a way that you get at least 7 hours of sleep. If you sleep properly at night, you will be more productive and less sleepy the next day.
Avoid Going to Bed If You Are Just Tired - Do not go to bed when you are physically exhausted, as you might not be able to sleep. Go to bed only if your eyes feel droopy and you are nodding off.
Do Not Take Long Naps During the Day - Taking a short nap during the day might make you feel energetic and refreshed. But taking a long nap might make you less sleepy at night.
Avoid Taking a Nap During Late Afternoon - Sleeping during the late afternoon will interfere with nighttime sleep.
Do Yoga and Meditation - Yoga and meditation will help you relax and make you stress-free. This will help you sleep better at night.
Drink Caffeinated Beverages - Drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages might help you stay awake during the day. But avoid drinking it 6 hours before bedtime, as it can interfere with sleep.
Maintain the Temperature of Your Room - Make sure that the room temperature is maintained around 23 ℃, as it will help you sleep properly. By doing this, your sleep will not be disturbed by feeling too cold or too hot during the night.
Switch off All Sources of Light - When the room is dark, the pineal gland in the brain releases melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates the sleep pattern. So turn off all lights and electronic devices before you sleep.
Relax Before Going to Bed - Activities like meditation, taking a hot shower, listening to soft music, and reading a novel will help you relax. Try doing these before your bedtime, as it might improve sleep.
Do Not Consume Alcohol at Night - Consuming alcohol at night might prevent you from getting a deep sleep, which will make you sleepy during the day.
Consult a Sleep Medicine Physician - If you are sleepy during the day due to sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, etc., it is best you consult a sleep medicine physician.
Consult a Psychiatrist - If you are depressed or suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, and if it is affecting your sleep, get help from a psychiatrist.
If your sleep problems have developed after taking medicines, consult your doctor for alternate drugs or ways you can overcome this side effect. To know more about health conditions that can result in daytime sleepiness, consult a sleep medicine physician online.
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