Causes of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
By Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Jennifer Andrews
Most of us at one time or another has probably fought the urge to take a nap in the middle of the day.
Whether you are at work, at home or out running errands, daytime sleepiness can sneak up on you unexpectedly or hit you like a ton of bricks demanding that you take a nap. Sleepiness during the day can be attributed to a number of different reasons, most commonly from not having slept well the night before, sleep deprivation or insomnia. It may also be the result of being busy or doing activities during the day and days prior that expend a lot of energy, both physically and mentally. Whatever the cause, daytime sleepiness can become a problem if it starts to interfere with daily tasks and responsibilities.
If it is not addressed and taken care of properly, excessive daytime sleepiness can affect your health, work and relationships. Consider the following top ten causes of excessive daytime sleepiness below and beat the urge to take an afternoon siesta tomorrow!
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10. Poor sleep
Excessive daytime sleepiness is most often the result of simply not sleeping well the night before. Look at your sleep patterns to determine if you are awake during certain hours, getting up repeatedly to use the bathroom or perhaps having vivid dreams or nightmares.
9. Lack of sleep
A lack of sleep can make you excessively tired anytime during the day – and make it extra hard to just get out of bed in the morning. The National Sleep Foundation cites that while people’s sleep needs vary widely, generally, the average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Check your own sleep schedule to see if you are falling short.
8. Heavy lunch
Eating a heavy mid-day meal can lead to a case of excessive daytime drowsiness. A large meal requires energy to digest which diverts blood going to the brain, muscles and other bodily systems. This in turn decreases alertness, mental focus and physical energy. Stick to a light and healthy lunch such as a salad with nutrient-rich greens and veggies, lean protein such as chicken and a small amount of healthy fats such as a drizzle of olive oil for dressing.
If you’ve ever found yourself bored, you will know that not having anything to do can most definitely lead to a case of sleepiness. Find an activity that stimulates you mentally and/or physically such as playing a board game, taking a walk or cooking a meal to stimulate your senses and wake you up.
Depression is a medical disorder that can range from mild to moderate to severe in nature. It generally leads to poor moods, inability to concentrate and a loss of interest in things once enjoyed. Additionally, depression can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness as a result of not sleeping well during the night, anxiety and a depressed nervous system. Speak with a medical professional about treatment options if you have or think you may have depression.
Many medications prescribed by doctors nowadays have side effects such as sleepiness that can occur during the day depending on the time you take meds. Over-the-counter medications such as pain-relievers and sleeping pills can also cause daytime drowsiness and should only be taken under supervision or the advice of a health professional.
Excessive daytime sleepiness may be the result of an increasingly common disorder known as narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that can cause individuals to have deep cravings for sleep. The need for sleep often occurs abruptly and at possibly inopportune times such as when at work, on social outings or while performing important tasks.
Sometimes excessive sleepiness during the day is simply a result of being tired or fatigued. Look at where your energies are going during the day or evening to determine what is making you excessively tired. Perhaps it’s a busy work schedule, running errands or taking care of your kids that is wearing you out and leading to the need to nap mid-day.
2. Alcohol abuse
Excessive use of alcohol and/or drugs can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness as the body’s systems become impaired. Although alcohol typically leads to disinhibiting behaviors and gives a buzz, its effects will eventually wear off with each drink. Be sure to drink lots of water if you do choose to imbibe and keep drinks to a minimum of one to two glasses on an occasional basis.
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Although over-eating can lead to excessive daytime sleeping, under-eating or eating improperly can also lead to sleep issues. Food gives you energy and is essential for daily body functions and physical and mental tasks. Eat a balanced diet that consists of lean proteins, vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables and healthy fats for a vibrant and energetic you!
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