How to avoid being sleepy?

Sleepiness during the day could result from getting poor or inadequate sleep at night. Disruption in sleeping patterns due to insomnia, depression or other factors could cause a feeling of sleepiness that may last throughout the day. However, in some cases there may be a feeling of excessive sleepiness which may also be described as a feeling of tiredness or low energy or the irresistible urge to sleep. This constitutes a rare and chronic sleeping disorder known as narcolepsy. It has been observed that individuals affected by narcolepsy also usually suffer from sleep apnea, which is a disorder in which the individual stops breathing for a while during sleep. Narcolepsy may occur in attacks in which it becomes physically impossible for the individual to remain awake. Sleep could take over for any duration of time ranging from a few minutes to an hour. These attacks can occur at anytime and during any activity. Individuals may suffer from a narcolepsy attack even while eating, walking or conversing.

This condition generally develops in the early teenage years, although it can affect individuals of any age. People usually wait for several years before seeking medical help. The symptoms of narcolepsy may start out mild but may become severe with time. Narcolepsy may also be accompanied by other symptoms such as cataplexy in which there is a change in muscle tone, leading to weakness and lack of control over the muscles. This usually occurs in periods of wakefulness. Sleep paralysis is another symptom in which there is a temporary lack of ability to move the body or speak when the individual falls asleep or wakes up. Hallucinations may also occur during times of sleep onset and awakening.

There is no definite cure for narcolepsy, although there are various drugs and lifestyle adjustments that can help to deal with the condition. In addition to medications such as stimulants or anti-depressants which may be prescribed by the doctor, you can also make certain changes in your daily routine such as adhering to a schedule for sleeping and waking. This involves going to sleep and waking up at the same fixed time daily. Taking brief naps during the day will also help to reduce the repeated urges to sleep and will also make you feel refreshed. Taking alcohol or smoking at night is known to aggravate the condition and hence must be avoided. Exercise is important in regulating proper sleeping patterns. Exercising a few hours before your usual bedtime will ensure better sleep.

answered by G M

When sleepiness or drowsiness starts to interfere with your daily chores and activities, reduces your level of concentration or your ability to function, it is known as a sleeping disorder. There are various kinds of sleeping disorders, such as narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome. Normally, sleepiness during the day can simply be due to inadequate sleep, health reasons, or certain kind of drugs. There are two time gaps in a day when our body naturally feels sleepy. One would be during the night, between midnight and seven in the morning, and the other would be in the afternoon, between 1 pm and 4 pm. You are likely to feel most sleepy during these hours, especially if you haven't had enough rest the previous night. The basic amount of sleep required is different from one individual to another. Some people may feel energetic even after sleeping for a few hours and some may feel lethargic in spite of sleeping for longer hours. An eight-hour sleep is said to be sufficient for a normal, healthy person. However, if you have recently lost a lot of sleep, eight hours will not be enough - your lack of sleep starts getting accumulated, even if you don't get sufficient sleep for a single night. This accumulation leads to sleepiness in due time.

If you have a general sleepiness problem, nothing but sufficient sleep will help. Evaluate your daily activities and make sure you get your eight-hour (or more) of sleep. If you are yet constantly sleepy, it may be because of a lack of iron or vitamin B12 in your body. To cure this, you need to include a lot of leafy vegetables and fruits in your diet. An improper diet and lack of required nutrients can also be a cause for excess sleep. Other ways to avoid sleepiness would be having honey and ginger or cinnamon tea. Make sure the tea is hot, as that would make you feel more fresh and energetic. You could also splash your face with ice-cold water to get that instant shake-up. After splashing, don't wipe the water, but stand in the breeze, so that the rush of cold air gives you an instant energy boost. If your eyes feel really heavy, having a twenty-minute nap during the day can also help you a lot.

All these methods are of course temporary in nature. If you are getting sufficient sleep and have tried various methods but are still feeling sleepy, you need to consult your doctor, as you may have a more serious disorder.

answered by G M

A small nap in a day can re energize you but if it is in the middle of an important meeting or during a lecture then it can cost you a price for the same. Try the following home remedies to avoid being sleepy at day time -

  • Have your morning breakfast daily. A empty stomach is a major cause for sleepiness in the day.
  • Have a sound sleep at night. Lack of sleep at night can cause sleepiness in the day. Go early to bed and rise early. A minimum of 8 hours sleep is required daily.
  • To keep your brain active chew sugar free gum when you feel sleepy.
  • Think something constructive all the time, do not allow your thoughts to stray as it can cause sleepiness.
  • Have a good posture while sitting or working. Don't slouch while sitting in your chair.
  • Take a 5 minutes break when you feel that your job is getting too monotonous.

answered by Dr S

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