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January 24, 2019

Five causes of daytime drowsiness

Wellness Sleep

Content sponsored by IBC - Native (195x33)

Tired woman with head on desk during day Andrea Piacquadio/

If you’ve ever woken up in the morning feeling weak, tired, or lethargic, chances are you spent the rest of your day yawning and struggling to keep your eyes open. Most of the time, the primary culprit responsible for daytime drowsiness is a simple lack of sleep. In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one third of Americans suffer from sleep deprivation.

But what about those times when you’ve managed to snooze for a solid eight hours and you still feel tired upon waking up? If you get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night but still feel drowsy on a regular basis, there may be other issues at play. Read on to learn about the underlying causes of chronic drowsiness and how you can put the pep back in your step.

1. Sleep disorders

Everything from sleep apnea to insomnia contributes to daytime drowsiness, causing sufferers to feel over-tired at all hours of the day. Some disorders, such as insomnia, are characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. Other conditions, such as periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), can trigger disruptions in your sleep cycle, causing you to wake frequently throughout the night.

If you experience trouble sleeping and have a reduced or impaired ability to complete normal tasks as a result, or if a spouse or partner indicates that you snore loudly or seem to stop breathing while asleep, you may have a sleep disorder. Keep a sleep diary to record patterns and habits, and make an appointment with your doctor if symptoms persist.

2. Depression

Fatigue is a common symptom of depression — you will often hear sufferers of the disease talk about how hard it is to get out of bed or complete even the simplest of tasks. After studying the brains of clinically depressed patients, researchers concluded that depressed people not only have a harder time falling asleep, but they also get little or no “deep sleep,” and REM — the most restful stage in your sleep cycle — occurs earlier in the night than it should. Depression and insomnia can be treated, so it’s important to speak with your physician if you experience symptoms associated with these conditions.

3. Dehydration

Staying properly hydrated is a struggle for many people. Dehydration affects your body in many ways, and it can make you feel sluggish even after a restful night’s sleep. Keep a water bottle at your desk and carry one with you wherever you go. Be sure to also drink plenty of fluids before and after rigorous activity or a trip to the gym.

4. Drug interactions

Whether you take a prescription drug or over-the-counter medication, understanding the potential for food-drug interactions will help keep unpleasant side effects at bay. Mixing medication with alcohol can cause a significant increase in drowsiness and can put your overall health at serious risk. Before taking any drug, read up on dosage instructions, side effects, and potential risk factors to ensure you’re taking the medication properly.

5. Premenstrual Syndrome

PMS is a syndrome that affects many women and typically occurs right before or during menstruation. Melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, starts to decrease during the premenstrual phase of the menstrual cycle, which can make it difficult to sleep. If PMS-related fatigue becomes unmanageable, talk with your doctor about a melatonin supplement to ease symptoms.

Assessing your sleep patterns is the first step to feeling fully energized. Other factors such as diet and exercise also play a role in your overall energy levels. If you suspect you may have a sleep disorder or other condition, consult your doctor for medical advice.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information on this web site is for general information purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or health care provider on any matters relating to your health.

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