Is daytime sleepiness an alarming symptom?

During the day a person is awake, and at night he sleeps. It has been so since ancient times. And it is in this mode that the human biological clock works. But sometimes people get sleepy during the day. This condition interferes with the work or study process, causes a deterioration in well-being, and sometimes completely changes plans. What might daytime sleepiness signal? And when does a symptom need special attention?

Sleepiness, which is considered normal

Every person periodically encounters daytime sleepiness. If this condition appears rarely, then there is no cause for alarm. The constant yawning and the desire to sleep, which appear with enviable regularity, require attention.

Daytime sleepiness is a normal physiological phenomenon, caused by the following reasons:

  • reception of a hearty lunch;
  • cloudy, rainy day;
  • stuffiness in the room;
  • too hot day;
  • insufficient lighting in the room;
  • period of pregnancy;
  • improper sleep patterns (falling asleep late);
  • long journeys, flights;
  • physical, psycho-emotional, mental stress;
  • lack of sleep;
  • hypodynamia;
  • taking medications accompanied by drowsiness (antihypertensive drugs, some antiallergic drugs, antipsychotics, tranquilizers).

These factors cause temporary sleepiness. As soon as the cause is eliminated, the person’s condition quickly returns to normal and the unpleasant yawning no longer appears.

When sleepiness becomes a wake-up call

If a person sleeps for at least 7-8 hours at night, but at the same time he is tormented by constant drowsiness, then the reasons for this condition are often hidden in the pathologies occurring in the body. It is very difficult to independently diagnose such diseases, because a strong desire to fall asleep occurs with many disorders.

Main reasons

According to research by doctors, sleepiness is most often caused by:

1. Depression, nervous exhaustion 

Such conditions are caused by prolonged stress, starvation, excessive exertion, and lingering chronic diseases. The patient complains not only of drowsiness, but also of the appearance of:

  • constant fatigue; 
  • irritability;
  • memory impairment;
  • decrease in thought processes.

2. Diabetes mellitus 

In the human body, insulin is incorrectly synthesized or absorbed by tissues. This leads to a decrease in energy in the cells. This process affects the operation of many systems. If the cause of increased sleepiness is caused by diabetes, then the patient may experience the following symptoms:

  • feeling of weakness, tiredness;
  • intense thirst;
  • itchy skin;
  • increased amount of urine;
  • dizziness;
  • the smell of acetone from the mouth;
  • decrease in pressure.

3. Obesity 

Obese people often experience sleep apnea. This is a pathological condition in which breathing stops during sleep. Apnea manifests itself in the form of a short-term interruption of snoring. To restore breathing, the brain has to wake up and start all the mechanisms. Such awakenings can occur several times during the night. Against the background of poor quality sleep, a person is faced with daytime sleepiness.

Additional reasons

Severe drowsiness can be triggered by the following reasons: 

  • head trauma;
  • blood diseases (leukemia, anemia);
  • encephalitis;
  • traumatic brain injury (TBI);
  • stroke;
  • hypovitaminosis;
  • rehabilitation after illness, injury;
  • dehydration;
  • hypotension, hypertension;
  • restless legs syndrome;
  • vegetative-vascular dystonia (VVD);
  • heart disease;
  • physical exhaustion;
  • vascular atherosclerosis;
  • infectious processes;
  • insufficient work of the thyroid gland;
  • kidney disease (glomerulonephritis, pyelonephritis, hydronephrosis);
  • latent form of allergy;
  • fibromyalgia;
  • internal bleeding;
  • liver disease (cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis);
  • malignant tumors;
  • hormonal disorders;
  • schizophrenia;
  • intoxication of the body.

Women may experience increased sleepiness during menopause. This phenomenon is caused by a failure of hormones. And in men, fatigue and chronic yawning may be based on hypoandrogenism (lack of testosterone in the body).

Sleepiness is a sign of dangerous conditions

The following conditions deserve special attention:

  • acute intoxication (taking opiates, botulism);
  • hypothermia (body cooling and freezing);
  • TBI (cerebral edema, hematoma);
  • preeclampsia of pregnant women;
  • severe forms of internal poisoning (hepatic or renal coma).

If drowsiness suddenly appears against the background of such pathologies, then it is a symptom of an impending disaster. Such a sign may indicate severe brain damage.

In these conditions, excessive sleepiness may be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • headaches;
  • severe dizziness (may indicate brain hypoxia);
  • faster or slower heart rate;
  • nausea, vomiting (appears in case of poisoning);
  • increased pressure;
  • deterioration of vision and the appearance of “flies” before the eyes (observed with preeclampsia);
  • a sharp drop in pressure;
  • loss of consciousness.

In these cases, you must immediately consult a doctor for help.

What to do: treatment methods and general recommendations

How to get rid of daytime sleepiness? The methods of dealing with chronic yawning depend on the cause of the condition. If there are suspicions of the development of pathologies in the body, then it is necessary to consult a doctor and undergo a prescribed examination. Based on its results, the specialist will select an adequate treatment.

In case of constant lack of sleep, it is recommended to review your daily routine and allow sufficient time to rest. Prolonged lack of adequate sleep leads to depletion of the nervous system.

Doctor’s advice

Somnologists (these are doctors who treat sleep disorders) recommend that all patients who experience daytime sleepiness follow these rules:

  1. Proper nutrition. Do not overuse carbohydrates. They are the ones that often lead to drowsiness. Nutrition must be enriched with vegetables and fruits.
  2. Caffeinated drinks. It is recommended to exclude strong tea and coffee from the menu. Such drinks force the brain to work hard. This dramatically depletes the body. Therefore, after a while, even greater drowsiness is noted.
  3. Sleeping mode. Scientists have confirmed that sleep before midnight is the most valuable for the recovery of the human body. That is why you need to go to bed before 23.00. It is desirable to fall asleep and wake up at the same time.
  4. Physical activity. To provide the body with a full night’s rest and prevent the appearance of daytime sleepiness, it is recommended to do sports. You can practice yoga, fitness, swimming. Even regular walking will help.
  5. Bad habits. It is necessary to quit smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages. Such actions cause vasodilation, and then their sharp narrowing. This leads to oxygen starvation, resulting in drowsiness. 

If you need to “wake up” immediately, then you can resort to acupressure. To quickly cope with daytime sleepiness, you need to press on your fingertips (in the center, just below the nail), on the base of the bridge of the nose, or on the center point under the nose. Rubbing the ears is another effective awakening method.

Daytime sleepiness is an unpleasant condition that in most cases indicates chronic fatigue and constant lack of sleep. But sometimes the reasons for this phenomenon can be very serious.

Therefore, it is best not to ignore the alarm. A timely visit to the doctor and the necessary diagnostics of the body will protect against unpleasant surprises in the future.

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