Why you always want to sleep: causes and how to treat it

Drowsiness is the lethargy of the body, when a person does not want to do anything, but seeks to close his eyes and just relax. It occurs for various reasons, most often due to lack of sleep, overwork, or illness. But there are still many everyday, external factors that provoke daytime sleepiness. This condition prevents a person from living life to the fullest, so it is important to figure out why you want to sleep all the time and what needs to be done in such a situation.

Signs of sleepiness

In addition to the desire to lie down and rest, the condition is accompanied by the following symptoms, which also cause discomfort:

  • clouding of consciousness;
  • decreased acuity of perception;
  • yawn;
  • slow heartbeat;
  • deterioration of the endocrine glands, dry mouth;
  • irritability, mood changes for the worse.

The most common reasons

The causes of daytime sleepiness are conventionally divided into several groups:

  • mental and physical fatigue;
  • somatic diseases;
  • sleep disorders;
  • oxygen starvation;
  • depressive conditions;
  • problems associated with the functioning of the endocrine system;
  • trauma;
  • disorders of the central nervous system and brain.

The listed groups have their own characteristics, which are worth considering in more detail.

Constant sleepiness can also be caused by electromagnetic radiation from cell phones, computers, and other equipment. The sleeping person should be at a distant distance from them.

Physiological sleepiness

Consider the factors that cause natural, non-abnormal sleepiness.

  • Physiological sleepiness is primarily caused by fatigue. If the night rest is irregular or inadequate, because there is not enough time for it, the body forcibly turns on the protective functions of inhibition of the central nervous system. The same applies to a situation when a person is very tired.
  • Even with sufficient sleep the day before, the desire to lie down and rest arises due to excessive visual or auditory load, pain.
  • Many people are always sleepy after eating. This condition is caused by the overflow of the stomach, which begins to work hard from the moment you eat. As a result, blood circulation slows down and the brain functions less actively. The person will feel lethargic until the stomach begins to rest.

Important! Drowsiness after eating, accompanied by pain in the abdomen or left side, may indicate the development of gastritis or stomach ulcers.

  • All the time women want to sleep in the first trimester of pregnancy due to hormonal changes.
  • Sleepiness is a reaction to stress. At an early stage, they cause excitability, with prolonged exposure – lethargy.

The simplest reason for the slowing down of body reactions is lack of sleep. This means that in order to feel good, a person must rest on average 8 hours a day.

  • Some foods eaten for breakfast or lunch can make you sleepy in the middle of the day.
  • Dairy products. The assimilation of casein and lactose by an adult body after 30 years decreases due to a lack of individual enzymes. Therefore, some people may experience lethargy and fatigue after a glass of milk or kefir, a jar of yogurt or a sandwich with cheese.
  • Bananas, nuts, and spinach are high in magnesium. In high doses, this macronutrient suppresses brain activity, nervous activity, dilates blood vessels, slows down the pulse and causes drowsiness.
  • Coffee. After several cups of this psychostimulant, drunk with short interruptions, the brain says “enough”. And for some people, coffee has a hypnotic effect from the first cup. The thing is that not only stimulating, but also inhibitory receptors react to caffeine. The final effect will depend on their ratio, which is individual for each person.
  • Sweets. The amino acid tryptophan, found in desserts, is a precursor to the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. The amount of melatonin is directly related to the amount of tryptophan ingested. The more it is, the more it tends to sleep.
  • Fatty food. Such food makes you feel full and satisfied, so the hormone serotonin, another precursor of melatonin, is produced in the body.

Pathological drowsiness

Pathological drowsiness occurs due to disturbances in the functioning of the body. When a person constantly wants to sleep, the reason may be:

  • Chronic or acute infectious diseases. As a result of these ailments, mental and physical strength is depleted. Increased sleepiness is most often seen during the recovery and restoration phase of the immune system.
  • Atherosclerosis of the vessels of the brain. Causes oxygen starvation. In addition to constant drowsiness, headaches, tinnitus, and other characteristic symptoms appear.

Note! Increased daytime sleepiness can be a harbinger of a stroke.

  • Anemia (anemia). Along with lethargy, memory impairment, decreased ability to work, increased fatigue, drowsiness appears.
  • Postponed injuries. Confusion is observed after a concussion, hemorrhage.
  • Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine. A clear sign of this disease is neck pain, which can radiate to the area between the shoulder blades, shoulders and arms, or be felt in the region of the crown, occiput.
  • Hypotension. Low blood pressure is a common cause of drowsiness. In this condition, the head is often dizzy, headaches, sweating of the palms and feet, memory impairment, and distraction of attention are observed. Fatigue and powerlessness are felt from the very morning, as soon as a person got out of bed. 
  • Sleep apnea. The pauses in breathing during sleep, which a person may not even be aware of, cause oxygen starvation, short awakenings, which make the patient feel overwhelmed during the day. Apnea is most common in men.
  • Depression. Sleepiness is a subconscious reaction of a person who seeks to escape into the world of dreams from an unsatisfying reality.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome. The constant desire to lie down and sleep is just one of its manifestations. 

Important! According to research by French scientists, daytime sleepiness in older people is associated with the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases, in particular from heart attacks and cardiac arrest.

Permanent lethargy is often associated with abnormalities in the work of internal organs, including:

  • liver pathology (cirrhosis, hepatitis, cancer);
  • kidney disease (nephritis, pyelonephritis, hydronephrosis);
  • problems with the gastrointestinal tract (accompanied by pain in the affected organ, for example, with a pancreatic disease, it hurts in the side on the right, with a stomach ulcer – more often on the left);
  • shock, bleeding;
  • malignant tumors;
  • intestinal obstruction;
  • rheumatism.

In an old, seriously ill person, excessive sleepiness and weakness, along with decreasing periods of wakefulness, lack of appetite, and jumps in body temperature, speaks of imminent death.

“Sleepy” diseases

Disorders such as hypersomnia and narcolepsy should be distinguished into a separate category.

Idiopathic hypersomnia is a poorly understood sleep disorder that affects young people most often. It is accompanied by a significant increase in the duration of night sleep and eternal daytime sleepiness, which cannot be controlled. Sleep time is short and awakening is difficult.

Narcolepsy is an incurable sleep disorder in which there is persistent sleepiness, regardless of the number of hours of night and day rest. Short-term hallucinations are common on awakening or falling asleep. Typical features are “attacks” of sleep, in which a person can unexpectedly fall asleep in the most inappropriate place, and attacks of cataplexy – a short-term loss of muscle tone.

In some countries (but not in Russia) hypersomnia and narcolepsy are included in the list of diseases for which disability is given, since they cannot be completely cured and it is difficult for a person with these disabilities to perform even simple work.

Disorders of the endocrine system

The causes of constant drowsiness and malaise can lie in serious disruptions in the functioning of the endocrine system.

  • Hypothyroidism With a lack of thyroid hormones, a person always wants to sleep, feels tired, constantly freezes, he loses interest in life. Metabolism is inhibited, due to which brain activity suffers.
  • Diabetes. Thirst, weight loss and daytime sleepiness are the first symptoms of this disease.
  • Chronic adrenal insufficiency. Additional signs are muscle weakness, apathy, weight loss, darkening of the skin and mucous membranes, a person may feel sick.


The reason for the constant desire to sleep can be intoxication of the body due to chronic or acute poisoning. The state of inhibition is aggravated by taking medications.

Drowsiness can be caused by:

  1. Alcohol. The feeling of drowsiness is associated with the degree of intoxication. Lethargy appears after the middle stage. First, there is a desire to sleep, then the body “turns off”.
  2. Psychotropic medicines. Antidepressants, tranquilizers or antipsychotics can not only cause prolonged drowsiness, but also make it chronic. The same effect can appear after a long intake of sleeping pills and a large amount of sedatives, in connection with which the inhibition of the central nervous system begins.
  3. Smoking. Due to this habit, oxygen is poorly supplied to the cerebral cortex. 30 % of tobacco users experience regular breakdowns. This state does not go away even at the stage of trying to quit the bad habit. 
  4. Morphine-based narcotic drugs.

Other causes of increased sleepiness

A sound sleep plays an important role in our life. If a person has worked mentally for a long time, without giving the brain a break, then the body automatically resists overstrain.

Consider other causes of drowsiness that can be easily addressed if needed.

  • Restraint, desire to sleep during the day are side effects of a number of drugs, except for sleeping pills. It can be Suprastin, Diazolin, Fenistil and others.
  • Energy drinks. At first they cause excitement and invigorate, but with prolonged use they give the opposite effect.
  • Fatty, abundant food before bedtime.
  • Daily or shift work schedules. A person sleeps at different times, and the body cannot adapt to the regime.
  • Change of time zone.
  • Late falling asleep with early rise.
  • Prolonged stay in a horizontal position just before bedtime.
  • Freezing of the body or lowering its temperature.
  • Lack of oxygen in poorly ventilated areas.
  • Any external factors that interfere with normal rest. You can simply not get enough sleep because of the noise, then you will want to sleep during the day.
  • Improper nutrition, diets and the resulting lack of fats, vitamins A and E. At the same time, a person not only feels sleepy, but also freezes even in summer, when it is warm.
  • Avitaminosis. It is observed in most people in winter and especially in spring. To cope with it, you need to change your diet and drink vitamin and mineral complexes.

What if you constantly want to sleep?

As with any well-being and health problem, persistent drowsiness can be eliminated by eliminating its causes. But after looking at their extensive list, it’s easy to get confused. How to determine what exactly caused this condition?

The first thing to do is to analyze your lifestyle, perhaps the reason lies precisely in it, and it is enough just to rebuild the regime or get rid of bad habits. When it becomes obvious that unhealthy drowsiness is a consequence of some malfunction in the body, you need to consult a doctor and get tested. It is necessary to go immediately to a therapist, and if you suspect a specific disease – to a narrow specialist, for example, an endocrinologist. 

Based on the results of the examination and analyzes, the disease will be identified and treatment will be prescribed. If it turns out that all indicators are normal, the doctor can diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome or refer the patient to a somnologist who diagnoses hypersomnia or other sleep disorders.

Pregnant women do not need to worry about increased sleepiness. If possible, you should rest when the body requires it. This condition usually resolves by the second trimester.

If constant drowsiness is not a consequence of a disease or a malfunction of the body, then it is not so difficult to cope with it. You need to lead a healthy lifestyle, play sports, treat diseases on time, organize your day correctly, sleep in a comfortable environment for at least 8 hours a day.

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