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What Causes Drowsiness
Drowsiness is characterized by feelings of extreme tiredness and an inability to keep your eyes open. It is often accompanied by feelings of fatigue, physical weakness and difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly. Drowsiness happens to everyone periodically, but persistent sleepiness or heavy fatigue that occurs regularly is a sign of underlying problems such as sleep disorders or other illnesses. Drowsiness that occurs suddenly a short time after a head injury can indicate a concussion (a potentially life-threatening injury that needs immediate medical attention).
The most common causes of drowsiness are stress, depression, anxiety and sleep disorders like apnea or insomnia. Drowsiness can also be a side effect of many medications including antidepressants, sleep medications, antihistamines and anti-nausea medicines. Other situations that can cause drowsiness are irregular work schedules, like shift work, and jet lag. The best way to combat frequent drowsiness is to treat the underlying problem.
Symptoms of Drowsiness
Drowsiness refers to being extremely tired or having very low energy. It is often accompanied by feelings of heaviness, difficulty with memory, comprehension and thinking, fatigue or lethargy. Drowsiness is often a side effect of anxiety, depression and excessive stress, or the result of overtaxed mental and emotional states.
Drowsiness accompanied by more serious symptoms like changes in consciousness, hallucinations, delirium, confusion, convulsions, severe headache, stiff neck or the inability to get warm is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical care.
Regular sleep schedules and meal times help regulate the natural circadian rhythm, ensuring a better night’s sleep and reduced daytime drowsiness. Many people become dependent on stimulants like caffeine to overcome drowsiness, but chronic overuse and abuse can lead to adrenal fatigue, a condition which further compounds fatigue and drowsiness. Instead, focus on healthy eating habits, regular exercise, stress reduction techniques and getting a proper night’s sleep. Most adults require 7-9 hours of sleep nightly in order to function properly and not struggle with fatigue during the day.
Marked drowsiness and fatigue can also occur after eating foods you are intolerant to. If you notice a heavy, sleeping feeling comes over you not long after a meal, it indicates the likely presence of food intolerance. A food journal can help pinpoint any dietary culprits.
If you have a demanding lifestyle, stress management is very important not only for combating fatigue and daytime drowsiness, but to protect yourself from many serious health issues that can be directly attributed to high stress levels, including heart disease and stroke.
Help for Drowsiness
There are several herbal remedies that can help boost energy without the risks and side effects of chemical stimulants. Eleuthero and ginseng are two popular herbal remedies that work as adaptogens in the body, meaning they help the body manage stress responses and improve stamina. Ginkgo can help sharpen mental focus and clarity, making it easier to concentrate and finish tasks. Fo-ti can help strengthen the adrenal glands which are often taxed due to stress and the overuse of stimulants like caffeine.