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The first step in battling drowsiness is to differentiate between it and fatigue. Fatigue is commonly a side effect of depression or stress and is often coupled with apathy. Drowsiness is a feeling of excessive sleepiness. In fact, many people who suffer from excessive drowsiness actually fall asleep during the day.
There are a variety of reasons why someone may experience excessive sleepiness, and not all of them are health-related. Working various shifts doesn’t allow your body to become accustomed to one sleep pattern and can lead to difficulty staying awake. Some medications, such as antihistamines, have the side effect of causing drowsiness. If you sleep less than seven hours each night, adding an hour or two of sleep during the night can greatly decrease your sleepiness during the day.
There are medical conditions that can lead to daytime sleepiness, so if you suffer from persistent drowsiness, it is important to visit a doctor to rule these conditions out. Hypothyroidism is a common cause of excessive tiredness. Some people suffer from undiagnosed sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy, which leads to sleepiness.
The wide variety of causes of daytime sleepiness makes it important to get to the root of the problem. There are some home remedies that often help. If you are overweight, you are at an increased risk of sleep apnea. Even if you do not suffer from sleep apnea, people that weigh more than is ideal for their height often have a decreased amount of oxygen in their bodies. Losing weight is an effective strategy for dealing with this problem.
Many people believe that they must visit a sleep specialist to deal with daytime sleepiness, but that isn’t necessarily true. A general practitioner can provide a wide range of diagnostic tests and may be able to help your excessive tiredness in one visit. Blood and urine tests as well as a detailed lifestyle questionnaire will provide many of the answers your doctor is seeking.
While waiting for a diagnosis, there are several ways to battle daytime drowsiness. Get at least seven hours of sleep each night, exercise 30 minutes each day, eliminate caffeine in the afternoon and evening to improve the quality of your nighttime sleep and eat frequent small, balanced meals. Each meal should contain protein, carbohydrates and fat for a healthy balance. Too many carbohydrates or fats can lead almost immediately to excessive drowsiness.