Without sleep, we can’t function. It rests our bodies and it resets our minds; therefore, when sleep deprivation is present, many things can happen. For instance, we lose focus during the day, suffer through daytime fatigue, and struggle with irritation. There’s nothing worse than a lack of ability to do the smallest of tasks, creating more and more agitation toward the smallest problems.
Ever tried to write a report while sleepy? Or multitask? Or think about more than half of a thought? It’s near impossible. No amount of coffee can fix that issue, no matter how many shots of espresso you toss in. As a matter of fact, coffee might be one of the issues, but we’ll get to that.
But it doesn’t just stop at being sleepy and irritated.
According to Very Well Health, “Excessive sleepiness may have significant impacts on health. It increases the risk of falling asleep while driving. Sleep deprivation has physical tolls, affecting chronic pain,3 hormones, and weight gain. Insomnia may contribute to anxiety and depression. Sleep disorders like sleep apnea may increase your risk for hypertension, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and sudden death. Quality of life is significantly compromised by poor sleep” (Peters, 2019).
The struggle of losing sleep doesn’t have to be a reality, though. The first step in taking care of yourself is knowing exactly what’s causing your lack of sleep. Is it stress? Is it a poor sleep schedule? Is it a sleep disorder?
Let’s faceplant right into it:
What causes sleepiness?
There are many factors for daytime sleepiness, ranging from common stress to a more complex sleep disorder. If you’re not sure what causes your sleepiness, it’s time to find out.
Remember, this blog is not here for self-diagnosis, just to help push people in the right direction. If you’re having sleep trouble, seek out a medical professional like a sleep specialist.
Now that that’s outta the way, let’s nosedive into causes:
It’s no surprise that this one causes sleep deprivation. Most of us deal with stress on a daily basis – whether that’s work, school, home, or you can’t beat that really hard level in that game. Whatever the case, stress is an enemy of sleep and relaxation. Try breathing exercises to calm your breathing, allowing yourself to relax the brain a bit.
If stress and anxiety are chronic, consider reaching out to a professional for help. There’s no shame in seeking a solution for psychological issues.
This one I can attest to personally. Drinking more coffee to stay awake only meant that I was getting worse sleep. And don’t just take it from me, WebMD states that, “Some try to cope with excessive sleepiness through caffeine or stimulants, he says. ‘They’ll come in actually complaining of insomnia because they’re at Starbucks too much, and they’re piling on the caffeine too late in the day. They’re really responding to sleepiness, but then they end up getting secondary insomnia related to the caffeine.’” (Smith, 2010).
Cutting back on caffeine, especially later in the day, can help immensely.
Poor sleep schedule
Workaholics keep going into the night, gamers stay up to rank up, and students believe sleep comes after death. These habits create extremely poor sleep habits that then become detrimental to a person’s overall health.
One thing you can do is create a buffer between activity and bedtime. Put away the screens, the work, the textbook just so you can relax that brain. Reading a book is a great way to ease the mind into the mode.
The answer to your sleepiness may not actually be simple. In that case, it could be a sleep disorder like insomnia, sleep apnea, or narcolepsy. Sleep disorders can be dangerous to our health, causing all sorts of problems like high blood pressure and diabetes.
The first step in sleep disorder treatment is receiving an at-home sleep study. At the Ear, Nose and Throat Institute, our specialists can determine if you have a disorder or not. From there, they can assess the best treatment options for you.
Here’s a few things you can do if it’s not a sleep disorder:
- Don’t workout a few hours before bed
- Don’t eat a couple hours before bed
- Put down the screens at least 1 hour before bed
- Ensure the bedroom is cool and dark
- Ensure the bedroom is only for sleeping and not for work
Peters, B. (2019, October 31st) Reasons for Feeling Sleepy All the Time [Health Article] Retrieved on June 25th, 2020 from https://www.verywellhealth.com/reasons-why-you-feel-sleepy-3014818#:~:text=The%20most%20common%20cause%20of,how%20much%20sleep%20you%20need.
Smith, M. (2010, January 19th) What’s Causing Your Sleepiness? [Medical Article] Retrieved on June 25th, 2020 from https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/sleepy-all-the-time#1
Mayo Clinic (2016, October 15th) Insomnia [Medical Website] Retrieved on June 25th, 2020 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355167