In simple terms, drowsiness means feeling sleepy. People feeling drowsy may fall asleep at the most inappropriate times. This condition is also called hypersomnia or somnolence.
Drowsiness most commonly results from improper sleep or lack of sleep. In fact, excessive daytime drowsiness may be a sign of a sleep disorder. Emotional states including depression, anxiety, stress and boredom can also cause it.
It can also be a side effect of certain medications. Other causes include poor diet, an eating disorder, chronic pain, lack of exercise, alcohol misuse, diabetes and underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).
Some symptoms of drowsiness include excess sleepiness during the day, lethargy, irritability, forgetfulness and less energy.
Drowsiness can affect your productivity and even cause havoc in your personal life. With lifestyle changes, a healthy diet and proper sleep pattern, you can easily fight drowsiness.
However, consult a doctor if you begin to feel drowsy after you have started a new medication, taken an overdose of a medication, or sustained a head injury. In addition, if your drowsiness is due to a medical problem or a sleep disorder, seek medical help.
Here are the top 10 ways to fight drowsiness.
1. Commit to a Regular Sleep Schedule
Lack of sleep and disturbed sleep are two of the main reasons behind daytime sleepiness. Hence, setting a proper sleeping schedule is one of the best ways to prevent daytime drowsiness. Proper sleep will even help fight low energy, fatigue, depression and stress.
Different people need different amounts of sleep to function well, however an average of 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep is enough to help your body function properly. To help enjoy sound sleep:
- Maintain a sleep schedule that has a consistent bedtime and wake time.
- Keep your bedroom completely dark to promote restful sleep. If needed, use shades or blinds to block out any exterior light.
- Invest in a good quality mattress, comforter and pillows to improve your sleep quality.
- Read a book or do some relaxing yoga stretches for about 20 minutes before going to bed.
- Limit your screen time staring at computers, TVs or phones in the evening before going to bed.
2. Begin Your Day with Sunlight
Expose yourself to some sunlight every day. This will help keep you alert and energetic throughout the day and fight daytime sleepiness. In fact, sunlight helps regulate sleep-wake cycle as it helps your brain register that it is time to wake up.
Sunlight also helps the body produce vitamin D. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that vitamin D deficiency could be associated with sleep problems, particularly daytime sleepiness. However, a well-designed future study is needed to come to a concrete conclusion.
When you wake up in the morning, go for a walk in the open air and enjoy sun exposure for at least 15 minutes. Do not apply any sunscreen during this time.
3. Splash Cold Water on your Face
Whenever you feel drowsy, splash some cold water on your face. The sudden change in temperature helps dispel that sleepy feeling and improve your energy level as well as mental focus.
After splashing your face with cold water, stand in front of the cold draft from an air conditioner to make this water therapy even more effective.
You can even take a cool shower in the morning to help drive out sleepiness and also improve your blood circulation.
4. Drink Green Tea after Waking Up
Green tea gives you a boost of energy and stamina that last for hours and prevent drowsiness. It is even effective at fighting fatigue and stress while improving mental focus. In addition, the polyphenols in it help promote better sleep.
Drink a cup of green tea after waking up and a few more cups throughout the day. To make green tea:
- Add 1 teaspoon of green tea leaves to a cup of hot water.
- Cover and steep for 5 minutes.
- Strain, sweeten with honey and drink it.
5. Drink Lemon Water
Drinking lemon water in the morning is another excellent way to get rid of daytime sleepiness. It helps keep the body hydrated and flush out harmful toxins. Dehydration affects the oxygenation of the brain, making you feel more tired and sleepy during the day.
Drink a glass of lemon water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and another 1 to 2 glasses during the day.
To make lemon water, squeeze the juice from ½ lemon into a glass of purified, lukewarm water. If you want, you can add a little honey.
To keep your body hydrated, also consume foods that naturally contain water, such as yogurt, broccoli, carrots and juicy fruits like watermelon, oranges and grapefruits.
6. Eat a Healthy Breakfast and Snacks
To prevent daytime drowsiness, never skip breakfast. Eating a healthy yet light breakfast will keep you active in the morning and more productive in your daily activities.
Moreover, skipping breakfast means your blood sugar will be low in the morning and energy levels down.
A good breakfast includes foods low in fat and full of protein and complex carbohydrates. Include milk, yogurt, eggs, cottage cheese, whole-grain bread, fiber-rich fruits, oatmeal, cereals, nuts and smoothies in your breakfast menu.
In fact, you can rev up your morning with a healthy wake-up smoothie made with low-fat yogurt, strawberries, banana, kiwi, fresh orange juice and a little raw honey.
Avoid eating a heavy lunch and have healthy mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks, such as nuts, fruits, sandwiches, juices and so on. Also, make it a habit to finish your dinner 2 hours before going to bed.