Are you feeling sleepy, and you don’t know why this is so?
Is it interfering with whatever you are doing, or do you just feel sleepy suddenly?
There are many reasons why you would feel sleepy.
Some are a result of your doings, while others could be due to external factors. Some are temporary, while others may have been happening for quite a while.
In this article, I will be listing down 6 reasons why you are feeling sleepy.
1. Not having enough sleep
It could have been a few nights, weeks, or even months since you have properly closed your eyes for the recommended number of hours of sleep.
You could be extremely busy with work, experiencing burnout, or simply refusing to sleep longer.
Whatever it is, you lack sleep, and it is tiring your body out.
As a result, your body does not have enough rest to keep you awake for the whole day.
Most adults require between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night for them to be awake and perform optimally throughout the day. Children require more while the elderly still require a minimum of 7 hours of sleep.
Depending on your age, it is best to sleep for the recommended number of hours per day so that you can perform the best during your waking hours.
By feeling sleepy, your body is telling you that you need sleep to recharge.
So do yourself a favour and start sleeping sufficiently every night.
2. Caffeine and/or sugar withdrawal
Many of us depend on the caffeine in coffee to give us an energy boost.
We drink it every day to increase our alertness, energy levels, and performance.
Our body becomes addicted and used to the daily caffeine intake.
However, when this intake suddenly plunges, you start to feel fatigued and sleepy.
Your body cannot get used to it, and the opposite effects of consuming caffeine occur.
Unfortunately, if you are one of those who consume coffee excessively, the withdrawal effects may be worse, resulting in exhaustion and drowsiness.
Additionally, caffeine withdrawal is not the only substance that may be causing you to feel sleepy.
A sudden lack of sugar, present in excessive amounts in energy drinks, may also cause you to experience similar withdrawal symptoms.
3. Food choices
Have you ever heard that certain foods can make you feel sleepy?
Some are sleep-inducing while others drain your energy.
Sleep-inducing foods typically help you relax or help your body produce melatonin, commonly referred to as the ‘sleep hormone.’
Some examples are yogurt and honey.
As for foods that drain your energy, they do so by spiking your blood sugar levels or slowing your digestion.
For example, a food that spikes your blood sugar levels is processed grains. They are digested and absorbed rapidly by the body, causing a quick temporary rise in blood sugar levels followed by a sharp drop, which then makes you sleepy.
Also, foods that slow your digestion, such as fast food, often have high-fat content while low fiber and nutritional value. As a result, you may not be receiving sufficient energy from foods, causing sleepiness.
4. The environment
Your environment could be making you feel too comfortable or too bored, causing sleepiness.
Examples of such environmental factors can be the dim lighting, comfortable sofa, or even the monotonous presentation given by someone that you have no interest in.
With dim lighting or a comfortable sofa, your body may mistakenly prepare you to sleep through a few ways – muscles begin to relax, body temperature drops, etc.
Also, listening to a monotonous presentation could make you so bored that you start daydreaming unintentionally. Without an exciting event to capture your attention, your consciousness wanders, and sleepiness sets in.
If you tend to feel sleepy in the afternoon, you are not alone.
Many people feel the same way.
Their eyelids get heavy. They find that their energy levels and concentration drop drastically.
Why is this so?
In the afternoon from 2-4 pm, your core body temperature naturally drops as part of your body’s circadian rhythm.
This drop in temperature promotes the production of melatonin, the ‘sleep hormone’ mentioned earlier.
As a result, you start to feel sleepy, especially after lunch.
This dip in core body temperature also occurs naturally at night, where most people’s bedtimes are.
Additionally, the time that you normally sleep can also affect when you will feel sleepy.
If you normally sleep in the afternoon, your body will then be used to preparing for bed during that time.
Also, for people who work night shifts, they tend to feel sleepy in the day, as that is when they tend to sleep before their shifts start.
6. Sleep disorder
Unfortunately, the reason why you feel sleepy could also be due to a sleep disorder.
Sleep disorders are conditions that result from a disruption or change in a person’s sleep patterns.
One of the signs and symptoms of sleep disorders is feeling sleepy in the daytime.
Some common types of sleep disorders are narcolepsy and shift work sleep disorder.
People who have narcolepsy experience extreme sleepiness and/or dozing off suddenly during the day.
Shift work sleep disorder is commonly experienced by people who work night shifts. Due to this disorder, they may feel sleepy during their night shifts but awake during the day when their shift is over.
It is best to read up more on such issues or consult a doctor should you have more concerns.