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4 Major Causes of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

Updated on June 24, 2019

When we don't get a healthy amount of sleep, it can often seem like every aspect of our lives seems to suffer. We may feel unfocused at work or lack the emotional energy necessary to cope with life's challenges; we may even experience more serious symptoms such as chest pains or shortness of breath. Sometimes, figuring out the cause of poor sleep is half the battle in getting our lives back on track. Here are just a few causes of daytime sleepiness, and why addressing them can significantly improve our quality of life.

Dehydration can cause us to feel excessively tired and sleepy

Dehydration

Despite the fact that we would not expect our car to run smoothly if we did not regularly give it oil, we often go without enough water to get us through the day. Unfortunately, dehydration can cause serious issues with our sense of well-being, particularly when it comes to our energy levels. Dehydration can cause us to feel excessively tired and sleepy; fortunately, it's easy to fix this problem in the short-term. While many say to drink six glasses of water a day, this varies per person depending on exercise levels and size. Instead, keep a water bottle handy and drink regularly when thirsty. If you notice signs of dehydration, be sure to increase your intake appropriately. If you never seem to get enough, speak to a doctor, as there may be something else going on that requires professional help.

Sleep apnea can also lead to serious health conditions such as strokes or heart attacks.

Sleep Apnea

When a person has sleep apnea, it is nearly impossible to get a good night's rest. Sleep apnea occurs when a person's airway becomes blocked during sleeping hours and causes them to wake up numerous times during the night. In place of prolonged periods of restful sleep at night, this person will experience something resembling short, shallow blocks of napping accompanied by loud snoring and choking. As if the accompanying sleep deprivation were not bad enough, sleep apnea can also lead to serious health conditions such as strokes or heart attacks. Fortunately, seeking out good sleep apnea doctors can help you solve this problem before it becomes more serious. Most people with sleep apnea have no idea they have it. The signs to look for are excessive daytime sleepiness, restless sleep, and snoring. If you experience these symptoms, you can participate in a sleep study to diagnose your problem. Solutions include wearing a special breathing mask at night and sleeping in a more raised position to allow for better breathing.

Iron-deficiency anemia can result not only in feelings of physical exhaustion but also chest pains and breathing difficulties.

Iron Deficiency

When our bodies lack iron, it is easy to enter into a state of anemia without even realizing that we are doing so. Iron-deficiency anemia can result not only in feelings of physical exhaustion but also chest pains and breathing difficulties, but the good news is that iron deficiency can often be treated by eating better foods (chicken, ham, and dark chocolate can be effective remedies to the condition) or taking iron supplements available at most grocery stores. If you're concerned that you might have iron-deficiency anemia, try talking to a trusted medical care professional; they may be able to offer tips on how to overcome the condition. It is best to have your iron levels tested in a blood test and have a specialist work with you to bring your levels up if you are chronically anemic. Iron can easily be overdosed if over-supplemented regularly, so it is best to only self-prescribe these supplements for occasional anemia, like after menstruation, and to take sparingly.

With the right approach to treating daytime sleepiness, it is no secret that our quality of life can be significantly improved. Whether our body isn't getting the right amount of water or nutrients during the day, or an untreated bout of sleep apnea is keeping us from achieving our full potential during work hours or family activities, the time might be right to find the cause of feelings of exhaustion. With the right amount of healthy sleep, there's no telling how much life can get better.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Anica Oaks

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    • Larry Slawson profile image

      Larry Slawson 

      11 months ago from North Carolina

      Sleepiness is something I struggle with on a daily basis. Very informative! Thank you for sharing!

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