Drowsiness means feeling sleepy. People feeling drowsy may fall asleep at the most inappropriate times. This condition is also called hypersomnia or somnolence. Some symptoms of drowsiness include excess sleepiness during the day, lethargy, irritability, forgetfulness and less energy.
Drowsiness most commonly results from improper sleep or lack of sleep. 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 and because of poor diet, an eating disorder, chronic pain, lack of exercise, alcohol misuse, diabetes and underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).
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. One of the best ways to prevent daytime drowsiness is setting a proper sleeping schedule. 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. Maintain a sleep schedule that has a consistent bedtime and wake time.
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 which helps to keep away daytime sleepiness. When you wake up in the morning, go for a walk in the open air and enjoy sun exposure for at least 15 minutes.
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.
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 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. 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. 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.
7. Exercise Daily
Regular exercise of 30 minutes, 5 times a week, can greatly help improve your alertness and energy and fight daytime sleepiness. It also improves your sleep quality at night. Outdoor exercise provides the most benefits.
Enjoy 30 minutes of brisk walking in the morning. Also try some yoga postures and aerobic exercise in the evening but not before bedtime. Do not overexert yourself while doing exercises so that you feel exhausted.
8. Enjoy Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy can aid in reducing daytime drowsiness as well as headaches, fatigue, low energy, and irritability. Some of the best essential oils for you to make use along with the aromatherapy are peppermint oil, basil oil, and rosemary oil.
There are 3 ways people can make use with this therapy:
- Diffuse the oil throughout your living room or office to achieve sustained results.
- Add few drops of one type of essential oils that you love to your bathwater.
- Add few drops of one type of essential oils that you love on a napkin and sniff it from time to time so that you will be able to feel more alert and awake throughout the day.
9. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3
According to study conducted by the University of Oxford in 2014 suggested that higher consumption of omega-3 DHA can lead to better sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep will automatically help in fighting drowsiness, mild depression, and fatigue.
Omega-3 fatty acids also help in boosting the immune system and keep you mentally alert throughout the day. These foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids:
- Fatty fish like salmon, lake trout, sardines, mackerel and albacore tuna
- Walnuts and flaxseeds
- Soybeans and soy products
- Peanut butter
- Canola oil
10. Avoid Foods that Cause Drowsiness
Along with eating healthy, you need to be aware of the foods that cause more drowsiness and cut them out of your diet.
- Avoid pastries, pastas, potatoes, and white rice during the day as they make you sleepier.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages in the morning. Though caffeine does help with that feeling of alertness, it is just a temporary stimulant and can make you drowsier later during the day.
- Do not drink alcohol during the day, as it tends to make people sleepy.
- Avoid processed and smoked meat.
- Avoid breakfast foods with added sugars, such as high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar.
Take a 20-minute power nap during the day to reinvigorate yourself.
Give yourself a body massage for about 10 minutes to help you relax and fight stress and depression.
Listening to loud music will also help.
Include herbs like ginger and cayenne in your diet to fight drowsiness.
Avoid junk foods, saturated fats and sugar, which can make you drowsier during the day.
To get a good night’s sleep, try meditation before going to bed.
Whenever you feel drowsy, get up and take a walk for about 5 minutes.
Chewing sugar-free gum can also help fight off sleepiness during the day.
Take short breaks at work to refresh your mind.
Keep your workplace bright and uncluttered. This will motivate you to be active.
You can even try acupressure to reduce lethargy and drowsiness.
Do not stop taking any medication without consulting your doctor.