Daytime Sleepiness

Daytime Sleepiness

Most people experience this to some degree as our natural circadian rhythm has a dip early afternoon. Everyone will have their own particular ‘low’ point, but it should pass by about 5pm and be followed by a more energetic period in the evening. If you find yourself fighting sleep at your desk or nodding off in the supermarket, this is usually a sign that you are sleep-deprived. More serious sleep problems, like narcolepsy and sleep apnea may be possible reasons, so if you are seriously concerned and altering your sleep routine and the number of hours you sleep is not resulting in an improvement, see you doctor. To check if your daytime sleepiness is a result of being sleep-deprived, check your Sleep Latency Period.

In the battle against sleepiness, falling asleep could help. If you can barely keep your eyes open during the day, set aside a little time for a rejuvenating power nap. Even 20 minutes can help improve your performance and mood. Make sure it is no more than 20 minutes, though, or it will affect you night-time sleep. Even losing an hour a night over several nights will leave you with a sleep deficit that can result in daytime sleepiness, so prioritize your sleep until you have caught up.

Common Symptoms

A� Lack of concentration

A� Irritability

A� An overwhelming desire to sleep

A� Falling asleep less than 10 minutes after retiring to bed

Diet

Avoid refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, for lunch as it will emphasize the natural lull in your circadian rhythm. Opt for slow-releasing energy foods, such as porridge, for breakfast. Caffeine can give a boost, but avoid it after 5pm as it will keep the cycle going.

Depression

Emotional resilience can be seriously impaired by the lack of sleep, making you susceptible to depression. Whether the depression has been triggered by sleepiness or the insomnia is a symptom of depression, the depression will be unlikely to lift without some intervention. If you are prescribed anti-depressants you must ensure that any other treatments can be used safely with them, as they are not always compatible. An essential part of emerging from depression is talking.

No matter whether or not you feel you want to discuss the origin of your depression, it can help to talk about the feeling of being depressed in itself. Talking can also alleviate symptoms of isolation, speed recovery and help resolve the issues that may have caused the depression in the first place.

Common Symptoms

A� Disturbed sleep (such as insomnia or oversleeping)

A� Anxiety

A� Loss of appetite

A� Poor concentration

A� Loss of motivation

A� Mood swings

A� Lowered libido

A� Negative thought cycles

A� Hyperventilation