Why Do You Feel Sleepy All the Time?

It is normal to feel tired after a long day at work or a strenuous workout session in the gym. However, there may be an underlying cause if you feel tired all the time for no apparent reason. It could be due to a chronic condition or something more serious. Feeling sleepy all the time is a symptom that requires further evaluation, and that is why you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

What Is Causing Your Sleepiness?

It is a good idea to talk to your doctor if you feel tired and just cannot shake that feeling for several days. It is not always serious, but it could indicate certain issues.

1.    You Get Little Sleep

Sleep deprivation is one common cause of feeling sleepy throughout the day. So many factors affect the amount of sleep you should get. Generally, anyone between the ages 18 and 64 should get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. It is okay to get 7-8 hours of sleep when you are 65 or older. Studies show that about 35% of Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep nightly. Insufficient sleep can cause daytime sleepiness and lead to other problems as well.

2.    You Take Medications or Drugs

The use of certain medications and substance abuse can also cause daytime sleepiness. You may feel drowsy when you take sedatives, antihistamines, or opioid pain medications. You may experience the same when you take antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, or heart and blood pressure medications. Use of mind-altering substances, including alcohol can also cause drowsiness and daytime sleepiness. Alcohol can affect your sleep cycle and make you feel sleepy during the day. Excessive sleepiness could also be the result of medicinal or recreational marijuana use.

3.    You Have an Underlying Medical Condition

Feeling sleepy all the time could also be a sign of an underlying medical condition. For instance:

  • It could happen due to blood disorders, such as leukemia, anemia, or lymphoma.
  • It could be the result of infections, such as HIV, infectious mononucleosis, and Lyme disease.
  • It could be due to gastrointestinal conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, and celiac disease.
  • It could be because of neurologic conditions, such as dementia, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease.

Moreover, you may feel sleepy due to inflammatory diseases, endocrine disorders, solid tissue cancers, and many other conditions.

4.    You Are Insomniac

You may develop insomnia due to a sleep disorder, which can make it difficult for you to go to sleep at night. When you stay awake all night long, you are going to feel sleepy during the day.

5.    You Have Sleep Apnea

Characterized by loud snoring, choking, and gasping, sleep apnea may cause pauses in breathing. This can lead to sudden awakenings throughout the night. That little pause actually lowers your oxygen supply, which disturbs your sleep. Poor sleep quality due to sleep apnea can also be the reason behind feeling sleepy all the time.

6.    You Have Narcolepsy

Excessive sleepiness or recurring 'sleep attacks' are common in people with narcolepsy. The condition can make you go to sleep during normal waking hours. People with this condition may also experience sudden spells of muscle weakness. It can also lead to sleep paralysis. Other symptoms of narcolepsy are hallucinations and vivid dreams.

7.    You Are Anemic

When you have anemia, it means you do not have enough red blood cells in the body, which in turn limits the supply of oxygen to your cells and tissues. This reduction in oxygen can cause weakness and shortness of breath. Anemia could be the result of a vitamin or iron deficiency, internal bleeding, blood loss or chronic diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, or kidney failure. Women are more likely to experience iron-deficiency anemia because they lose blood during menstruation. Other symptoms of anemia include chest pains, rapid heartbeat, lack of concentration, difficulty sleeping, and headache.

8.    You Are Depressed

Clinical depression is a serious illness and requires proper treatment. It affects the way you eat, sleep, or feel about everything around you. When you are depressed, your perception about yourself changes too. It can decrease your energy and affect your sleeping patterns. It also affects your diet and makes it difficult to have enough energy throughout the day.

What to Do If You Are Feeling Sleepy All the Time?

You should always start by making changes to your lifestyle. You should start to eat healthy and get regular exercise. These small lifestyle changes will help improve your sleep quality and are likely to make you feel more energized during the day.

You can improve your sleep quality by improving sleep hygiene. You need to make a nightly routine that contributes to good sleep. Be sure to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time in the morning. Ensure that your pillows, bed, and linens are comfortable. It is also important to ensure that you limit your screen time and turn off every device with a backlit screen while trying to sleep.

It also helps to try some relaxation techniques that you can practice while trying to sleep or during the day. These techniques help relieve stress and make you feel better. In case you cannot sleep for more than 6 hours at night, you should try to take short naps during the day. It may also help to go to bed earlier. Many people begin to feel better and more rested just by improving the quality of their sleep. If the problem persists, it is important to go see your doctor for further evaluation.

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