All around me, I see people gush about how much they love sleeping. They love it so much that they can sleep on their study table or at their work desk. They can doze off during their commute, while driving, at traffic signals, while watching a movie in a theatre and even while sitting in a very important team meeting.
Well, not everyone wants to doze off at such crucial points of their day but sometimes, the pull is too strong to not give in. It’s more like the sleep not leaving the person alone rather than vice versa.
You might have heard of excessive daytime sleepiness. Medically, the term for this condition is hypersomnolence or hypersomnia.
Feeling sleepy during the day and taking a nap once in a while is still fine until it becomes a daily thing. It’s then when you should give attention to this odd habit and find out the reason behind it so that you can take proper measures to deal with it.
As per the ancient Indian medical system of Ayurveda, excessive daytime sleepiness can be due to an increase in Kapha dosha in your system. The increased Kapha, when accumulated in excess in the body, results in the heaviness of the body and its parts which in turn causes the drowsiness or excessive sleepiness throughout the day.
Ayurveda comprises of three basic elements also known as tridoshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). Any kind of disbalance in between the doshas can result in various physiological imbalances including disturbance in sleep cycles.
People with dominant Vata dosha are usually known to have poor quality sleep, frequent nighttime wakefulness as well as complaints of insomnia.
People with dominant Pitta dosha generally have moderate sleep often disturbed by dreams.
People with dominant Kapha dosha, however, are known to be associated with being able to fall asleep easier than the others. Moreover, they also find it quite difficult to stay awake and hence, feel sleepy most of the time.
You can take the Amrutam's Vata-Pitta-Kapha Quiz to identify your dominant dosha type.
Apart from understanding what your dominant dosha type is, you must also figure out what other factors in your daily life can cause this taxing condition of daytime sleepiness.
Here’s a list of such factors that can cause hypersomnia:
1. Insufficient sleep at night – For a fit and healthy lifestyle, a minimum of seven hours sleep is ideally required to get through the day’s activities with only one or two episodes of feeling sleepy. However, many of us will agree that we do not allow ourselves to take that adequate amount of sleep every night. Eventually, this leads to sleep deprivation. You can try Amrutam's Brainkey Gold Malt which is an Ayurvedic Jam that improves the sleep quality.
2. Inappropriate sleep schedules – Night shifts or rotating shifts at work are the major contributors for this, immediately followed by binge-watching TV series. There are also few student rituals like pulling an all-nighter right before an exam or doing that every night because night time studying is usually more effective according to them. Even as adults, we find working at night quite better than during the day. Although, these usually occur when there’s a deadline next morning or an exam to sit for. The stress and anxiety then come into the picture and mess up one’s sleep cycles, eventually leading to irregular sleep schedules.
3. Sleep disorders – Sleep disorders such as insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, sleep walking, narcolepsy and many others are another set of reasons for causing daytime sleepiness for which one should consider consulting a healthcare professional. All of these sleep disorders interrupt your night time sleeping in a harmful way. Such frequent interruptions to your required seven to nine hours of sleep will definitely result in bouts of daytime sleepiness.
4. Psychological disturbances – Mental Health concerns like Anxiety or Depression can make you feel sleepy during the day multiple times; Lethargy and lack of interest being other contributors. And before you even notice, this will creep into your life like a bad habit that you can’t get rid of.
5. Physical distress – If you’re having a bit of digestion difficulty, body pain, backache or headache and other such distress, it can cause disturbances in your sleep and therefore, leading you to feel sleepy during the day.
6. Heavy meals at odd times – When you consume a heavy meal comprising of food that is difficult to digest, your body’s metabolic functions take over other functions. In the process, slowing down those other functions and making you feel sleepy. So, if you consume something heavy during the lunch hours, it might make you doze off in classes or at your work desk. On the other hand, having heavy meals at dinner right before you go to bed can cause indigestion issues as well.
7. Medication side-effects – Please note if any of your medications are causing the drowsiness throughout the day and discuss with your physician if any changes can be done to improve your situation.
Now that you have identified what’s causing that exhausting feeling of daytime sleepiness, you would want to know how not to feel that way. You can follow the tips listed down and see what helps you.1. Get adequate sleep at night – The ideal amount of sleep that every human must get is between seven to nine hours. Anything less than that can easily make you feel groggy in the daytime. It’s better if you keep distractions away from your bed so that you can focus on getting that necessary amount of sleep instead.
2. Avoid stimulants – It is recommended not to drink any caffeinated drinks such as coffee or tea after 7 to 8 PM as it can push away your sleep and make you go to bed later than you should. Your sleep cycle goes off balance and thus resulting in excessive daytime sleepiness.
3. Reduction of screen time – Make sure that you’re not staring into a screen during the two hours just before your bedtime. Now, this seems like an impossible task but what you can do is reduce the time you’re using the screen. It’s better if you’re not watching the TV or your laptop screen or even your mobile phone. Use it only if it’s too urgent.
4. Set up a sleep schedule – This means you have to go to bed at a set time every day and wake up at a fixed time every morning. However impossible it may seem; it is actually possible. Moreover, you would rather follow a sleep routine than falling asleep during a board meeting or an important lecture, right?
5. Yoga and regular exercise – Incorporating a fifteen to twenty minutes exercise routine in your daily life can be effective in fighting off hypersomnolence. Yoga and exercise help in eroding the heaviness that is gathered in the body due to an increased level of Kapha in the system. After such a session, you’ll feel light and stripped off of the lethargy. Furthermore, it also aids in proper blood circulation in the body, promotes detoxification, improves digestion and induces deep and sound sleep.
6. Meditation and Pranayama – Other than practising yoga, you can also try a few breathing exercises to maintain the tridosha balance in your system. Ten to fifteen minutes, early in the morning, can be the perfect time for a bit of meditation or pranayama breathing exercises such as Kapalbhaati, Bhastrika, Nadi Shodhana, etc. This is usually effective in clearing our mind and as a result, preventing daytime drowsiness.
7. Eat light, eat right – Consuming light meals multiple times during the day not only helps in maintaining a proper balance but also keeps your metabolism active. It prevents overload on your digestive system and hence, promotes better digestion. As a result, it helps in inducing good quality sleep at night and prevent bouts of sleepiness during the day. It is, therefore, important that we pay attention to what we eat and take a step towards a healthy lifestyle.
8. Take care of your mental and emotional health – Since many mental disturbances can directly cause a sleep disorder like daytime sleepiness or lack of proper sleep at night, it is given that we take care of our mental state in order to achieve an alert life during the day. Doing yoga, breathing exercises, meditation and a few regular exercises can improve your mental health along with your physical health. It can reduce stress and anxiety. To fight off boredom, you can start a few hobbies such as an activity that you might love doing and find interest in.
9. Herbal Remedies – You can even try relaxing your mind and body with some herbal products consisting of ingredients such as Brahmi (to relax one’s mind and emotional state), ashwagandha (to calm one’s mind and reduce stress), Triphala (to promote proper digestion and elimination), etc. There are herbal teas as well, that can help in getting a good quality sleep at night, for example, chamomile tea. Oh, and then you have our very own Amrutam Brainkey Gold Malt. It is an Ayurvedic Jam as mentioned before which can enhance your sleep quality and thus prevent daytime sleepiness.