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How to Stay Awake: Healthy Tips to Try

You might wonder how you can keep your mind alert even if you’re feeling sleepy and drowsy. The best way to stay awake is by getting a good night’s sleep. If that’s not an option, read Flo’s blog post to learn how to keep yourself awake.

Some common causes for feeling sleepy are lack of sleep and changes to your sleep schedule. If you feel sleepy regularly or have a sleep disorder (for example, sleep apnea), then you should talk to your doctor. They can help you figure out less common reasons for feeling sleepy and suggest methods to improve your sleep.

Some problems with the brain and other medical problems can make people excessively sleepy. For instance, a concussion can lead to sleepiness and other kinds of sleep disturbances that can cause daytime drowsiness. Some neurological problems including Parkinson’s disease can also cause excessive sleepiness. 

Moreover, psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety can also lead to sleep disturbances, often either too much or too little sleep. Excessive sleep and drowsiness during the day can also be caused by narcolepsy, which is a chronic sleep disorder.

Some medical conditions can affect sleep directly or cause so much discomfort that it makes it hard to sleep comfortably through the night. Some of the medical conditions that can cause excessive sleepiness are asthma, infections, metabolic abnormalities, and gastrointestinal disorders.

If you are feeling sleepy and tired all the time, consider the following possible reasons:

Some psychological causes of feeling sleepy and tired include:

Some physical causes of tiredness and excessive sleepiness include:

  • Anemia
  • Sleep apnea
  • An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
  • Pregnancy, especially during the first 12 weeks
  • Being obese or overweight
  • Being underweight
  • Cancer treatments including chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • Poisoning by carbon monoxide
  • Side effects of certain medicines

Some lifestyle causes of excessive sleepiness and tiredness include:

  • Drinking excessive alcohol
  • Doing too little or too much exercise
  • Drinking an excessive amount of caffeinated beverages
  • Working night shifts
  • Taking naps in the daytime

According to studies, excessive sleepiness reduces your judgment capacity and increases risk-taking behavior. Read on to learn some tips for how to keep yourself awake.

Get a good night’s sleep

One of the best ways to stay awake while driving and in other scenarios is to plan ahead and get seven to nine hours of good sleep before you need to be alert. This ensures that your body and mind remain in optimum shape and remain awake.

Keep moving

If you aren’t moving for a long time, for example while sitting at a desk, you are more likely to become sleepy. When you keep your body active, your mind also thinks clearly and becomes alert. Try walking around when talking on the phone. During breaks, leave your desk and take a walk or climb stairs to remain in motion.

Go for a short walk before your work shift begins

If you work an evening shift, go for a short walk before your shift begins, ideally before the sun has set. Sunlight alerts your body, helping you feel awake during your shift.

Take strategic naps

It’s often difficult for people working late-night shifts to be able to sleep for seven to nine hours all at once. Taking naps can be very important in these cases. You can take a short nap just before your shift and small naps during your shift if possible. You can improve your level of alertness by taking a 15- to 20-minute nap. 

Try caffeine

Drinking caffeinated beverages during your work hours can help improve alertness. If you are having trouble staying asleep or falling asleep while you are off work, limit your caffeine intake to the early part of your shift and reduce it during the later half. Caffeine can stay in your body for several hours.

Avoid drinking alcohol

If you’re trying to stay alert, don’t consume alcohol. Drinking even in very small quantities can enhance drowsiness. 

Use bright lights

Your body secretes the hormone melatonin during darkness. This hormone helps you fall asleep. Conversely, using bright lights at night can help you stay awake.

Take a lukewarm shower

You can try taking a lukewarm or cold shower to keep you alert.

Stay hydrated

Dehydration can lead to fatigue and drowsiness. Make sure to drink lots of fluids especially water and eat foods with a high amount of water including fresh vegetables and fruits.

In most cases, sleepiness will get better when you make adjustments to your sleep habits and sleep environment. However, feeling sleepy may be a sign of more serious disorders such as narcolepsy that need medical attention. If you have concerns about feeling sleepy regularly, talk to your doctor. They can help determine the underlying condition and provide appropriate treatment.

Sleep is a very strong biological drive that you can’t really control. There are a wide variety of things that can make you feel sleepy. One of the best ways to keep yourself awake is to have a good night’s sleep. Other ways to stay awake are to keep moving, drinking lots of fluids, consuming caffeinated beverages, avoiding alcohol, using bright lights, and taking lukewarm showers.

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/excessive-sleepiness/safety/how-stay-awake-road-tips-combat-drowsy-driving

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/tips-staying-awake-job

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcolepsy/symptoms-causes/syc-20375497

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/?tabname=sleep-tips

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/medical-and-brain-conditions-cause-excessive-sleepiness

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/10-medical-reasons-for-feeling-tired/

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