If you woke up this morning and felt tired due to less sleep last night – that is pretty normal. However, if you feel sleepy throughout the day – everyday! This is a problem. Feeling sleepy throughout the day causes problems such as:
- lack of concentration
- impaired digestion
- body pains
- lowered sex drive
- increased anxiety
Did you know that 1 in 7 people report feeling sleepy when they wake up according to a study done by YouGov.com. Their latest research shows that a significant number of Americans don’t feel fully rested for most of the week. As many as 40% of Americans say that they wake up once, twice or three times a week feeling poorly rested. 38% say that they’re poorly rested four or more days a week.If you are sleepy, clearly you are not rested and there are 8 main reasons that you might be feeling sleepy all day!
Now while there may be many physical and emotional reasons for feeling excessively sleepy during the day,the solutions are hidden in the causes. As usual with Ayurveda, we need to look at the underlying cause and not just blindly medicate symptom with drugs or supplements.
- Is your sleep-wake schedule correct for you? I would say the # 1 reason for feeling sleepy throughout the day is you are not getting enough sleep at night! This widespread tiredness has an obvious explanation: people just aren’t getting enough sleep. Forty percent of Americans get less than seven hours. Those figures are largely unchanged from Gallup polls in the 1990s and 2000s, but Americans, on average, slept much more in the 1940s. Americans currently average 6.8 hours of sleep at night, down more than an hour from 1942.
To get more sleep, follow all the sleep etiquettes like avoiding caffeine at least three hours before sleep, keep your bedroom dark and cool, do not go to bed with the TV on and turn all electronics off at least 1 hour before bed.
2. The Negative Force of Tamas. Tamas is the mental quality of feeling inertia, unmotivated, heavy and sleepy. You can change that quality of your mind by doing more active things such as yoga, breath work, and walking. Take a look at my article on the qualities of the mind and how to change them. You can also change this feeling of sluggishness through a diet of more spice and pungent like foods. Try eating a slice of raw ginger before meals to lighten up that heaviness.
3. What’s Your Body Type? People with a Kapha body type usually require a little more sleep than others. However, no day-time napping if you are a Kapha as it will only make you more sluggish. Early to bed and early to rise is the mantra for Kaphas.
Vatas on the other hand often have light and restless sleep, so if they are sleeping with a snorer – that will keep them awake and make them feel sleepy the next day. A glass of warm milk sprinkled with nutmeg will help Vata’s calm their central nervous systems and get a good night zzz’z.
Pitta’s often have trouble getting to sleep because they can get pretty absorbed in a late night project which will have them working till the wee hours. So for them, bed at a regular time (before 11pm) will keep them from burning out during the day. If you are not sure what your body type is, then take my Modern Dosha Quiz to determine your metabolic type.
4. How’s Your Digestion? Often those with digestive problems like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and burping or acidity and heartburn will feel sleepy, especially after a meal. All these signs of digestive impairment means your body is not functioning well and is not an efficient fat burner. As we store our toxins in our fat – can you see that not being able to remove those toxins well will cause fatigue. Kindle that digestive fire with pepper or pungent spices, or try this home remedy before each meal.
Take 1 teaspoon ginger powder with ½ teaspoon rock salt and add to a small glass of warm water just before meals.
5. Are You Moving? This really means are you exercising. When we are inactive – this can be the root cause of many diseases today, including feeling sleepy. It is important to exercise right for your metabolic type. Walking is a great exercise that we can all do to improve our lives and bring oxygen to parts of our bodies. Just the very act of drawing in more oxygen into our lungs keeps us energized, and less sleepy throughout the day.
6. Are You In Enough Light? How is your office light? Is it dark, what about your home – is it on the dark side? Dark rooms or rooms that have inadequate lighting lead to melatonin secretion in the body, which in turn leads to sleepiness. To combat day-time drowsiness due to poor light…add more lamps. Try a ‘Happy Light”, or light-box, I swear by mine in the winter and bring in as much natural light as possible. You will be surprised at the difference it makes to your energy levels throughout the day.
7. Are You Dealing With Disease? Certain conditions like diabetes, and hypothyroidism also show up as fatigue and sleepiness. Make sure you are seeing your doctor regularly and doing your preventative screening so you can catch anything early.
It is far easier to work on preventing disease than try and manage a diagnosis later.
The best way to prevent disease is by keeping a healthy immune system. Eat well and right for your metabolic type, and to help you there, I created a meal plan with 5 new recipes each week designed for your dosha and the season you are in. Aside from eating right for your metabolic type – also do not neglect the amount of sleep you need. Do not underestimate the benefits of a brisk walk in the fresh air which can help calm the central nervous system, this in turn reduces inflammation and it is inflammation that creates disease.
8. Are You Depressed or Have Anxiety? Having stress in our lives is part of living – however, how we handle that stress is up to us. When we internalize that stress and don’t deal with it, it can manifest physically and mentally. If we feel depressed, anxious, angry or fearful; all these factors can make us dull and avoid activity. This in turn leads to sleepiness and fatigue throughout the day. You can make the decision to fix your issues with relationships, work, and the kids.
This is your opportunity to turn to a friend, go for counseling, journal, or meditate.Find a solution to your problems and work on the underlying cause of your depression and anxiety. You will be healthier and more energized for doing so.
Just note that lethargy and laziness are not always the reason for sleepiness. It is important to find the underlying cause – and then we can find the solution that is right for you. In many cases, it is actually impaired digestion that can lead to feeling sluggish and fatigued. Get my 7 steps to great digestion below and start feeling more energetic today!